As a self-published author, you know that your books sales are directly tied to your promotion efforts. People learn about your books because you tell them.
That sounds easy, but it isn’t.
In fact, one of the trickiest things about self-publishing is finding ways to promote your book that aren’t going to cost you too much – for too little in return.
When you read about social media marketing, the focus seems to be on Facebook and Instagram. But what if Twitter were the answer to boosting your book sales without spending a fortune?
Twitter has been around since 2006, making it one of the oldest social media sites. Some of the statistics about Twitter use may be unreliable. For example, the company says that its users send 500 million Tweets every day – a statistic that hasn’t changed since 2014.
There are some numbers that we can count on though – and they’re impressive:
- Twitter has 326 million active monthly users
- Approximately 40% of all Twitter users check their feed at least once a day
- 24% of all adults in the US have a Twitter account
The stats are impressive when it comes to marketing, too. 40% of Twitter users say they’ve purchased something after seeing an influencer Tweet about it – and Twitter advertising costs decreased from 2017 to 2018.
The first step, of course, is to set up a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your profile:
- Use a clear photograph of your face
- If possible, use “firstnamelastname” as your Twitter handle (very important for authors)
- Make sure that your profile includes a brief bio that’s relevant to the books you’re selling
That last one is very important. If you’re promoting planners, your profile might say something like this:
Jane Doe, organization expert and author of The Best Planner Ever
You want the people who view your profile to know exactly who you are.
Promote Your Twitter
You won’t be able to use your Twitter account to promote the books you write unless you have followers.
There are lots of ways to increase your followers. Here are a few to try:
- Add a Twitter follow button on your author blog and home page
- Include your Twitter handle in your Facebook profile
- Use a “Follow me on Twitter!” call to action at the bottom of your emails
- Follow the people on your subscriber list (they may follow you back)
These are all free ways to increase your audience on Twitter. There are paid options too, and I’ll talk about those in a minute.
Tag Your Posts with Trending Hashtags
One of the best ways to raise your profile on Twitter is to post about trending hashtags. For example, Throwback Thursday posts use the #tbt hashtag.
I do want to include a word of caution here, though. Be very cautious about using hashtags when your followers might perceive the use to be inappropriate or unfeeling.
I’ll give you an example. A lot of companies have run afoul of Twitter users because they’ve latched on to a hashtag without thinking it through.
Back in 2011, Entenmann’s latched on to the #notguilty hashtag when it was trending.
The problem? It was trending because of the controversial verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. Oops!
The lesson is an easy one. Use popular hashtags, but only if you know why they’re popular and it’s appropriate to use. Don’t latch on a hashtag associated with anything controversial, sad, or sensitive.
Create a Hashtag for Your Book
If you’ve got a big following already, it may be helpful to create a special hashtag for the book you’re promoting.
The best hashtag is likely to be the title of your book. The benefits of creating your own hashtag are:
- It will increase the visibility of your book and make your book title more recognizable than it would be otherwise
- Every time one of your followers retweets you, they’ll be retweeting your hashtag too.
Here again, it’s worth a bit of caution. Look at your hashtag critically and make sure that it can’t be misread or misunderstood.
A classic hashtag misunderstanding is the one that uses the word “therapist.” When you look at it as a hashtag, you can see the problem:
Is it therapist, or the rapist? There’s a huge difference. Look at your hashtag from every possible angle and make sure it’s misunderstanding-proof before you use it.
Connect with Other Writers and Influencers
Lots of authors use Twitter as a way of expressing themselves, keeping in touch with current readers, and connecting with potential readers.
Remember what I said before about influencer marketing? 40% of Twitter users have bought something after seeing an influencer Tweet about it.
Successful authors are influencers for people who love books. If they Tweet a recommendation, their followers pay attention.
Of course, the same is true of other potential influencers.
To start with, try following the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter to find other authors. Follow some of them, particularly those whose audiences intersect with your target audience.
As you respond to their Tweets and build up a rapport, you can approach them about doing cross-promotions to help boost sales of your book – and theirs.
Promote a Tweet
So far, we’ve talked about free ways to use Twitter to promote your book. But there’s one more thing to consider.
Promoted Tweets are a reasonably-priced way to get the word out about your book. You can use what you know about your target audience to put your Tweet in front of people who might not be familiar with your books.
If you take this route, make sure to use relevant hashtags and a compelling image. Tweets with images get more attention than text-only Tweets.
The more comfortable you get with using Twitter to promote your books, the easier it will be to get the engagement, clicks, and sales you want.