If you’re an author marketing your book, it goes without saying that you want to get in front of the right people, or in other words “key influencers.” And, where you find them is just as important as how you reach them. Social media offers an incredible opportunity to connect with these influencers in a meaningful way. And while it’s really common to use LinkedIn and Facebook, the art of connecting with influencers on Twitter can also make a huge difference to your end goals, especially when they retweet your Tweets.
Additionally, Twitter offers a direct, instantaneous link that allows you to take a more focused, more tailored approach. Anytime you like or reshare a Tweet, the person will know, and it opens the door to a great connection. Not only are you exposed to their followers, but as your relationship grows, you will likely see your follower numbers growing as well.
So, where do you start?
As with any concerted marketing effort, it’s best to go into this with a plan in mind instead of taking a dartboard approach. In order to start connecting, you first must find the right people to connect with. On Twitter, it’s relatively simple to search for specialized audiences, especially when you’re looking for someone specific. To find an individual, simply type their name in the search box and scroll through the results. You can further refine your search by utilizing the features on the left side of the initial results.
To find “tweeple” with similar interests or even local to your area, sites likeTwitterholic.com, TwitterLocal.net, and Twellowhood (twellow.com/twellowhood) are great places to start. As you start following influencers, you may also find some “similar people” or additional recommendations to follow simply by using Twitter.
To avoid being overwhelmed by the constant updates, you may want to consider dividing your Tweeps into Twitter lists. It’s really easy to do from your home page. Check out the screenshot below where the word “Lists” is circled. That link will take you to your personal lists, which you can make public or private.
To start your own, click on “Create a list” (see below), and follow the steps to create your own lists:
Lists can be used for just about anything. Some lists I only use for short periods, and others I keep for much longer. If, for example, you’d like to learn more about the speakers at an upcoming event, add them to the list to start checking out their tweets (and of course then you can retweet or reply to them). You can do this for anyone you’re interested in – and in any industry. Twitter lists have endless applications.
How to boost your Twitter engagement
When you think about boosting engagement on social media, and especially on Twitter, think of it like a major networking event. You wouldn’t walk into a room and shout at the top of your lungs: “Hey, can everyone here buy my book?” The same goes for Twitter and other social media. It’s mindboggling how many people not only do this, but also expect tangible results. Relationships of every kind take time to build, and they often start with putting yourself out there, and giving more than you get. So, with that in mind, as you prepare to build a tribe of influencers and to network, consider these tips to build your followers, and your engagement:
Follow your influencers: It seems obvious, but don’t forget this key step! Everyone loves followers, even the top influencers in your market.
Share their content: Start sharing their content before you ask for ANYTHING. And do it meaningfully. Be selective what you share and consider adding a comment to highlight what your followers will find interesting. This can also help tie it into your own messaging or topic.
Comment (and potentially start a conversation): Along with content you share, you can also comment on things that you see in their Twitter feed by replying to them. A quick, thoughtful comment can go a long way to introducing yourself.
Like what they share: You can like things without sharing them to let your influencer know that you’re interested in what they say, but you can also like AND share content. If a piece of content is meaningful to your audience, like and share away. But, if you find that it’s off-topic, or too personal, a simple like will let the influencer know you’re paying attention.
Follow and comment on their blog: If you are really wanting to network with someone, consider another route in addition to Twitter. Trust me, if you regularly comment on their blog and share their Twitter content, they will remember you. Although blogs are ideal, if they don’t blog often, Facebook and Instagram offer a great alternative.
Don’t DM them: DM = Direct Messaging, and I will tell you that I ignore 99% of these. Why? Because I feel like if someone really wants to network with me, they’ll make the effort to find my email address, especially since I’ve made it easy to connect with me. DMs are often annoying and canned, and you’ll find that taking a personal route will yield far better results.
Engage before events: I mentioned using lists to identify speakers at upcoming events. So, use these lists to start engaging heavily with them before you see them speak. If they tweet out that they’ll be at such-and-such event, comment back, tell them you’re excited, too, and you can often set up a meeting at the end of their talk.
I’ve written a lot in the past on building Twitter engagement, but the key takeaways is that you can easily build your own followers if you: stay on message as you network; comment, share, and like others’ Tweets; and, include hashtags in your own tweets. And, while numbers don’t always tell the whole story, they never lie.
Engage all the time, not only when you want something
Often, authors only begin to engage with folks when they want something – which is typically a review. And even though most influencers aren’t necessarily offended by this practice, if you have some kind of relationship first, you’re more likely to have success when you pitch them.
If you’re not sure how to do this, first start with five influencers you absolutely love and read what they share and then share and/or comment on their content. Simply sharing their content in a thoughtful way tells your influencer that you’re interested in them and you’re paying attention. And, when your turn comes, they’ll likely be paying attention, too.
Make personal connections
Several years ago, I was working with an unknown romance author and went through a list of 100 romance bloggers, pitching them one at a time on her behalf. Not only did I personalize each email, but I also took a moment to note things I had learned by reading their blogs. The results were awesome – with a simple personalization, she received 80 out of 100 blogger requests, which is incredible for an unknown author with no history, and little or no social media footprint.
It’s important that you follow same principles when connecting with influencers on Twitter. The little touches often separate out what gets noticed and what gets ignored. Skip the automation and go for personalized, personal outreach instead of treating your influencers like numbers.
Ultimately, if you want to build your network and expand your reach, Twitter is an invaluable tool. Whatever your ultimate goal – more sales, great blurbs, spectacular reviews, or even boosted shares – Twitter can be a great piece of your arsenal. If you use it wisely and follow some of these guidelines, you’ll be astounded at the boost it gives your marketing efforts.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of twelve books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon
and Red Hot Internet Publicity
, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet."
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com