One of the hardest parts of being a writer is actually getting people to read our book. We all know this; we’ve all struggled with this.
But there is a wealth of publicity and potential readers if you know where to look. Twitter for authors is a goldmine.
Why Twitter to Market Your Books?
We’re talking about a social media platform that is completely built around the concept of being able to write short, witty, and interesting posts in less than 280 characters.
It’s the perfect environment to really sell your personality and writing style.
Having over 145 million potential customers, and of that roughly 30 million Americans between the age of 18 and 30, Twitter is a book’s marketing dream.
Twitter takes your target audience and compacts them into one space. So, all you need to do is make yourself stand out among the opposition.
10 Pro Tips for Authors & Using Twitter
So, where do you as an author start with Twitter? How do you grow a following? How do you avoid sounding like an insufferable self-promotion robot?
Well, after talking to a few of our friends in the social media marketing industry, I came up with a list of the top 10 Twitter tips for authors to help you market yourself as an author and your books on Twitter, and we’ve categorized these tips into 4 main groups.
Optimizing Your Profile
What if I told you the one thing holding you back from making your first 5,000 followers was just your profile picture?
It may sound ridiculous but, as with everything online, first impressions matter. Why would someone stop by your profile when they can go to someone who looks more professional, more fun, or even more unique?
The first step in social media book marketing is to create a brand for yourself. This is the general vibe and image you want people to have of you and your writing.
Is your brand trendy and fun? Professional and intellectual? It could be any mixture of things that you think best represent your personality and the brand you want to create.
Personality is displayed by two things: the content you tweet out and the look of your profile. Ideally, your profile is the first thing you want to overhaul.
Three aspects of your profile that people will immediately notice are your Twitter handle, your profile image, and your header picture.
Your Twitter handle is your first point of contact for people who see you from tags in other tweets. The handle is also something people need to remember to be able to find you again. So, you want it to be short, memorable, and straightforward.
Your profile picture is the first thing people will see when your content is retweeted or shared. Personally, if I see an unfamiliar name pop up in my feed, the first thing I do is look at the picture to see if I know them. Ideally, your profile picture should be a professional headshot or a high-quality brand logo.
Take @paulocoelho for example. His handle is his name; simple and easy. His profile picture is a clean, professional headshot.
One thing you should never overlook is your header. You have a billboard front and center on your profile that you can broadcast from. Use this billboard to show off.
I mean really sell it. Use a site like Canva to create a Twitter header that showcases our books, achievements, or our unique personalities! Canva even has templates that are optimized for this Twitter header, so that is one less thing you need to worry about.
This Twitter profile from NYT bestseller Leigh Bardugo has a well-rounded and eye-catching look that really makes you want to hit that follow button.
These are some really potent branding opportunities on Twitter, so make sure you use them to their fullest potential.
For more info about author branding, check out our Brands for Authors blog post.
2. Writing an Eye-Catching Bio
Another area of your profile that needs to align with your brand is your bio. In your bio, you have 160 characters to show the world who you are. There are 5 simple things you should take into account when writing your Twitter bio:
- Keep it simple. Explain who you are and what you do; there’s no need to be cryptic.
- Use some humor, throw in a joke here or a witty comment there; this shows personality.
- Brag, brag, brag. If you have won awards, show them off. If you’ve reached some big milestones, show them off. You’re not a nobody and people should know that.
- Make sure your bio fits your demographic. Write something that fits the type of audience you want to attract.
- Throw in a relevant hashtag or two. If you’re involved with a brand or campaign that uses a particular hashtag, put that in your bio and your profile will show up in searches for that hashtag.
How to Boost Your Visibility
Now that you’ve optimized your profile, you need to try and boost your visibility. And, when I say boost your visibility, I don’t mean wearing a high visibility jacket.
Visibility on Twitter comes down to three simple things:
- When you tweet
- What hashtags you use
- Your calls-to-action
3. Tweet at Peak Hours
Tweeting at peak hours is a must-do for reaching a wider audience. You want to time your tweets to go live at key moments throughout the day. Typically, these are during the morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at noon, and in the afternoon from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m..
The majority of your audience is going to be working through the day, so you want to target your tweets for the times they are commuting, having lunch, or relaxing at night.
And for writers, weekend tweeting can be your best time for exposure. People who browse Twitter during the weekend are more likely to seek out things that personally interest them.
