Twitter for Authors: Worth it?

To Tweet or Not To TweetThere is an ongoing debate about this in the author communities, but here’s my take:

Yes.

Twitter can be a very valuable social media tool for building your author platform IF your Tweets are focused on the right goals.

Twitter sometimes gets a bad rap in our world world, but I think a lot of authors who’ve tried Twitter and given up have simply been focused on the wrong goals.

The number one wrong goal? Selling books. The place to sell books is your website and email list (and secondarily, on your satellite sites on Amazon, Goodreads etc.).

Instead, focus your Twitter efforts on finding and nurturing readers and fans, both directly and through building relationships with your allies.

Goal #1: Find new readers and get them to your website.

Twitter is a great discovery platform. People actively search Twitter to find new sources of info on stuff they’re interested in. More true of non-fiction, but this works for fiction as well. To achieve this goal, be sure your posts share great content on precisely that stuff. For non-fiction, Tweet or reTweet good content that’s on topic (true to your brand/niche). The same guideline applies to fiction writers, and here are some topic ideas: news from the genre, new books in the niche (and see Purpose 2), news/info on topics your fiction covers, news on your books (new version out, progress on WIP).

Note on “Getting them to your website” – when you’re sharing other people’s content the associated link will obviously not be to your site. So to get to your site, readers will have to go to your profile and click on the website link there – be sure your profile has your website listed! More on Twitter profiles in another post. When you’re sharing your own content, of course, the link in the Tweet will get them to your site (where the first thing they’ll see is your Email Offer, right?).

TIP: To enhance discovery, use #hashtags that are relevant to your books. What hashtags? There’s lots of good info a Google search away on what tags are getting attention in the Twitterverse. Try these sites to get ideas as well: www.hashtagify.me www.hashtags.org

Goal #2: Nurture relationships with allies.

You can help out your current and potential allies by sharing and re-sharing their content on twitter.  Plus, sharing great content from your allies helps with Goal #1 as well! Plus again: sharing other people’s content helps with the 70/30 rule of giving to your readers at least 70% of the time, and asking from something 30% or less. In the beginning, I built 100% of my Twitter following by sharing great content supplied by others, and made some good allies as well.

TIP: To let them know you’re doing this, @mention them in these Tweets.

Goal #3: Nurture existing reader base.

Email is the best venue, but a good chunk of your reader base is flat-out going to prefer to get their insider information via Twitter. Twitter is also a great platform for sharing small bits of personal information without feeling the need to ramble on.

TIP: For this purpose, I’d consider putting your existing readers into a List, and restricting these Tweets to that list.

Wrap up

So now that you have your Twitter goals, what in the heck do you actually Tweet about to meet them? Coming up next on the blog.

What’s your experience been with Twitter? What goals have your pursued, and have they worked for you?

 Original photo credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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