Hustling Book Sales on Twitter, One Tweet at a Time
A few months ago on my person twitter, I tweeted a review of the book I has just read, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, a posthumous publication of one of the manuscripts he left behind about the rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. I always tweet when I publish a book review on IsleofBooks.com. (For more about my personal book reviews and writing blog, check out this post).
While Twitter has taken their licks in recent years, Twitter is still part of my content promotion strategy. It's not a central piece of it, but it is something I always do. One thing I like about Twitter and this is one arena where Twitter still shines, is the ability to connect directly with a customer, future client, influencer, celebrity, etc. Nearly all of my personal interactions with celebrities on social media have occurred on Twitter. For whatever reason, it is just easier to cut through the noise and connect with someone you don't know on Twitter than it is on the other major platforms. This may seem anecdotal, but most social media coaches teach the importance of using Twitter to connect and make sales.
I wanted to share this interaction I had with an author on Twitter that resulted in me purchasing his book and break down why this worked and how you can replicate it to grind out sales of your book or product on Twitter!
On the day I tweeted the link to my book review of Crichton's book, Dragon Teeth, Wynne McLaughlin responded to my tweet with a tweet about his own book and link to it. What was so great about this and what impressed me enough to click the link, is McLaughlin clearly knew his comp titles. (For those that don't know, a comp title is a comparable book to your own, usually because of the subject matter or style.) McLaughlin's own book, The Bone Feud, is also about Cope and Marsh. I'm not sure how many fiction books are out there about these two men, but at the time of reading Dragon Teeth, I had never heard of them before and found their history fascinating. So the fact that an author tweeted me with a link to another book about the same bit of history piqued my curiosity to click through to take a look at his own book.
It's a running joke with my boyfriend that when trying to pick a new restaurant to eat at, I tend to not even consider a restaurant with less than 4 stars. The same is true when I buy books online. Since it's so easy for me to look at the star rating and reviews, I tend not to take a chance on a new-to-me author with less than 4 stars for their book unless a friend whose opinion I trust has recommended it to me. So when I clicked the link McLaughlin sent me, I landed on the amazon page where I could see that after 68 reviews, this book had an average rating of 4.5 stars.
He might have had 68 friends review the book for him so I scrolled down to look at the reviews to see if they seemed like the people had actually read the book and what they thought of it generally:
I saw Amazon verified reviews sitting on top, clicked on a couple to read through them, and concluded that these reviews not only seemed legit, but the reviewers seemed to like the book overall.
Every reader is different, but you can bet that if a consumer wants to take a chance on a new product, they will look at the overall reviews and read through at least a handful to get more information about the product their buying. When he tweeted me the link, McLaughlin had already positioned his book to pass a few litmus tests.
And the final consideration that made me take a chance on a book by an author I'd never heard of? It was on sale for $2.99 that day.
Why It's Notable:
In the writing conferences I've been to and the articles I've read, Twitter is often upheld as a great place for authors to spend time and make sales. But rarely do I actually see authors hustling on Twitter the way McLaughlin did. I've been reviewing books (and tweeting about them!) for well over six years. I post 1-2 book reviews a week...I'll let you do the math on how many books that works out to over six years. But McLaughlin is the first person in all that time who ever tweeted to me in this way.
I don't know if McLaughlin even looked at my own review, but he knew I was at least interested in the same subject of his own book. Therefore, I was a warm lead because there was a chance I would be interested in at least looking at his book and possibly purchasing.
I'm going to guess that the tweet took him maybe a minute to compose. He already had his book positioned in the best light possible and he had a link to the sales page. All he needed to do was browse Twitter for readers, reviewers, and fans of comp titles to his own book and send them a tweet. The tweet doesn't even have to be that interesting. It just needs to make it easy for the consumer to purchase and tell them what's in it for them. In this case, a link to Amazon with its one-click purchase option and the promise that if I liked Dragon Teeth, I would probably also like The Bone Feud.
How You Can Apply It to Your Own Marketing:
For authors, if you're not taking the time to hustle like McLaughlin, you're doing yourself and your book a real disservice. I lied when I said I would let you do the math on the estimate of how many books I read in six years if I read at least one a week....312 books. 312 tweets with book reviews and only ONE author who ever had the gumption to approach me with their comp title. That's an awful lot of missed opportunities in the Twitterverse!!
Even if you're not selling books, you can still use this method to make sales on Twitter. There are comparatively few products where the consumer needs to make an either or decision. There are many industries where the consumer will purchase multiples of the product: books, socks, shoes, pens, stationary, etc. If you sell a product where a consumer is likely to own multiples, then Twitter is a goldmine. There are lots of people tweeting and even more people lurking on Twitter (watching, but not tweeting anything of their own) especially in this age of Trump. Even if you sell a product that someone might not need multiples of, chances are they will need to replace it at some point. If someone tweets that they need recommendations for a new watch and you sell watches, that person is holding their hand up and asking to be approached.
I've had only two other instances on Twitter where a company read my tweet, responded, and told me about their product. Obviously, this is notable enough that I remember them. Once when I tweeted a picture of my dog in San Diego, a company invited me to bring him to their dog event. I already had plans and it was kind of far or I might have actually gone. Another time I tweeted about shattering my phone screen and a company nearby responded that they could fix it for me if I came to their store.
In 2017, it's estimated that there are over 300 million monthly active users on Twitter. If you aren't using the search function to grind out your sales, you're missing quite a few opportunities. It takes about a minute or less to compose a tweet. If you spent just thirty minutes a day searching through Twitter keywords that relate to your product and taking the opportunity to connect or try to make a sale, I bet you would start to see some results. I have no idea how long McLaughlin spent on Twitter the day he reached out to me, but for the minute he spent composing the tweet, he got another sale of his book.
If this marketing showcase was helpful to you, leave me a comment below! Is there a great brand whose marketing you love? Let me know, I would love to check them out!