First, let me be clear. You are not going to sell a lot of books on Twitter alone. Unless you have hundreds of thousands of adoring followers, the likelihood that a stranger will go from seeing a tweet to immediately getting out their credit card and making a purchase are remarkably slim. Luckily, there are more effective ways to use Twitter to sell your books than the ubiquitous “Buy my book now plus link” approach. Professional salespeople use the concept of a funnel to illustrate the sales process.
Consider Twitter is the widest part of the funnel, where people first discover you. It’s your job to get them to move down through the funnel to that glorious moment they click the “buy” button and transform from follower to reader. Here are my top ten ways to use Twitter to sell books.
10. Follow potential readers
First, it’s all about getting noticed. If you have a profile in mind of the people who would enjoy your books, you can search them out on twitter and follow them directly.
9. Link to your author website in your Twitter profile
This may seem obvious, but just double-check your profile to make sure the link is there and working properly. Go on, we’ll wait.
8. Include a picture of your books in your header image
The image of your books provides a friendly, constant reminder that you have even more pleasurable texts published, available in passages longer than 140 characters!
7. Include the word author in your profile
Again, folks won’t buy your books if they don’t know you wrote them. If you write on a specific topic or for a particular genre, you may consider adding these hashtags to our profile as well. For example: #SciFi author with keen interest in #Dystopian worlds.
6. Fill your tweet stream with interesting content that has nothing to do with your books
You know that guy, the one that constants tweets links to his books, reviews about this books, awards and news about his book? Don’t be that guy. No one is listening to him. No one is clicking his links. He’s getting more and more desperate, as revealed by the increased number of exclamation points following each assertion of brilliance. Instead, fill your stream with content that your readers will enjoy reading. For this, I use a magical combination of Feed.ly and Hootsuite. You can see exactly how I do it here.
5. Remember to actually tweet about your books
While it’s important to avoid tweeting constantly about your books, don’t fear self-promotion so much that you never tweet at all about the wonderful things you created. Your followers WANT to know about your books. Give them a link occasionally. Or perhaps tweet a fabulous line from your book.
4. Tweet links to interesting content on your author website
One of the reasons I love Twitter so much is for its incredible ability to direct large amounts of web traffic to specific places. Remember that sales funnel I mentioned at the top of this article? Getting folks from that first discovery moment on Twitter to actually click through and visit your website is part of moving them through the process. Well written blog posts for fiction authors, and articles for non-fiction authors, provide juicy incentive for folks to visit your site.
3. Run campaigns to collect email addresses
If you can convert a Twitter follower to an email subscriber, you’re going to have much better luck enticing them to buy your books. Tools like Rafflecopter make it fall-down easy to run a fun campaign to collect email addresses in exchange for entry into a raffle.
2. Set up a lead generation “Twitter Card”
This paid feature allows you to create a tweet that collects the email addresses of those who choose to click. It’s pretty cool and a great way to build your email list. Here’s the official Twitter tutorial.
1. Attempt fun
While Twitter can generate some serious traffic and interest in your work, its really not a serious place. People are there to connect with you, the mad mind behind the Twitter handle. Experiment. Play with your posts. The more enjoyment you receive from your interactions, your longevity and effectiveness on the platform will grow. If you hate Twitter, quit Twitter. Try something else instead. There are as many styles of Twitter interactions as there are people. Find what works for you, your readers and your personality.