Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
Part 4: Ten Tips for Twitter
At the beginning of the new year, my goal was to have 200 Twitter followers, now at 664 followers I’m kind of blown away by how far I’ve come. The biggest lesson I’ve learned since joining Twitter is that it isn’t enough to just tweet. If you want to grow your business and blogger brand, you need to tweet smart.
Make a consistent branded account
Consistency is key. If you are consistent then you’re more likely to create a brand that people recognize. This means using the same profile picture for all of your accounts and the same colour scheme/aesthetic for your cover photos.
Put your business info in your bio
On Twitter you’re allowed a single link for your website. Because the focus of my brand is my blog, that’s what I link to. But if I ever tweet about my shop casually (aka not as a promo) and someone is interested, I want them to be able to find it on Twitter. So in my bio I have a link to my shop. This way, anyone who visits my profile will know I have a shop and can visit it. I’ve gotten more views on my shop Facebook page since doing this than I did before.
Follow the ‘right’ people
This doesn’t mean only follow popular book bloggers or authors. Not at all. What I mean is, follow people relevant to what you’re doing. Sure you can follow Leslie Jones because she’s amazing and hilarious. But if you’re a book blogger, most of the people you follow should be interested in books. When you follow people they tend to follow back. You want to create connections with people in your field so you grow your presence in that area.
Schedule promotional tweets
I know some people are against scheduling tweets because it feels like unnatural engagement. And to this, I say OMG NO. Scheduled tweets are a great way to make sure you promote your blog/biz on a regular basis and forces you to have a minimum amount of content.
I schedule 4 tweets a day. Two are promotional for a post coming out that day or one I posted before, one in the morning and one in the evening. Then I put in two tweets with content I think my followers would like, e.g. #bookwormproblems or status updates on what I’m reading.
Use Twitter Cards
The Buffer blog has an amazing post on everything you need to know about Twitter cards. The benefit of Twitter cards is that they create a giant image box with your post title. This means you don’t waste precious characters writing what the post is about because everyone can see the title. Also, the giant image stands out on Twitter.
Create featured images that work for Twitter
If you were following my blog from early on you may have noticed a shift in my featured image dimensions. I used to do long Pinterest-friendly images, but now I create Twitter-friendly ones. If you have Twitter cards or use the Twitter native URL summary, if your image is too long it will get cut off. I recommend using http://canva.com Canva to create Twitter-sized featured images. I also use this to create separate images for Pinterest.
Follow relevant hashtags
Do hashtag research. The hashtags that you use are the way you make yourself visible to people that aren’t already following you. They’re also the way to join a discussion around that specific hashtag. For book bloggers, a lot of the time this will mean book titles. Be careful with these as often abbreviations can be more popular than the full title. Aka #ACOTAR instead of #ACourtOfThornsAndRoses
And make sure to pay attention to current hashtags. If something is happening in the community and everyone is talking about it, join in with the hashtag. Same for current events.
Join in on Twitter chats
Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook has a list of bookish Twitter chats and it’s such a great resource. My favourite chat is #BBTC hosted by @bbookrambles which takes place every Saturday night @ 8 PM EST. It is a fantastic chat where an author is highlighted, you answer fun questions, and someone wins an ARC of the promoted book at the end. It’s also a great place to connect with and discover people that love books. Follow people you chatted with at the end.
Pin your top promotion to your profile
When you tweet about a new blog post or a promotion for your business, pin this to your profile. Pinning a tweet to your profile means it’s always the first tweet people see when they go to your profile. To pin you click/tap on the tweet you want, then click the icon with 3 dots, and select “pin to profile”. When you choose a new tweet to pin it will automatically replace the old one.
Don’t just like, respond
If there’s ANY advice on this list that you NEED to follow it’s this. Twitter is a social platform. This is a way to directly and in real time have conversations with people. It’s not enough to just post your comment and like what other people post. Engage with people! If someone says something, reply to it and start a conversation. I guarantee by the end of the conversion if you follow that person they’ll follow you back. Because you made a connection and that’s what Twitter is all about. Connecting. So next time, don’t just like a tweet, engage and reply to it.
Updates @ LT Librarian Apparel
Facebook Shop: Last month I downgraded to running my shop on Facebook instead of through an external website. The changes have been a little difficult. It’s not as traffic heavy as it used to be and it’s harder to get people browsing through products on the platform. Otherwise, the glitch issues I had before have FINALLY been solved by Facebook and so users can browse the shop via the Facebook app. So my hope is that, that will help with traffic.
Facebook Page: Now that my shop is on Facebook my page is my #1 priority and it would be unbelievably helpful if you could like the page or share the posts. It’s not only the shop, I regularly post links to bookish shirts from all over the web.
New Products: There’re new Six of Crows themed (yes, more) products in the shop now. Soon I’m going to have a sporty sweatshirt available, but I haven’t gotten a chance to get into it yet. The theme of these products are a representation of The Dregs which is the gang that many of the crows belong to.
August Financial Report
Facebook Ads (includes Instagram Ads) – $ 54.07
Buffer – $ 13.44
Site Hosting – $ 9.27
Shopify Fee – $ 13.60
Total Costs = $ 90.38
LT Librarian Apparel – $ 0
Total Revenue = $ 0
Profit* = $ -90.38
Profit since store opening = $ -783.05
The Big Costs: Facebook advertising now takes the cake for what I spend my money on nowadays. Something I’ve noticed is that I can spend $10, get 26 post likes and then invite all the people who liked the post to like the page, and get a good chunk of them to like it. Or I can spend $24 in a campaign for page likes and get about 16 page likes. So I think I’ll be experimenting with creating targeted posts to increase engagement and then inviting those people to like the page. Which seems somewhat more effective than campaigning for page likes.
Page views and Reach
Sadly, Facebook doesn’t let you set the date range for this overall view which is annoying, but I’m dealing. I’m getting a good amount of reach, the issue is making those people click through to the page. Once they’re on the page engagement isn’t bad.
I did two boosts this month for the LT Librarian page. One for the new Six Of Crows design and another with the Young Wild and Well-Read shirt. I clearly need to design more floral shirts. Both boosts did well but didn’t translate into sales, which is alright. I’m more focused on getting people to like the page right now.
How I feel about my progress…
I feel defeated. I know this is only the fourth month my shop has been up, but I’m feeling down about it. Four months, more than $700 in the hole and I have a single sale to show for it. I had an idea to do this big giveaway/social media extravaganza for my Blogversary, but I don’t think it’s feasible anymore. It is beyond tough to start a business and I’m constantly wondering what I’m doing wrong. Is the product terrible? Am I not trying hard enough? Immediate success isn’t realistic, and yet somehow in the back of my mind, I expected it.
How I feel about the business…
Right now I’m at the point where I’m having a lot of thoughts like “why am I even still trying?” and “this is never going to take off” etc. But at the same time, I’m trying to put into perspective the fact that I haven’t even been blogging for a year yet. I can’t expect the success of someone who might have years of building a platform behind them. I think when you see all these articles about how someone made $ 10, 000 off their store in the first year they open, you know it’s unrealistic, but it gets you. And I’m 100% at the point where it’s hard to feel positive about what I’ve accomplished.
How I feel right now…
And it would be easy to at the end of this put a little speech about drawing positive from the negative, but I won’t. My motto from the start of this series is transparency. And honestly, I don’t feel good. I feel like a failure and I don’t know if I’ll feel any better next month. But I’m not at the point where I want to stop. I’m going to keep going. I’m committed to keeping with this for a year.