Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo, Publicist
Location: PR Office, The Woodlands, TX
Weather: 62 degrees and sunny
Last week, I talked about Twittiquette, the rules of etiquette on the popular social networking site Twitter. Assuming you’ve all learned how to be a tasteful Twitterer, I’d like to talk a bit about using Twitter to bring attention to you and your book. Even though we’re nearly a decade into the twenty-first century, word-of-mouth is still the #1 way of reaching readers. Let’s talk about how to take advantage of Twitter to do just that.
Five Top Tips for Twitterific PR:
1. Create a user name that mirrors your own so readers can find you. Twitter is one place where unimaginative thinking is best. Since you want people to find you easily, skip the user name that describes your hobby, the color of your eyes, etc. and go for one that merely states your name. Mine is KathleenYBarbo. Wendy Lawton’s is WendyLawton. See a pattern? Once created, be sure and add this to your email signature line.
2. Choose an icon photo that shows your personality. Your book jacket photo may look like a high school yearbook picture, but your Twitter icon doesn’t have to. Pick a photo that shows who you are. Unless you’re horrified to show a more casual you, go with something that gives the reader a glimpse of your personality. Often this is a photo taken outdoors or in surroundings that give a hint about the author. Keep in mind you have a miniscule box in which to insert this, so make sure the graphics are sharp and the colors inviting. Janet Grant (www.twitter.com/janetkgrant) is wearing a wonderful rust-colored jacket that draws the eye to her photo. Dena Dyer’s (www.twitter.com/denadyer) red top is just enough to attract attention without overpowering the tiny square.
3. Post to Twitter OFTEN. If you want followers, you have to provide them with something to read. Once a day is the VERY least I would suggest, but 3 to 4 times is not too many as long as you are providing interesting insights and not what was on your sandwich at lunch (see tip #4). I’ve been asked if it is possible to over-Tweet. Probably, though I hesitate to say there is some magic number. If you can keep the post entertaining or relevant to who you are and what you write, the sky’s probably the limit. Rule of thumb: If you’re losing followers, you’re probably Twitting too much.
4. I said it last week, but I will say it again: Use your Tweets (those 140 character blasts of information) wisely. Create a “brand” and stick with it. An author bent on achieving a reputation as a professional will, as much as possible, leave the personal Tweets out in favor of those that are industry-related. It’s fine to occasionally mention something personal, but in general a post about some interesting fact you found while researching your novel or a verse that spoke to you while working on your devotional will have much more impact. An exception to this would be an author whose brand is to use his or her personal life as fodder for books. An example of this would be Dawn Meehan (www.mom2my6pack), who blogs, writes, and Tweets about life as the mother of 6.
5. Feed your Twitter posts onto your other Internet-based sites. If you blog, have a website, or are on social networking sites like Facebook, set your Twitter posts to feed directly to the sites. This can be done without much difficulty, and it provides readers with fresh information on your site. By virtue of the social nature of Facebook, Twitters often garner more comments on your Facebook site than they do on Twitter itself.
So now that you’ve learned how and why to Twitter, only one question remains: Why aren’t you using Twitter to increase your presence among readers and industry professionals? You are? Then tell me your username so I can follow you.
Networking….that’s what works in PR! More about networking next week…
Come follow me. My twitter name is sherrykyle.
Thanks for giving us specific examples of terrific twitters, Kathleen. I also think Sheila Gregoire does a great job of enticing people to check out her blog or connect with her via questions she asks.
Thanks for the great tips, and the nice mention! I love red–maybe it’s the actress in me. 🙂
Thanks for your thoughts, Kathleen. I’m finding Twitter an amazing tool for writers. I haven’t been on Twitter very long but have already picked up many new readers through it. I’ve found that:
1. 3-4 tweets a day really isn’t very many at all. Many people are following hundreds of tweeple, if not thousands. If you only tweet 3-4 times a day, they’re likely not to catch a tweet from you very often. I tweet much more than this, not just something on my mind, but also including my responses to other people. Either way it gets your face in front of people.
2. A mixture of business and personal tweets works for me. People seem to be interested in authors–it’s an unknown lifestyle for most. When someone gets to know an author a little on the personal side, he/she is more likely to want to read a book by that person.
Julie Bonn Heath
I appreciate the post. I would have to note that if you reply on Twitter to other people using the @ sign that you should not integrate Tweets with other social applications. It gets very frustrating for friends on Facebook (for instance) to see “@george, I appreciate your example.” on your status line.
Responsiveness is key in social marketing, in my opinion. Being a resource is key and therefore you should be replying on Twitter. Be careful when researching and applying integration.
It seems I’m one of the few who has not started twittering. I’m already involved in a number of sites and wonder which ones to keep and which to drop, simply because of time–lack of it.
Where would you rank twittering in importance when it comes to reaching and meeting new readers?
Any other guidelines and helpful hints would be appreciated.
Thanks so much.
Thanks for the great tips. I wasn’t sure how to Twitter, but your advice on branding was helpful. I think I will twitter interesting psychological information I run across. I can’t really twitter about my clients or the therapy I’m doing without facing confidentiality issues, but I could share useful mental health info. What do you think?