The Art of Boosting the Signal

Some days it feels like you sign onto Twitter and everyone you follow is selling something. You know what it’s like: daily deals, freebies, new releases, tie-ins, giveaways. They want you to check out the sequel to the book you haven’t read yet, download¬†their new widget counting down to their pub date, or spread the word regarding their starred review. And that’s all well and good. Everyone does it, and chances are excellent that you will, too, if you haven’t done so already. People expect a certain amount of sales in with their socializing when they frequent various forms of social media, and in many cases that very type of word-of-mouth is what lets us discover our next great read or app or website.

The key to marketing yourself and others using social media is to keep things minimal and meaty. By that I mean, only Tweet about your book a very small percentage of the time and also limit how often you’re being sales-y on behalf of your friends or people you support/admire, and when you do go into marketing mode, make sure you include something of substance. You want to get mileage for those 140 characters, so do your best to include something of genuine interest and don’t confuse your followers.

How often have you seen a Tweet go by that’s nothing more than a link? No information, no context. Why would you click on that? Perhaps if the person Tweeting the link is someone close to you and you know they’re directing it at you specifically, you’ll click without a second thought. But in most cases, that link is going to just scroll on by. Likewise, how often has someone sent out a Tweet with a meaningless title, link, and a “via” followed by a Twitter handle? Chances are that Tweet was generated from a website where the person Tweeting wanted to share the post and used their on-page Tweet button. If the post’s title is vague and the Tweeter didn’t add their own description, it’s almost as bad as sending out a link on its own.

It’s tempting to send a Tweet out quickly and move on, but if you’re genuinely trying to share a post or convey your enthusiasm for someone’s new release, take the time to work in a few words that give your followers the proper message. If you’re reTweeting something that’s vague, take a moment to modify the original Tweet for clarity. Did you read the work you’re Tweeting about? Did you love it? Say so. Maybe it kept you up reading all night. Or you read slowly to savor every word. Are you talking up a friend’s webinar or book signing? What makes them knowledgable or entertaining? Share that information to make the Tweet stand out.

When it comes to marketing your own project, make sure you stress your own enthusiasm that it’s going out into the world more than you beg people to buy it. You love your book and hope others will as well. Encourage anyone who gives it a try to let you know what they think. Engage your followers. Start a conversation. Also, remember that Twitter doesn’t need to be a final destination. Use Tweets to link to blog posts or free chapters or tie-in short stories on your website. Limit your announcements regarding these items to a couple of Tweets a day, spacing them out to allow people in different time zones to get the information, and make sure you Tweet about plenty of non-promotional things in between.

Twitter can provide a great platform for marketing your work and helping the spread the word about other people’s projects you’ve enjoyed, but it’s up to everyone to make the experience is painless as possible. Take the time to craft your Tweets, be considerate of your followers and avoid flooding their feeds with endless promotions, and you can help keep the Twitter conversation entertaining and enjoyable for all. Happy Tweeting!