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October 5, 2009

How to Effectively Use Twitter for Book Marketing

The three main keys to an effective Twitter strategy are transparency, engaging conversation, and sharing information. If you do all these three, you will be in a great position for people to know, like, and trust you. And people buy from people they trust.

Before you start using Twitter for promoting your book, you need to do several things.

Transparency – setting up your Twitter profile correctly

To be taken seriously rather than as a spammer on Twitter you have to correctly fill out your profile. Your real name goes in the NAME line in your account settings. For example, if your name is Claudia Windward and your username is cwindward – Claudia Windward goes in the name line.

This is the transparency – you are on Twitter as a person even if you are representing a company. If this person’s username was AjaxCompany, her name in her profile should still be Claudia Windward. Your Twitter username answers the question of who’s behind the veil.

In the profile URL field, put your website. If you do not have a website, put the link to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

Because you have so few characters available (160 maximum), you have to carefully decide how you want to portray yourself. And a random piece of information might cause someone to connect with you. Dog lover? And the good news is that it’s very easy to change your bio whenever you want.

Do include a location. Perhaps because Twitter is global, people like to know where you are. Someone might start a connection with you because of where you are.

And choose a clear headshot for your profile photo. People want to see what you look like – see your face clearly – in order to have a more personal connection. And, yes, some people use little icons for their profile photos. In some cases these icons make sense; in others they don’t.

Yet if you really want to effectively use Twitter, choose a clear headshot photo that you use in other social media so that people can quickly recognize you.

Engaging in conversation – whom do you want to “meet” on Twitter

Let’s say you’re interested in promoting a fiction or nonfiction book. What is the subject area of the book? You should use (like Google alerts for Twitter) to track conversations related to book marketing and to the topic of your nonfiction book or something about your fiction book.

When you get a tweetbeep alert, make sure you’re signed into Twitter. Then click on the usernames provided by the alert. If the people sound interesting, follow them. If appropriate, engage in conversation with them BUT don’t push your book. You can mention your book but don’t push it.

Sharing information – provide valuable content and learn from other people’s valuable content

Share information (not necessarily your own) in your tweets. If you read a terrific blog post about book marketing, share the link in a tweet. Of course, share info that’s connected to the “spine” of your Twitter presence along with info that makes you interesting as a person. For example, if you’re a publisher, share publishing news. And also tweet about a great movie you just saw.

If someone else shares a link to a blog article or website that you find valuable, send a public reply thanking the person who shared the link and include in this thank-you tweet the original link.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant whose company website has lots more useful advice like this. Grab her free report on “The Top 3 Internet Marketing Elements” to maximize your own Internet marketing experience – claim your report now from