“How do I write an effective book tweet?”
“What hashtags do you use for marketing your book on Twitter?”
“What works best to sell a book in a Tweet?”
Have you ever asked those questions? All three are questions that I saw on Facebook in one form or another this week, so you are not alone! I’ve found that Twitter has two types of users – those who get it and those who don’t. There really isn’t an in between. However, even if Twitter isn’t your preferred social media avenue, you can still effectively use it as a marketing tool. You just need to know a few basics beyond the fact that a tweet is limited to 140 characteristics.
Here’s what I mean…
Tweets are made up of different parts. Every tweet should have a hook – the tweet body, but you can also add other things to them to make them more effective. Things like hashtags, pictures, links, handles, etc. Not every tweet has to have each of them, in fact, it’s best to mix them up, but they all help your tweet become more effective.
Let’s look at some of them a little bit closer.
The most important part of your tweet is your hook. This is the main text of your tweet that catches the reader’s attention. It might be a call to action, a review snippet, a question, etc.
The best tweets are ones that people can respond to in some way – physically or emotionally.
An effective book tweet, should have a link that they can physically click. You can write other Tweets that don’t, but if you are promoting your book, you should have a link to it in some way (e.g. sales page, website, a review, etc.) Even if your tweet is a quote, it should be followed by a link.
Links do take 22 characters (regardless of their original length), so you’ll need to shorten the rest of your hook accordingly.
Here are a few examples of hook phrases:
Learn how to publish and market audio books with Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart http://ow.ly/qi6jw
Looking for Christian books to read this holiday season? Here’s how to find them free: http://smarturl.it/freechristianbooks
Book Marketing for Beginners: Draw up a marketing plan you can have fun with – http://bit.ly/Ijd676
Authors, ramp up your productivity: Write more, publish more, visit: http://bit.ly/1ejxSMs
Join us as we look deeper into finding our true beauty in Christ with “21 Teen Devotionals… for Girls!” http://bit.ly/21Devos
Hashtags and Twitter Handles
Hashtags are like keywords or phrases on Twitter. They can help your tweet gain more exposure.
We have several lists of hashtags that we use.
- One for our niche
- One for authors and
- One for the holidays.
The general rule is that you don’t want to add more than 3 hashtags to a tweet and you always want to make sure they are relevant.
If we took the same 5 tweets from above and added hashtags, they might look like this:
Learn how to publish and market audio books with Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart http://ow.ly/qi6jw #Authors #bookmarketing #pubtip
Looking for Christian books to read this holiday season? Here’s how to find them #free: http://smarturl.it/freechristianbooks #whattoread #bookworm
Book Marketing for Beginners: Draw up a marketing plan you can have fun with – http://bit.ly/Ijd676 #eBook #indieauthors #ammarketing
#Authors, ramp up your productivity: Write more, publish more, visit: http://bit.ly/1ejxSMs #writetip #writer #YouCanDoIt!
Join us as we look deeper into finding our #truebeauty in Christ w/ “21 Teen Devotionals… for Girls!” http://smarturl.it/21teendevos #teenbooks #RT
As you can see, hashtags can be used within your hook or added at the end.
Twitter Handles are sometimes used like hashtags, but they really shouldn’t be. Hashtags are keywords where Twitter handles are people. They are two different things.
When mentioning other Twitter users in your tweets, you have to make sure you’re not being spammy. I generally only tag someone who is directly related to the tweet – e.g. they wrote the review, blog post, or book I’m linking to. However, there are some Twitter users that will retweet all the tweets sent to them. Staci Stallings shared a list of them in her book, Keys to Creating a Successful Book Marketing Strategy. You can also read that section free on her blog here.
