How to improve your chances of selling me something on Twitter

twitter-bird-light-bgsI’ve been on Twitter pretty well since it began in 2006. And most of the time, I love Twitter. I use it to follow people or businesses or teams that I’m actually interested in. I find it cool that I can sometimes connect with someone who I’d never have a chance to connect with otherwise. Occasionally, I learn something new. And now and then I even buy something I discovered on Twitter.

But I have to add that I frequently find Twitter frustrating because of the habits of certain people. I thought I’d post a few of my thoughts here. I meant to write one blog, but this one got too long, so I’ll do a few.

Problem #1. People who seem to be there only to sell their products.

Disclaimer: I myself have products to sell. But I don’t use Twitter to sell them. At least, not very often. I do occasionally let my followers know that a certain thing exists. But I don’t constantly promote them. And I tend to unfollow those who do.

What I hate:

People who use their personal Twitter account only to promote their business or book or whatever they want to promote. Some are better than others, I’ll give you that, but if you only Tweet about your product, I’ll stop following you. Even if I like you. Even if you’re one of my closest friends. Because all I get out of your constant string of tweets is frustration.

Worst:

Buy my book Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

10 minutes later: Buy my book Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

15 minutes later: Buy my book Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

Next minute: Buy my book Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

And so forth all day every day.

Bad. Stop this ASAP.

Better but still bad:

Buy my book Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

1 hour later:Ā Glitter of Diamonds is a mystery set in the world of professional baseball in Canada. (link)

1 hour later: Library Journal called me a “master of plotting” in their review of my book Glitter of Diamonds, which you can buy here. (link)

1 hour later: If you like classic mysteries in the Agatha Christie style, you’ll like Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

And so forth all day every day.

Okay, at least this shows some thought and there might be something that will twig my interest. But not if you do it all day every day!

Somewhat better:

Buy my book Glitter of Diamonds here. (link)

1 hour later: Buy my friend Jayne’s book, Murder in Hum Harbour, here. (link)

1 hour later: Buy my friend Deb’s award-winning book, The Third Grace, here. (link)

1 hour later: Glitter of Diamonds is a mystery set in the world of professional baseball in Canada. (link)

1 hour later: Murder in Hum Harbour is set in Nova Scotia and won The Word Award for best mystery last year. See it here (link)

1 hour later: The Third Grace won the 2012 Grace Irwin Award. See it here. (link)

1 hour later: The Library Journal called me a “master of plotting” in their review of my book Glitter of Diamonds, which you can buy here. (link)

And so forth all day every day.

Good. This isn’t all about your book. And maybe the other authors will spread the promotion for you. But it’s still too much. Unless you say up front you are going to be tweeting only about a certain type of books, and that is what you do/are. But it would be better to have an account solely to promote these products. (See my note at the bottom).

Better yet:

8 am: The Library Journal called me a “master of plotting” in their review of my book Glitter of Diamonds, which you can buy here. (link)

2 pm: Murder in Hum Harbour is set in Nova Scotia and won The Word Award for best mystery last year. See it here (link)

7 pm: The Third Grace won the 2012 Grace Irwin Award. Buy it here. (link)

I actually might keep following you because you aren’t constantly in my face. Yeah! Thank you. But you’re still pretty boring, and unless you keep adding new products, I will eventually unfollow you.

Best:

You post 3 to 5 posts per day about your life, your work, sports teams you follow, a picture of your dog being cute, and other life stuff. Maybe something pithy or funny that you’ve said or written. And 1 or 2 posts related to your product. But not just “Buy my ___”; I want something interesting, like what a reviewer or customer said, why I might want it, etc. In other words, I’m more likely to look at your product if I feel some kind of connection to you as a person. I want to know a little bit about who you are, why you do what you do, why your product might be a good fit for me, etc.

What if you’re really only there to sell products?

Then get yourself an account for that purpose and state upfront that the account is there solely to advertise those products. And make it clear who your target audience is. Then I won’t have to feel guilty if I’m not your target audience and don’t want to follow.

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njlindquist

Janet, I have this tendency to say something and then automatically give an example. Or try to. šŸ™‚ Usually ends up taking way too long and too much time, but….

There are times it’s okay to promote something. If you’re a publisher, I expect you to talk about what you publish. If you’re a singer, I expect you to talk about your singing. If you’re a writer, I expect you to talk about your writing. But… I’d like to see who you are. I may never actually connect with you, but I’d still like to know who you are.

E.g. Some of my favourite people to follow are singers who are highly amusing. I could list a dozen, but two examples are Jason McCoy and Johnny Reid. (I’ll bet you couldn’t guess, right?) If all they did was tweet at me about buying their CDs, I’d be out of there so fast. But they don’t. They post funny pictures and talk about where they are and other singers. And they let me know where they’re singing in my area and thank their fans, and tell me if they have a new single out. But they really seem to be there to help me get to know them, and not just to sell me something.

So even if I don’t interact with them, I can be amused and entertained. Which most of the time is all I’m really hoping for on Twitter. šŸ™‚

I shall discuss links and orders to visit next. šŸ™‚

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njlindquist

Janis, I’d suggest doing a role play. Pretend you’re a person who decided to follow you because she’d heard of you but doesn’t actually know you. Maybe a person from your home town.

Now, go back and read your own tweets for the last week. What would that person discover about you as a person? What might be amusing or informative? What comes across as some form of “buy this …..”

I’ve heard people say that 1 tweet in 7 or 10 should be sales-focused. (And no, that doesn’t mean tweet 10 times in 2 minutes! – another pet peeve of mine. :))

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Janet Sketchley

Thank you for taking time to give examples. Like Janis, I’ll tweet each blog post. I do mine when the post is fresh and include a relevant hashtag if appropriate, and then once in the following week. You’ve reminded me I need to tweet more about A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider.

I actually joined Twitter so I could pass on what other Canadian (and other) authors were saying. I’m already getting the updates and ads from other social media, which probably increases the boredom factor if someone repeatedly tweets “buy my stuff”. But yeah, I’ve been trying lately to find tweets that I can reply to and maybe start a conversation, but all I see are “visit this link”.

Pet peeve: the shortened URLs are great for not dominating the tweets, but you really can’t tell until you click them if they’re legitimate or spam.

Keep this series going. We can all learn from it!

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Janis Cox

Good ideas. I am nervous to put much out about selling my book. How often do you think there should be something about the book?
And what about posts? I always post a couple of times about a post a put up (by hand not by WordPress) and post other people’s posts as well.
Blessings
Janis

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