This week's Tuesday Tip probably has more packed into its one picture than all my words words. But let's dwell on the words anyway because we're Indie Authors and words are the lifeblood of our Muse, right? Hey, don't kill my Muse :) I'm following up today on my previous fly-through of bulk-scheduling tweets with the free Bulk Uploader tool from Patrick Maciel, an Indie Developer of phone apps who lent his skills to this much-needed cause. He's seeking additional "Beta Testers" so get the tool now and start using it tonight.
Using Patrick's tool is as easy as using Microsoft Excel (or easier!) What's gonna slow you down is that you still have to have to write the content. Last week, I did a Tip on how to write promo tweets, or headlines that work. The follow up is a simple tip that should seem obvious but for some reason, isn't--or not to all of us. It wasn't something I thought to do right away.
Big Tip of the Day: Start a file to Save All Your Tweets--even the bad ones!
Whatever you do, collect and preserve and reuse all of your best tweets--and keep the bad ones. You might find yourself figuring out how to edit them next week or next month--or making a joke of it next year. Never tweet and forget about it.
If you see a lot of RTs or replies or click-throughs on a specific tweet, capture that text (in your XLS file, the one you're using with the free Bulk Uploader tool) and be sure to schedule it again. If the RT rate declines the next time you use it, try tweaking it for freshness. Play with your tweets ^)^
If you can manage to collect 100 or more tweets in a file, you can tweet 7 days a week, every week, automatically, without ever "having" to compose another one of those dreaded 140-character sales pitches. Obviously, you'll want to compose new tweets from time to time--if nothing else, to quote your best reviews--but click through the jump-break for 3 tips on how to fully-exploit the ones you already have at your fingertips.
As noted last week on how to write promo tweets, recycling the best ones is a good short cut. If you can capture 50-100 of them "as you go," you'll get to a point where you can auto-tweet the collection and not look/sound redundant all the time. The trick is to get a substantial assortment. Try using each of the 8 different styles of headlines to rewrite the same basic information. That right there is going to get you at least 6 unique tweets (assuming you decide to pass on 1 or 2 of the styles).
I took a screen shot of my file of promo tweets for the SciFi Thriller I've just released under a pen name. (click on the image to enlarge to full-size) Let's use that as an example of what Patrick's @BulkSchedule tool can do for you.
You have to schedule the tweets at intervals. Some (many?) Indie Authors tweet once an hour, every hour, and mix together promo tweets with so-called "content tweets." That's a lot of tweets. It's going to make your stream really, really busy. In addition, if it's all promo, all the time, it's gonna get annoying.
Now, if you're someone like Jeremy (@toonopolis) Rodden, then you have a topic on which your "content tweets" can dwell, pre-scheduled, and still seem like you're actually talking to your tweeps. However, if you're writing genre fiction--such as, SciFi or Thrillers or even romance novels--you might find it hard to make authentic-sounding statements in a pre-scheduled "content tweet." It's hard enough to do "live" but saying something 3 days ahead of time comes out sounding "flat." Or it does for me.
Tip 1: Make the Interval Long Enough
Schedule your tweets for less often than every hour on the hour. I use one and a half to three hours as my interval, giving myself a long enough space of "dead air" in between that I can "show up" on my own Twitterstream. I am coming to my own party!
If you do this, too, be sure to make appearances once or twice a day. You don't need to spend more than 5-10 minutes and you don't have to say a lot, just something that is really you "in the moment" so your presence is actually felt by your followers. Plus, added benefit here: the longer the interval, the more days you'll cover! Once every hour requires 24 tweets a day but once every 2 hours, only 12 tweets a day. Do the math and figure out what interval feels right for you. Then fill it with tweets, at least 3-4 days at a time.
Once you have a collection of tweets, you'll want to reuse them. If, however, you have regular followers who read your stream on a regular basis, chances are, they'll show up to read your tweets around the same time of day and/or on the same day of the week. If you simply re-upload the exact same file every few days, someone's gonna see the same tweets repeating too often - and probably get very bored, very quickly. You might lose followers as a result which kind of defeats the purpose, no?
Tip 2: Randomize the Presentation Order of the Content to Keep it Fresh
When you use Patrick's free Excel tool from HootsuiteBulkUpload.com, you can click the "Advanced Options" button to make the "Randomize Tweets" option available. Use it. The tweets and their associated URLs will be randomly reordered. The dates/times will not. See the image above for what I mean.
3) Easy to Remember
Use customized, shortened URLs to make it easier for people to remember where to find your book. If one of your tweeps has already bought your book, and is following your stream, and sees your tweets over and over and over again, chances are, they'll remember some your repetitive content. Like the URLs. Later, when they're talking to their friends about your book and twitterstream, they might even give the link out (verbally) because hey, it's so easy to remember and recite, why not? It you make it something they cannot remember, it won't get handed out as often.
One of the hardest things to accomplish when getting people talking about your book is to get them to actually share the link to buy it. People say things like "Yeah, you can get it on Amazon." and then trust their friends to be interested enough to (a) go to the Amazon web site, (b) search for the book--assuming they can remember the title--and (c) identify it from the list of search results. Or maybe I should say not get distracted by the list of search results. Get one giant step closer to "yes" (as they said in "Getting to Yes" one of the best books on negotiation and sales you can ever read) by removing some of those hurdles.
Tip 3: Make Your Links Easy to Remember!
Bit.ly offers customization of links free of charge. Why not use it? Click through the image above now if you haven't already. Do you see how many links I have in the URL column? I made one for each bookstore. It's free, took me 5 minutes and now look at this great list of links I have available to tweet and share:
I even made one for the announcement of my book getting selected as a Group Read on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/GR-AnnounceJun2012 . But here's a lesson learned. I wanted to keep the URL short so I used the international 3-letter abbreviation "Jun" instead of "June" and now I (and others) keep going to a 404 Not Found page at http://bit.ly/GR-AnnounceJune2012 O_o Live and learn from my mistake, eh? Choose your URLs carefully.
If you don't use customized URLs, Hootsuite will automatically reform your links in the "ow.ly" format and that's fine, but you don't have to enter a URL in the 3rd field of the 3-value CSV list for each tweet. The URL is optional. You can put the customized, easy to remember link into the tweet message value (2d value of the CSV list for that tweet) and leave the URL value blank. Hootsuite's Publisher will ignore the blank field. Actually, it'll fill it in with a space but a blank space.
Note to the Hootsuite Guys
If you've got anyone reading this blog post, please know that many of us devotees would stop using Bit.ly for link-shortening if you offered the same URL customization feature they do. Just a thought.
UPDATE: Apparently Hootsuite already does this Vanity URLs are part of an add-on for-pay program they offer to Enterprise level customers. Read more about Hootsuite's Vanity URLs here and if you decide to consider buying one, read this blog for considerations and concerns before you click anything.
Next Monday will be another entry in the new series on Branding (for Indie Authors). I'm about halfway through the editing process for converting the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (for Indie Authors) into an eBook and might share the opening chapters soon to give you a flavor for how different the book will read from the blog posts, which remain here on the blog, free of charge, for your reference.
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