Twitter has been the social media platform choice of authors for years now and despite competition from newer social media channels (Instagram, anyone?) Twitter’s popularity continues to increase. Twitter now has 330 million monthly active users and that number is growing by 4% annually. With so many people in the literary community on Twitter it’s a fantastic place to connect with fellow authors, agents, publishers and industry professionals. It’s downfall? Short post lifespan. On this fast-moving platform the average lifespan of a tweet is anywhere from mere seconds to several hours. With an estimated 6000 tweets being posted every second it can be difficult to get any visibility. To ensure that your tweets are not instantly buried in the overload here are my top tips to boost your Twitter.
Aim for Conversation
Let’s put the social back in social media! Twitter is not the place for endless sales blasts about your book. It’s for networking and listening to your target audience and those in the industry. Just like in real-life none of us want to hang around the guy at the party that does nothing but talk about himself. Take the time to connect with your followers by commenting, liking and retweeting their posts. Join discussions around relevant hashtags and give back by helping and advising others where you can.
Keep it Relevant and Interesting
All book marketing is about offering your ideal readers value. Focus on what your followers want and give them a reason to read your posts. Choose imagery and subjects that resonate with your followers. How will you know if your tweets are hitting the mark? For your full Twitter Analytics log-in to your account and go to analytics.twitter.com. Here you’ll be able to see your top performing tweets, engagement rates, link clicks and retweets. Aim to increase the types of posts that are gaining the highest rates of engagement.
Use Consistent Branding
Author branding is a consistent promise to your readers about your work. You want to convey a look, feel and tone that represents your writing. Your Twitter profile should match all your other author branding. Use the same profile photo or logo across all your author social media accounts. Make your username clear and easy to understand, your pen name prefaced by author or followed by books usually works best. Select a name that will work for your entire body of work rather than just one book. You can personalize your account in the header, which is also a fantastic spot to draw attention to your latest book releases and upcoming events.
Keep it Short and Visual
Although Twitter is experimenting with increasing the number of characters you can use per tweet, studies show that tweets with less than 100 characters achieve 17% more engagement. Online attention spans are short so use eye-catching images and GIFs to stand out from the crowd.
Pin your Top Tweet
Pin your most important tweets to your timeline. Book launch details or your email opt-in work well here to ensure visitors to your profile see this post first.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags make your posts searchable. Consider what your readers are tweeting about, what hashtags they are using and what groups they are in. Note what authors in your genre are tweeting about and commenting on. Be careful to not swamp your message in hashtags. Current Twitter best practice is one or two hashtags per post. This increases engagement by 21%. When you start using more hashtags your engagement rates immediate lower.
One way to organize your Twitter stream is through lists. A list is simply a group of Twitter users, for example you may have a list for Fellow writers and another for beta readers. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. A timeline from a list will display a stream of tweets from the list users. Lists can be public or private and it’s a great way to separate out and categorize your followers.
Consistency is important but you needn’t run yourself ragged. Use a scheduling tool, such as Buffer or Hootsuite, to space out your tweets throughout the day. Use your analytics to look at the days of the week and times of the day that are working best for your followers and adjusting accordingly.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Remember not everyone you comment on or message will follow you back or show interest. Only one in every six people you reach out to will follow you back so support the ones that support you and continue to search for more readers.