So you might take the same tweets and have:
Learn how to publish and market audio books with Shelley Hitz (@self_publish) & @_HeatherHart http://ow.ly/qi6jw #bookmarketing #pubtip
Looking for Christian books to read this holiday season? Here’s how to find them #free: http://smarturl.it/freechristianbooks #whattoread @freebookschrist
Book Marketing for Beginners: Draw up a marketing plan you can have fun with – http://bit.ly/Ijd676 @_HeatherHart #eBook #ammarketing
#Authors, ramp up your productivity: Write more, publish more, visit: http://bit.ly/1ejxSMs #writetip #writer #YouCanDoIt! @sharethis
Join us as we look deeper into finding our #truebeauty in Christ w/ “21 Teen Devotionals… for Girls!” http://smarturl.it/21teendevos @ShelleyHitz
Twitter pictures are a great way to get more visibility for your tweet. When you’re scrolling down your feed, they just jump out at you. Instead of seeing a small tweet, you get a picture:
They are also displayed on your profile on the left hand side for even more exposure:
The photos above are from our reader account, @BooklyBooks. We’ve shared quote photos, book covers, and graphics about sales we’ve run. All are good options, but you can also do niche photos or infographics.
To add a picture, simply click the camera button underneath the tweet box:
The only warning I have when it comes to adding pictures, is simply to note that in the main Twitter stream, the photos are rectangular, while on your profile they are square. So you can see how some of ours are cut off.
To prevent that, it’s recommended that all of your pictures are sized at 375 x 375 pixels. The Twitter feed will display up to 435 x 375 pixels, cropping anything larger to fit that size – viewers can see the whole thing when they click on it or visit your gallery. The 375 x 375 will be automatically reduced to the 90 x 90 displayed on your profile, anything else will be reduced and cropped. So, just something to consider.
Still not sure what to tweet? Outsource it!
Karen Banes has a standing offer to write 20 tweets for $20. We recently had her write up tweets for us and it was a great time saver. We did tweak a few just a touch, but overall we were really happy with the results and did e-mail her with our feedback.
Here is one of the tweets she wrote for us that we didn’t edit:
Cool little #ebook, with a big bonus.Get free access to a great webinar when you buy Book Marketing For Beginners http://t.co/PzJCrJmLT2
— Training Authors (@trainingauthors) December 4, 2013
She also wrote some of the hooks above that we edited slightly. Including:
Book Marketing for Beginners: Draw up a marketing plan you can have fun with – http://bit.ly/Ijd676 and #Authors, ramp up your productivity: Write more, publish more, visit: http://bit.ly/1ejxSMs
If you’re low on time, or just want someone else to get you going, hop on over to Karen’s website.
Tweet The Distance
Once you’ve got a good tweet written, you might as well make the most out of. You can increase it’s effectiveness even more by using it wisely. Here are three ways to do just that…
- Schedule it as a tweet via PostPlanner. They have an option to schedule recurring tweets – just make sure not to abuse this feature.
- Post it in a tweet exchange such as this one.
- Add it to a blog post about your book. You can find 3 Easy Ways To Add Tweets To Your Blog Posts here.
Jason Matthews says
So funny when you mention people either get Twitter or they don’t. Sometimes I feel like a member of both camps.
Eric Reenders says
As a new Twitter user this is very helpful!
I’m wondering, when linking to your book does it make more sense to link to the point of sale (ie. Amazon page) or to a page on your own site so that you can track the effectiveness of your tweeting?
Heather Hart says
Great question, Eric! We do both. By sending them to your own website if they decide not to buy, they are still on your site and you might snag them as an e-mail subscriber or pick them up as a blog follower. Sending them directly to Amazon helps you get more impulse sales – the fewer clicks the better for these. If you post a review snippet, you’ll need to post directly to the review though. So it really depends on what your tweeting and what your goal is.
For tracking the effectiveness of your tweets, we actually recommend creating specific links. You can do this through TinyURL, SmartURL, or Bit.ly. That way you can track the links easier.
Stacie Walker says
You two are fantastic! Thanks for all of your hard work sharing your valuable tips on how to promote and leverage with Twitter:)
Woman in Leadership Founder
Heather Hart says
Thanks for your encouragement, Stacie!
Catana Tully says
I’ve been tweeting for a while now, and am just getting the hang on it. Your suggestions will help me to improve the hooks and use # effectively. Very grateful for your precise instructions! Thanks!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson says
Heather, I faved and subscribed to this blog but missed this post. Then I saw it mentioned in #PennySansevieri’s marketing newsletter. So glad I did. You’re absolutely right. Most authors need this information. And those that don’t seem to need a review. Great job!
Loving helping writers get read with my HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) .
Heather Hart says
Jaime Hampton says
Heather, as someone in the ‘doesn’t get Twitter’ camp, this post was extremely helpful. Thank you so much!