Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Would Jane Austen Tweet?

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a romance author in possession of a book or manuscript for sale must be in want of Twitter followers. 

Social media has become integral to the success of any small business marketing plan. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr attract attention through graphics, pictures and illustrations, but Twitter is the one social media platform where your writer's voice can and really should shine. Think of each Tweet as a writing challenge. You only get 140 characters, so you must make each one count.

Your Tweets can help create and shape the personality of you as an author. Just as you have a picture of Jane Austen in your mind's eye, use your Tweets to create a public image of you in your writer's bonnet or pith helmet if that's more apropos. Think about your public image before you Tweet.

Your Tweets, like your curtsey to Mr. Collins at the Netherfield Ball, should always be light, bright, and polite. It's a saying I learned at a social media seminar by Josh Ochs that has stuck with me as my mantra.

@Emma: It was a delightful Tweet; perfect, in being much too short.

Your Tweets should be precise, witty and pithy. Try not to use all 140 characters. Leave room for your followers to RT and add comments.

A Twitter feed is a public "micro-blog," not a private text machine. Using #toomanymakebelievehashtags and text abbreviations make your Tweets about as entertaining as Mary Bennet's singing at the piano.

Unless you're Mrs. Elton, your Tweets (as an author) should be free of strong opinions, controversial topics, and politics. And remember the golden rule of social media: There will always be haters. You can choose to engage with them. Or not.

You take delight in vexing me,@LizzysDad. You have no compassion on my poor nerves. 
You mistake me, @MrsBennet. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet know to seek out accomplices on social media. Note that they don't start Tweet shout-outs to each other with their Twitter handles. Their Tweets will be seen by all their followers and not just each other. @Kristan_Higgins and @JillShalvis do this with panache. 

Use HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule your Tweets. You can send the same Tweet up to three times a day and not worry about becoming as repetitive as Miss Bates.

Be aware of current events. Un-schedule Tweets that contain calls to buy your book or sign up for your newsletter when a tragedy or disaster strikes.

There are no tricks to gaining new followers. Engagement is key. If you schedule tweets, you still need to make time to be on Twitter live and in person; Follow, Reply and RT the posts of your author-friends. 

Engage your followers. Ask questions about their favorite books, movies and television shows and Reply. Check out @EntangledPub for great examples of how it's done.