December 27th 2011 – Feeling somewhat lethargic after what had been a fairly gluttonous Christmas period, I lay beached on the sofa, remote clasped in one hand, idly flicking through the TV channels. There were only two programmes that even vaguely stimulated my interest. I decided to Tweet this information to the world. The Tweet read:
‘Choices, choices – Kim Jong-il’s state funeral or George of the Jungle with Brendan Fraser?’ #Jong-il #BrendanFraser
It was a defining moment, as this was the first Tweet I had ever sent. No one responded, perhaps because I didn’t have any Followers back then. A little over two years, 4,010 Followers and 7,437 Tweets later I find myself reflecting on my time spent in the Twitter sphere. A period that has witnessed some truly remarkable Twitter events, none more so than the medium’s pivotal role in the Arab Spring.
These Twitter facts pay testimony to the influence of the social media behemoth.
- 1 Billion – Registered Twitter Users.
- 500 Million – Average Number of Tweets sent per Day.
So fascinated with this microcosm of society did I become that I was soon writing extensively about Twitter here on my blog, including posts about the various species that inhabit Twitter, Twitter annoyances, Twitter viruses, how authors use Twitter to promote their books and much more besides.
I’ve seen it all – the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good – Making Twitter friends, particularly fellow authors. Taking part in entertaining conversations. Sharing interesting and entertaining information with others and vice versa. Utilising Twitter as a curated news feed to get breaking news.
The Bad – #TeamFollowBack. ‘10,000 Followers for $5’ type spam Twitter accounts, more often than not from an account with a profile pic of an under-age looking South East Asian girl acting as jail bait. Incessant Repeater Tweeters (e.g. authors saying things like ‘BUY NOW’ and ‘PRIZE WINNER!’ – more often than not complete with capitalisation and exclamation marks, in some instances I have seen promotional Tweets repeated up to x200 per day).
The Ugly – Justin Bieber.
What have I learnt from my Twitter experiences? As an author I was keen to use the medium to promote my book, Charles Middleworth, a humorous tale of the unexpected. These are the lessons I have learnt:
- There is no correlation between book sale pitch related Tweets and books sales.
- Twitter can be a useful tool in referring traffic to one’s blog (12% of my blog traffic is referred by Twitter).
- Increasing Follower numbers does not necessarily equate to more sales, leads, blog traffic etc.
With my second book, Necropolis, a work of dark humour, due to launch the week of April 21st, I have been considering my future use of the medium. These are my conclusions.
- Utilise a personal/distinctive voice to stand out from the crowd as opposed to add to the clamour.
- Avoid ‘Buy Now’ type Tweets and instead promote book through event/promotion announcements at the appropriate time (i.e. book launch, Amazon KDP, goodreads giveaway).
Comparisons with other social media platforms (my experience):
- Google+ to date has been more effective in driving traffic to my blog (Tangible Evidence: 15% of blog traffic this quarter – Intangible: weight of evidence suggesting Google+ presence improves google search engine ranking).
- goodreads – More effective than Twitter for promoting my book, communicating with readers, improving visibility and measuring results. (Supporting Evidence: Recent Charles Middleworth giveaway had 824 entries, with 319 people adding to their to-read list).