Sunday, November 10, 2013

What’s a Tweet Worth? By PJ Nunn

Lots of people wonder. But the truth is, while they all cost the same (free) they’re not all worth the same at all. Virtually any tweet, good, bad, linked, unlinked – all are worth a bare bones basic – they do something to increase name recognition that makes them worth more than not tweeting. If something you tweet causes someone to click on your name, it could be considered a successful tweet. It provoked someone to want to know more about you. The next criteria for success involves what they find when they click on your profile.

Your profile contains your name, handle, a one sentence bio and hopefully a link to your website or FB page. It also shows how many you follow and how many follow you. These numbers also tell a tale. If you follow almost the exact number that follow you, some will suspect that you’re more about the numbers than the content. If you follow follow 2000 but only 12 follow you, you probably aren’t doing it right.

The profile page also shows two or three of your latest tweets. This is where the real info is found. If both tweets showing contain links and interesting information, you’ll almost always click on the Full Profile link to see more. Scroll down the top 10 – 15 tweets. That will tell you what this person is really doing on Twitter.

Unfortunately for many authors, this is exactly where things go amiss. You’d be surprised how many authors have very little variety in what they tweet. In fact, almost every tweet can be condensed to “Buy my book”. Be honest with yourself. How many tweets like that have you seen? And how many times have you followed those links to actually buy the book? Nuff said?

If that’s what I find when I look at someone’s profile, I rarely follow that person. I’m on Twitter for one basic reason, same as most of you. I want to use this means to help my clients increase their sales. I don’t do that by hammering a sales chant, however. I do that by helping increase their name recognition, hoping to make their work seem a little more interesting and intriguing and provoking people to want to know more. Social media can be a perfect way to accomplish those things if used correctly. That doesn’t mean tweet more, it means be smart about what you tweet.

I’m not one of those that uses all the analytical reports and makes charts and graphs about what time of day and how many words to tweet. I just try to use common sense, based on what provokes me to want more information about someone. I don’t follow people so they’ll follow me back and my numbers will go up. I follow people that I want to hear from. People that seem likely to say things that will be of interest or value to me. People who will tweet about things that might help me reach my goals. So I follow authors who actually talk, or share interesting blog posts or articles they’ve found, not just those they’ve written. I really like to hear what someone thinks about a book they’ve read. About how it made them feel or think about something. How it’s not just another book. I like to follow people who share about things that happen while they’re writing, or things they’ve learned about along the way. But remember, there is such a thing as TMI (too much information). If you’re on Twitter for purely social purposes, don’t expect a large professional following.

How do you know your tweets are worth something? First, make sure they’re not all about you. Make it a point every day to either retweet or post about another article or author – something of interest to writers or readers that has nothing to do with you or your book. Don’t be afraid to retweet things you find funny or interesting that are totally unrelated to writing once in a while. Ask yourself if something you’re about to say will encourage, uplift or inspire someone, or if it’s just a voice in a crowd.

It really isn’t that hard to use Twitter in a manner that is effective. It just takes a little time, exploration and information. Maybe we should worry less about who’s following us, and more about being someone they want to follow. Because truly, if people want to follow you on Twitter because you’re informative, entertaining and interesting, they’ll buy your books whether you tell them to or not.

PJ Nunn is the owner of BreakThrough Promotions, a PR firm for authors, and author of Angel Killer.