Let’s talk twitter. I’ve been told that in order for twitter to be effective, you need to post often. You need to be specific about your posts, the links, the #hashtags, you need to create conversations, you need to gain followers, you need to respond to questions, you need to provide relevant content and direction. But at the end of the day, all authors want to know is… will twitter help me effectively sell books?
I’m undecided on this. I’ve been steadily building my twitter platform and now have over 16K followers. What that means is that at any given moment, if any of my tweeps (my affectionate term for followers) are actively on twitter at that time, they’ll see a tweet I’ve posted AT THAT TIME. It’s just a momentary snapshot. If everyone has thousands of twitter followers, how in the world is my little tweet effective for anything?
That said, I regularly tweet authors, book promoters, reviewers and any other relevant content that catches my eye that I think other people will be interested in hearing about. I try to join in conversations and as a result, when I do have an announcement about a book, I see my tweets “retweeted” into the hundreds of thousands. Sort of a “thank you” from other folks for helping them out as well. Ten years ago, this type of “helping and sharing” on social media, from virtual strangers, just wasn’t heard of, so to me, what a great way to reach a massive amount of people I never would have “met” in my current circles. (and it wasn’t heard of, because twitter hadn’t even been invented yet, having only come on board in 2006).
So you’d think I’d get more sales from all these tweets and retweets, right? Again, I’m undecided. And because I don’t necessarily, at least right now, think Twitter helps with book sales, I use twitter differently. For me, it’s a “means to an ends.” I search and voyeur twitter voraciously. I find people who are book reviewers in my category, and then I go to their web pages and query them to see if they’d like to review my books. One of my novels has a deaf main lead, so I go to deaf sites, then find their Facebook pages, like them on FB, then post on their page and THEN I look to see what other relevant companies I should also be following. I go back and forth and it can take an enormous amount of time. But, it’s opened up a lot of avenues for me. Using this technique, my books promotionally are on other people’s blogs that I never would have gotten on before, I’ve gotten interviewed by bloggers I never would have met, been included on various websites, and I’ve gotten followers interested in my work. I use twitter to help me find other avenues of promotion, not just to tweet. That’s almost secondary. (which is a strange thing to say… tweeting is secondary…hmmm)
One thing to note. I find myself caught up in social media so much that it can take hours out of my day. And those hours are cutting into my writing time. My hope is that by steadily building up my marketing platform while I’m getting new books out into market, that eventually this “means to an ends” will become a “sales to an end.”
We’ll see about that. But, in the meantime, if you’d like to follow me on twitter, please come on over at http://www.twitter.com/elysesalpeter. And, send me a tweet and let me know you saw me here – I’ll definitely respond! 🙂