But before we go there, I have a question for you: Are you avoiding actively promoting yourself as an author on social media sites? Then take a look at the statics HERE. There are now more than a billion social media profiles, representing around half of all internet users worldwide, and the numbers continue to grow. It’s a new publishing world today, one that is connected through social media. And that means that your online author platform is important. Like it or not, as a writer you should be actively involved in social media venues like Facebook and Twitter if you want to connect with potential clients, readers and other business partners.
You can use Twitter to:
1. Be seen.
Think of Twitter as a social gathering at a writers’ conference. You are there to meet people. As you connect regularly with others on Twitter, your name becomes familiar to them. When you tweet content that is interesting and informative, you build your reputation as a writer. Remember—your name is your brand.
Connect with publishers. Read their tweets and respond to some of them. Don’t spam publishers or ask them to publish your book, but do participate in the conversation. Connect with other authors. Get to know like-minded friends. They may have helpful information and resources. You can communicate directly with a person on Twitter by beginning your Tweet with the @ sign followed by the person’s Twitter name.
In my last post HERE, I shared some ways to find authors and publishers on Twitter. WeFollow is another good resource. Find it HERE. Type in a category on the “tag” line at the top of the page to locate groups of people to follow.
2. Share links to blog posts, articles and other cyber places that might interest readers and writers.
A brief explanation along with a link can be the roadway to some interesting learning. Did you know that Twitter automatically shortens links for you? So don’t worry about including a long URL in your 140 character (0r less) tweet.
Get into the habit of retweeting (resharing) tweets that you find interesting. Twitter makes this easy. When you read a tweet, you’ll find a retweet link just above it. Click it, and you’re done. Retweeting helps you to build relationships by promoting another author’s platform.
3. Virtually attend trade shows and other writers’ events.
For example, if you want to participate in the ACFW 2012 Conference, but you can’t make it to Dallas, you can follow and learn from people as they attend. It’s easy. On the day of the event, go to TweetChat HERE. Then follow the instructions. Some attendees will be tweeting about what they learn and hear, and you can participate in those real-time conversations.
4. Market your books.
Marketing is important, but remember the 90/10 rule. Persistently promoting your books on social media can turn off even your most devoted fans. I don’t know about you, but when I see a writer over-promoting his or her work, I skip reading their posts.
The majority (90%) of your time should be used building relationships and the rest (10%) selling or talking about your books. The content of your tweets is most important. They should be fun, encouraging, informative and interesting. Even when you do promote your product it should be a soft sell. People are more likely to buy your books if they know who you are and if you provide them with more than a sales pitch.
Don’t be intimidated by Twitter. If you use it wisely and consistently, you can grow your platform and extend your reach to a huge community of writers, agents and publishers.
Are you still not convinced that you should be using Twitter? See what Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing has to say in his blog posts:
Let’s connect! You can find me at https://twitter.com/#!/jeanfischer1.