With Great Power…

Twitter is a great marketing tool, and it’s one we encourage our authors to engage in. It’s a fast-paced way to reach a lot of people at once, and engage them through the use of hashtags and discussion. However, many writers use Twitter wrong.

Many writers’ threads look like a never-ending scroll of “BUY MY BOOK!” They are populated with links to their book’s various distributors, quotes from reviewers, and virtually no content. As a reader that kind of thing turns us off. Much like having a large, flashing advertisement to the side of a website disturbs the viewer and is more distracting than helpful.

In social media marketing content is king. You need to provide something of interest and use to your followers. This means things that engage them even if they aren’t just related to your book or your writing. Do you have a cute cat picture you think people will really like? Share it! Do you have a funny joke you came across? Share it! Make your posts relatable and fun and you will have far more followers than if your entire feed is just a sea of links to Amazon book reviews about your book and spammy pictures of your cover.

Another thing you should never, ever, ever use is automation. If you program your tweets to go out at certain times of day and so on you are going to lose people. When people feel like they’re following a robot they stop paying attention. This goes for direct messaging, too. If you are sending out direct messages of “buy my book!” to everyone who follows you then you will end up with a great deal of grief. Our Twitter inbox is flooded with those kinds of messages to the point where it almost pushes out legitimate communications! To say that is disappointing is to put it mildly.

Were we able to get away with it our company policy would be to unfollow everyone who engaged in that kind of marketing, but we would then lose out on some of their better content! It’s a frustrating balance, and it’s one we shouldn’t be having to keep. It’s like having that one friend who is awesome but keeps showing up at your place unexpectedly and asking you to buy them lunch. They might be cool, but eventually you get sick of being asked for money every day and stop talking to them.

That’s what this sort of marketing is: you are going up to complete strangers who may have no interest in buying your product and asking them to give you money. It’s the equivalent of being one of those mall cell phone salesmen. “Do you wanna buy a sell phone?” (I hear that to “do you wanna build a snowman?”) Everyone hates those guys. Don’t be that guy! Focus your social media presence on interesting things like photos of your cat or how well your NaNoWriMo project is going or what kind of socks you’re wearing. We’d rather know what color socks you’re wearing than be asked to buy your book on the first date.

photo credit: Anant N S (www.thelensor.tumblr.com)

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