Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No Link Promotion

First things first, today is the last day to get your query in if you would like to get specific feedback. See all the details here.

Second, I want to say thank you for your positive responses to last week's challenge to stop posting buy links in Twitter. I really appreciate that I'm not alone in wanting to encourage a better way for writers to promote their work.

And that leads me into today's post. If we aren't posting links to our work, how do we stay relevant in a fast moving feed of 140 character sound bytes?

Here are a few ideas to get you started in your no-link promotion.

1.  Hashtags
The beauty of hashtags is that they are way less offensive than a buy link and work harder for you. A hashtag lets you identify your book with each relevant tweet without the used car salesman feel. In addition to creating consistency in your message, that magical little # promotes your book even when you aren't.

The key to that is to encourage retweets. When people see an amazon link they know exactly what it is, but a hashtag could be anything. Get it visible enough and people will be curious. It goes back to the theory that people want to be included. If they think everyone else already knows about something, they will look into it.

How do you get retweets?

The best way is to post relevant posts that people want to share. Think about politicians. Most of their speeches are nothing more than a mosaic of 30 second sound bytes. They know that news organizations aren't going to air the whole speech, so they use that to their advantage by loading their speech with short snippets that pack a punch and don't take up much air time.

Another way is to host time sensitive contests. By narrowing down a short window of participation, you increase the chances that your hashtag will trend which expands your exposure to people who might never have heard of you.

2. Be a conversation hijacker
In real life, it can be awkward to jump into a conversation midstream. With Twitter it's expected. If you see folks chatting about something that interests you or is related to your work, go ahead and jump in. Don't forget that the point of social networking is to be social. Just make sure you don't jump into the conversation with a "Interesting point. I just wrote a book about this." That's not joining a conversation, it's interrupting one with an advertisement.

The way this helps you is that people are curious. If I run across part of an interesting conversation in my feed, I'm likely to open it up and see who's talking and what's being said. If there's an interesting person in the conversation that I'm not following, I'm probably going to add them. So while that conversation didn't sell me their book, it now opens me up to their other more promotional posts that can expose me to a book I might not have found otherwise.

3. The power of private
One of the great things about twitter is the ability to contact someone privately so long as you follow each other. This means you can reach out to someone you've formed a relationship with to ask for help with promotion. I probably won't respond to a public call for guest post opportunities because it's impersonal and disconnected. I am likely to respond positively to someone who I've spoken with in the past who reaches out about guest posting.

Why? Because people like to feel special. It's the same reason we personalize query letters. A private message says "I know you and I know your platform." While this certainly takes more time than a massive public plea for hosts, it is going to be infinitely more successful.

That's it for me today, but I'd love to hear other ideas you've got for promoting your work without links. Share your game plan in the comments and let's start a "no link" revolution.

3 comments:

  1. I've been trying to use hashtags more. I've met a lot of new people through them.

    As always, great tips, Sarah. :)

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  2. Very good advice, thanks for sharing, Sarah! Hashtags are always a good use for twitter, I think. Even though you don't really need to use them anymore to locate things, it's just so Twitter. And fun.

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  3. love hashtags! I always jump in or try and be social on twitter. Recently, I made a funny reply to an agent, one that I've chatted with before, and this time they followed me back. I thought that was pretty cool. And the conversation had nothing to do with books.

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