Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Marketing for Nitwits: Twitter

Diary of a Book Marketing Novice: Twitter

I've had a Twitter account for two years and it's generally been a waste of time. Realizing that problem had to be me and not Twitter, I borrowed not one, but three, social media marketing books from the library.

The bad news: SEO and keywords were a blast compared to Twitter.

The good news: Anything is better than working on my novel.

The better news: There are still other lucrative careers that don't require book marketing skills or finished novels. For example, this company now has an opening for a field biologist.

According to the three social media marketing books, I needed to think about my online marketing as a hub with spokes. The spokes are Twitter, Facebook, SEO and other tools that drive traffic to my hub, which is this blog. Unfortunately, the 12,000 page views I drove to this blog last year generated $8 in revenue. But that's all going to change. So, I opened the books and began.

Step 1: How Much Time Should I Waste on Twitter?

The books recommend tweeting two to five times a day. That seemed do-able if you don't have a job, which I don't. For a reality check, I looked at how often some people with jobs tweet.

- Chelsea Handler has 4 million followers and tweets about two to four times most days.

- Steve Martin has 2.6 million followers and tweets about the same.

In the end I decided my role model should be Zach Galifianakis who has 1.8 million followers and tweets two to three times some months and other months not at all.

Step 2: Install Requisite Tools

The books recommended dozens of tools to make up for shortcomings in Twitter. I started with tools that make it easier to track of followers and their conversations. These included Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Tweetdeck needed to be downloaded onto my computer. Hootsuite runs off a Web site. I hate installing programs on my computer, so I went with Hootsuite, which then required me to install a bunch of its own tools.

Next, I installed other tools that were supposed to automatically send a thank-you message to anyone who followed me. One product called Autoresponder claimed to be free and then tried to charge me $2.50. (Image 1) I cancelled it, but not before it got into my Twitter account and sent a message from me to my followers that said how much I loved the product. (Image 2)

Image 1: Free product with fee I overlooked. Click to enlarge.

I used Twitbacks.com to create a new background for my Twitter page that listed my Web sites and a more extensive bio. It looked like crap. I removed it, but not before it sent a message to all my followers saying how much I loved the product.

Image 2: Two add-ins that inserted messages from me raving about their products.

I installed more and more of the recommended Twitter tools. I couldn't stop, didn't stop, until my virus checker flashed a message that it my computer was being assaulted. Minutes later a tool for tracking my Web traffic mysteriously stopped working.

Six hours had passed and I hadn't added a single follower or generated a single tweet. I stand corrected: Twitter is not better than working on my novel.