Not long ago I happened to hear Patrick Schwerdtfeger talk about a Twitter tip campaign he ran for his book, Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed. I thought the idea was brilliant and decided to do a similar campaign for my new book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time. To help me carry out my plan, I asked Chris Dunshee, a public relations consultant, to read my book and “mine” it for tweets–tips, actually, we could post daily for up to six months. I actually thought we might do this for a year, but that was a bit too ambitious an undertaking, as you’ll read. In this post, however, Chris explains the process of “tweet mining” and setting up the campaign, so you can do the same with your book.
He does not tell you, though, that I am also running a daily retweet contest along with the posting of daily Twitter tips; to encourage my Twitter followers to retweet (share) the tip, which appears just once a day, I am offering a free 15-minute coaching session to one person each day who retweets the daily twitter tip. They need only search it out by looking for the #howtoblogabook hashtag on Twitter. If you don’t understand, read on…
How to Prepare and Run a Twitter Tip Campaign for Your Book
In my time in the public relations industry, I’ve always tried to find new and innovative ways to generate buzz and advance publicity. When Nina Amir asked me to help promote her upcoming book How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time, I knew it would be a great opportunity to share one of my favorite publicity techniques for authors. Today’s social media-driven popular culture provides plenty of opportunities for a print author to get attention for their work. One of the most effective and least expensive ways an author can get social medial publicity is by tweet mining their own book.
I’ve found that tweet mining is a creative and effective way of promoting your printed book in a social media format. It provides short bites of your book, giving your Twitter followers a sample of your book’s content and tone. Follow that up with a book-specific hashtag and a link to your Amazon presale page and you’ve advertised for your book without being obnoxious.
The first step in tweet mining is to determine approximately how many tweets you want to post. It might sound easy to come up with, say, 365 tweets so you can have a full year of content. However, unless your book is the length of War & Peace it’s unlikely you’ll be able to generate that many great quotes worthy of retweeting. Instead, try to find material for at least 90 or 180 tweets in your book’s manuscript. Your goal should be just to find three or six months’ worth of material; this should cover the initial publicity campaign when your book launches.
Once you’ve set your goal, go through your book’s manuscript with a fine-toothed comb and search for your most tweet-worthy excerpts. It’s important that each potential tweet be a succinct sentence or two that can easily be understood out of the context of its surrounding paragraph. “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run,” works, while “He stood alone in the rain, watching them drive away,” does not.
Once you find a prospective tweet in your manuscript, copy and paste it into a word processing document followed by its page number. The page number will be included in the posted tweet to tell the reader that, yes, this is an actual quote or paraphrase from your upcoming book. Following the page number, include a hashtag that incorporates your book’s title. For example, Nina’s book-related tweets are followed by #howtoblogabook. Using a hashtag is a great way for you and others to find every tweet that discusses your book because they can be found using the Twitter search engine. Finally, add a direct link to your book’s Amazon page so people can see exactly what your book is all about—and order it if they like.
For maximum efficiency, your tweets should be formatted like this:
The next step is to schedule and edit your tweets. To keep your book at the forefront of your Twitter followers’ minds, post at least one book-related tweet per day. Also, try posting your tweets at different times each day. This makes your book-related tweets seem more organic.
If you can’t post tweets at will due to your job or other commitments, don’t worry. There are plenty of services that can post your tweets for you. I recommend using Hootsuite (http://www.hootsuite.com) to pre-write and auto-post tweets. They offer basic services for free, but their bulk scheduling service allows you to write up to 50 tweets and post them as a CSV file in one easy step and is available with their upgraded service for $5.95 a month. It’s a real time-saver.
As you post your tweets (whether in advance using Hootsuite or in real time using Twitter), you may need to edit your tips to get them under Twitter’s 140-character limit. The quickest way to do so is to change your book excerpt to texting format by replacing “your” with “ur” and so on. You may also need to paraphrase your writing down to its main idea to get it to fit. As a last resort, shorten or remove your hashtag. It won’t make a significant difference to make this adjustment for just a few tweets.
There. You’ve created a months-long interactive social media campaign centered on your new book that anyone and everyone can participate it. The total cost to you? A little time and effort (and maybe $5.95 a month for Hootsuite). I this helps you see how easy it can be to generate buzz for your own work online. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.
About The Author
Chris Dunshee is a public relations consultant with years of experience helping many authors, companies, and organizations develop their public voice through effective social media communication. Chris is on Twitter @chrisdunshee