And, if you’re anything like me who can’t stick to a schedule if my life depended on it, there are plenty of apps and services like Twitter’s own service or third-party sites like Buffer to schedule tweets for those times of day when you may be too busy but your audience is online.
4. Impactful Hashtags
A hashtag campaign can be the single best way to draw attention to your brand or go viral. Now, I’m not saying you need to dunk a bucket of cold water over your head or #ShareAParticularBrandofCola. But, by using relevant Twitter hashtags for authors, at the right time, you can involve yourself in something bigger.
The key to using relevant hashtags is firstly finding out what your audience is tagging. Are they all getting hyped up over a big book release? Well, get involved, share your opinion, and hashtag it.
Is there a large controversy or some sort of big social event that’s making waves? Again, say your part. People want to hear what you have to say and new followers will follow you because they relate to your personality or views.
Now, if you wanna talk numbers: the ideal number of hashtags in a tweet is two. Tweets with hashtags have over 100% more exposure than tweets without a hashtag. And tweets that include one or two hashtags have 21% more exposure than tweets with three or more hashtags.
This shows the sweet spot is around two hashtags per tweet!
The secret behind a good call-to-action (CTA) is being subtle. I can guarantee if you go onto Twitter now, we’ll see a CTA in at least one of the tweets that pop up, even if you don’t initially notice it.
Creative CTAs are one of the best ways to funnel interest to external sites as well, like a personal blog, website, or store. Using a CTA can help drive your audience there.
These are some of the more common and popular CTAs you’ll see companies and individuals using:
- Visit Our Site
- Shop Our Sales
- Learn More
- Find Out More
- Sign Up Here
Just remember to be creative. While the above CTAs work well, people always want to see new things. Using effective action words will help increase engagement numbers, sales, and downloads and send more traffic to where you want it.
Content Is King
Tweets with content have consistently proven to rank higher than tweets without. In fact, tweets with images have a 150% better chance of being retweeted. Many people struggle with coming up with Twitter ideas for authors, especially in regards to content, so here are some ideas from the experts to help you out.
6. Working With Images
When using images in tweets, there are a few cardinal rules you want to follow.
Firstly, never use low-quality images. Nobody wants an eyesore on their feed. Use images that are high quality and well made, and not a low-resolution screenshot of a meme.
Use images that relate to your tweet. Throwing in images that are not related can come across as confusing and off-putting.
And lastly, always use images to promote things. If you have a new blog post up, include an image with the link. If you’ve just had a book released, include an image with the link to the store.
7. Boost Your Brand With Twitter Video
Twitter’s data shows that tweets with videos or gifs rank way higher than any other form of tweet. Gifs get 50% more engagement than the average tweet, and videos get up to 10 times more engagement.
With Twitter’s live video features, you can create new, fresh video content from wherever you are.
And, by doing live broadcasts and actively engaging with your audience, you build connections, create memorable moments, and show newcomers you are personable and down-to-earth.
8. People Love Polls
Polls are one of the best ways to improve engagement with your audience. People love to share their opinions and answer questions that are directed at them.
We can also use polls as a form of customer and market research. Can’t decide on a topic of your next blog? Ask the readers.
Not sure if a certain idea will sell? Include that option in a poll and see what people say.
To make your mark on Twitter, you need to build influence. Have an opinion, support causes, engage with our audience, and interact with your peers.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it actually is when you know what you’re doing.
9. Engage With Your Audience Directly
Go onto any influencer’s profile and the first thing you’ll see is tons of engagement. I mean polls, giveaways, retweeting their followers, sharing fan art, replying to people, and Q&A sessions.
You want to be as approachable and relatable as possible, so this means talking and interacting with your followers. Don’t be afraid to enter into a conversation (or two) with them.
It might just make someone’s day, and it gets more people involved.
10. Make Connections
You’re not the only one trying to climb your way to the top. And, while you share the same target demographic as many others, that doesn’t always mean you share the same followers.
Reach out to people in the same situation as you. Make connections, help each other, and promote their content if you genuinely enjoy it.
Having friends that can pull you up or pulling up others around you can give a massive boost to your followers and the traffic to your profile.
Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms out there. But, unlike Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, it’s way more difficult to bend the algorithm in your favor. But, when you do and start checking all the boxes and finally start gaining followers, the sky’s the limit.
If you really want to sell your books and build your brand as an author, it takes a lot of hard work. But by investing precious time into Twitter and marketing yourself there, you can become self-made authors and social media juggernauts.
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