Monday, 30 January 2012

Five Lessons I've Learned About Twitter: Lesson #4

Yesterday I mentioned that I have learned five important lessons since I opened my Twitter account, @MichaelJMcCann1, just over three months ago as a way to gain additional exposure for my novel, Blood Passage. Lesson #5, as I explained, was that Twitter has a very interesting marketing potential. It is the most active medium in which I'm working, and it allows me to drive traffic to my website, which serves as a portal to the points of sale for my novel, and to this blog where I'm developing my brand as a crime fiction author.

Lesson #4, as I have discovered, is that Twitter also has a lot of research potential.

Twitter has a hundred million users. 100,000,000!!! That's a pretty deep ocean. It stands to reason, therefore, that there’s a great deal to learn by diving in and studying the behavior of the life swimming around on all sides.

Now, I'm not a marketing expert or social media scientist or business consultant. I have quite a few Twitter followers who work in these fields, and I imagine you do as well because they tend to be very active in the medium. They could probably explain to you in much better ways how effective Twitter can be as a research tool, and I encourage you to seek them out if you're interested. However, as a lay person and rank amateur, I still have eyes and a brain and I can figure out what's obvious and right in front of my nose. It's obvious that Twitter can teach me a few things about how to sell my book.

Occasionally I glance at the Trends column to see what’s trending around the world of Twitter, but I haven’t really taken much advantage of this so far because I’m not really a Belieber, I don’t follow Italian football and I don’t really want to share the #5ThingsICantStand. I took a shot at #FreeShippingDay in December, but that's about it so far.

I make a lot more use of the Search field. It occurred to me early on that I could steer some of my tweets to specific categories by using the hash tag. A newbie lesson, of course, but now I’ve trained myself to think not only in terms of my followers but anyone in the Twitterverse who owns a #Nook, might want to buy a copy of Blood Passage from #Barnes&Noble, and might check out the Nook and B&N trending categories before shopping online.  Looking for great #crime fiction? You might find a tweet about Blood Passage if you ran a Twitter search on #crime fiction!

Lest you think that’s a marketing point and should have been in the previous Lesson, well, you’re correct, I suppose, but more and more I conduct searches before using hash tags, to get a feel for the kind of tweets that end up in certain categories based on keywords I’m considering. More than once I decided to skip the hash tag, given the low quality of tweets I found. For example, I was going to tweet that Blood Passage was #hot new crime fiction. I checked #hot and saw a lot of junk tweets. I didn't think there were a lot of book buyers there, so I didn't bother with that one at the time. 

Was I wrong? Maybe I should do more research!

Additionally, I mentioned in Lesson #5 yesterday that I ran an experiment by tweeting about free copies of the book, trying to drive traffic to my blog and onward to Smashwords. As a beginner, I'm trying to learn what works and what doesn't. An important part of my research is watching what other people are doing to generate interest in their product or service, and trying to decide how effective it might be. Some of my favorite people on Twitter are getting very creative with their campaigns, hoping to entertain followers as well as attract their business. When I see their tweets retweeted, I can sense they're succeeding in catching interest.

This is an important lesson I hope to learn a great deal from in the next while: Twitter can teach me much about how to promote my book.

What have you learned from Twitter that you can apply to your own efforts? Please share your experiences with us!

Tomorrow: Lesson #3: Twitter is A Lot More User-Friendly Than Facebook

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