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…