Learning how to use twitter to sell books

We have spent the last month learning about twitter and how to play it. Here are some guidelines we have learned, please feel free to add to our list of learnings. We hope it helps others who are new to twitter campaigning.

  • Twitter is largely a marketing tool for anyone.
  • People follow other people with a large number of followers.
  • The aim is to be seen by as many people as possible.
  • Exposure is increased when others retweet your tweets.
  • The more followers you have, the more people will want to follow you even if it's just so you will retweet their tweets.
  • Hashtags add your tweet to that subject.
  • People use hashtags as a way of finding tweets that interest them.
  • If someone retweets your tweet, you should always thanks them and look to retweet one of theirs.
  • If someone adds your name to a list of names as a tweet with no other message, they are telling others to follow you (usually they will) and you to follow them.
  • If someone does a 'shout out', they are asking others to retweet your tweets, they will type 'shout out' at the front of the tweet, always thank them, they did you a favour.
  • There are a lot of unofficial promoters on twitter, they will choose your tweets to retweet and add you to their e-mags, if they do you should remember to thank them and retweet their tweets as a courtesy.
  • If you 'favourite' tweets' you are adding to the popularity of their tweet, if that happens enough, it can become a trending tweet or subject.
  • If you want someone to retweet you then add the @name to your tweet, if they don't retweet you then do not persist.
  • Try not to repetitively retweet the same picture over and over, there is a 'mute' and 'block' function on twitter and, although you may not be 'unfollowed', you will probably be muted (We do it all the time).
  • Other authors will retweet you particularly if your books are not competing with their genre, however it does not pay to only have authors in your followers.
  • To add followers that might buy your books, use the hashtags or twitter search to find them, you can then 'follow' them.
  • There are apps available that allow you to see who has 'followed' or 'unfollowed' you, pay attention and either follow/unfollow as required.
  • Some authors tweet quotes from their books, these sorts of tweets tend to become invisible in the feed and don't stand out enough.
  • Memes and pictures in general are more likely to be well received than one line tweets, they have a higher impact.
  • All the pictures you post can be viewed if someone looks at your tweet history, always keep the picture files clean, people do look at them and it's your advertisement about you and your books so pay attention to what your 'shop front' looks like.
  • You can delete old tweets and, you may choose to as part of keeping your 'shop front' tidy.
  • Tweets have a very short life span, don't assume anyone saw your tweet, once the feed is more than a few hours old it's unlikely anyone will check the feed in detail although it may be viewed if you added a hashtag.
  • Do not over tweet, people will get sick of you and block, mute or unfollow.
  • Be sensitive to the wide range of people viewing your tweet, if you tweet horrible pictures or rude ones, you might be blocked or muted.
  • There is no control over what is tweeted, some tweets are outright pornographic or really gross, if you offend or annoy people they will block or mute you.
  • Be aware that any 'chat' you have through the twitter feed can be read by anyone.
  • You can buy a service to tweet your book for a day or longer but it is a marketing activity more than a direct sales activity.
  • You can buy followers, that will make you look like you have a lot of followers but they won't be real (they are real twitter names but are inactive).
  • Twitter is like FB and you need a 'personality' which means sending boring or uninteresting tweets is likely to have little to no impact. Make your tweets interesting, informative or fun and people will follow you and retweet you.
  • If you are tweeting memes, you should add you web page, FB page to the picture, if it's a good meme it will be forwarded and pirated and you always want your advertising to go with it.
  • Be aware that other countries are in different time zones, so time your tweets and your use of country based links to books appropriately.
  • You will not know if you have been blocked or muted.
  • Unfollow people who are not following you, they can't see your tweets anyway and you are having to see theirs for as long as you continue to follow them.
  • There is a 'personal message' function but use it sparingly, we often unfollow anyone who advertises using the PM function because it's annoying and feels invasive.
  • You can use twitter analytic to see how much activity your tweet had, it includes click throughs to your book links, etc and tells you which tweet style is most effective.

Does twitter sell books?
  • Yes it does, how many is questionable but we have at least 20 sales over a short period that are directly attributable to a single twitter campaign.