Protecting Your Tweets
Your (author) Twitter account should be as welcoming as possible. Potential readers check out your stream before they follow you to see what you are up to, make sure you aren’t a spammer and tweet about interesting things they want to know more about. Twitter displays an unfriendly lock next to your account when you have protected tweets and the idea of getting approved is intimidating to a lot of people so they’ll just skip right over your profile and on to the next one.
When your account is protected, Twitter and Google can’t access the content, so you won’t get any follow recommendations and hashtags are worthless. You cannot @ mention someone who is not a follower and have it show up in their stream. (@mentions are a great way to touch base with individuals that have a greater reach than you do.) Protecting your tweets limits what you can do as well as your ability to get more followers, so un-protect your tweets and let the world hear what you have to say!
Using True-Twit Validation
The idea behind True Twit (getting Twitter spam under control) is noble, but the execution not so great when you want people to follow you. The simple solution to this problem is to pay attention to who you are following and don’t follow spammers back. The burden of maintaining your Twitter account should be on you, not your potential followers.
When you require someone to go through several steps to do something, the chances they’ll abandon it mid-process is high. (Hence 1-click on Amazon!) By the time your potential follower gets your DM, they may not even remember why they wanted to follow you in the first place. And then you have readers who don’t even bother to check DMs, so do your readers a favor and ditch the validation.
Wasting Your Profile Space
You have 160 characters to tell potential readers what you have to offer them. Don’t waste this space with random information that tells a reader nothing about your books! Tease them a little, offer them a treat for visiting your site and give them a reason to click follow. Communicate the genre you write in and your most current title. Include a link to your website. Twitter allows you to do this in addition to the 160 characters so there is no reason to leave it out.
You should also use your keywords in your profile. (Still need to find your keywords? Go here.) Twitter uses that information to recommend potential people for users to follow and other services like Klout use your Twitter profile information for use on their site.
Tweeting Inconsistently/Tweeting Garbage
Millions of tweets flood twitter every day and it can be hard to be heard above all that noise, but you can distinguish yourself by tweeting consistently. Use HootSuite to pre-schedule a set of tweets for each day of the week. You will have to create interesting content on your website to direct readers to as well as tweet other random bits of information like quotes (quotes will get you retweeted!), book recommendations and the like. Because you are pre-scheduling the tweets, take some time and create high quality, interesting tweets for your followers.
When I first heard about scheduling tweets, I was skeptical. I thought it was impersonal and spammy but I gradually came to realize that the Twitter people that I interacted with most frequently were those who managed to be at the top of my stream whenever I popped over to Twitter–and these were the people who were scheduling their tweets to go out throughout the day instead of whenever the spirit moved them.
Once you have a set of tweets scheduled, you can continue to tweet randomly throughout the day. Instead of tweeting in huge clumps, use the scheduling function in HootSuite to take care of sending out your tweets. HootSuite will figure out the best time so it gets the most exposure. (It uses your Twitter stream activity to figure this out.) How great is that?
Limit your hashtags to 3 or less per tweet. I like to keep mine at 1, but sometimes I get excited and go overboard. And while it is nice to welcome new followers, don’t do it in your main Twitter stream, especially if you are going to thank a lot of people. That just creates unnecessary clutter for your followers. The same goes for tweets made up of hashtags. If your tweets are comprised entirely of clickable text, you know you’ve got to go back to the drawing board.
The bulk of your tweets should not be direct advertisements for your book; however, you should use your tweets to direct people to your website at every possible opportunity. That’s where you place the buy link. The goal on Twitter is not to get people to buy your book, but to prove that your book is worthy of buying. The only way to accomplish this is to put the same energy into crafting your tweets as you did into writing your book.
As I mentioned, Twitter is really awesome for finding new readers as well as getting your name and your book out into the wide world. You just have to take some time before you start tweeting to create a welcoming atmosphere for new readers filled with interesting content that will drive your book sales!
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.
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