On Thursday, March 25, the American Booksellers Association held a session called “Twitter Engagement: To Tweet or Not to Tweet,” which covered what booksellers should keep in mind when using Twitter to connect with customers, build community, and more.
Panelists for the session included: Serena Longo of Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Teresa Lynch of The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, California; Lety Stanton-Verduzco of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, Indiana; and Misian Taylor of A Room of One’s Own in Madison, Wisconsin.
A recording of this session, along with a handout, can be found on the Education Resources page on BookWeb.org.
Here are the top 10 takeaways from the session:
- Spend time engaging on the platform — the more you interact through impressions, favorites, retweets, clicks, and other interactions with others online, the more your following will grow. In addition to engaging often with your local community, be sure to engage with authors, publishers, and literary journals. If authors and publishers retweet your content, your audience will grow. Take some time to find the authors who are active on Twitter.
- As you learn the platform, remember that this is a process, and it can take six months to a year before you begin to see reliable sales resulting from Twitter.
- Remember that authenticity is key. Lean into the personable aspect — let people see they’re engaging with a person.
- Stores that have multiple people managing social media should be sure all posts support the store’s mission, values, politics, etc.
- Be sure to post content that isn’t solely book promotion. Ask questions and retweet posts from like-minded organizations or followers.
- Experiment with cross-posting content across platforms to see what works, but also remember who your audiences are on each platform.
- Make a schedule for posting and stick to it. It’s more important to have reliable content than perfect content.
- On the topic of “perfect” content, don’t agonize too much over it. Everyone makes mistakes on Twitter — small mistakes can be addressed and deleted. Otherwise, put content out that your store can stand behind.
- Set boundaries. Twitter is important for your business, but it can be easy to let it take over your day. Consider scheduling software or scheduling staff to create a balance.
- Don’t let questions go unanswered for too long. This can result in negative feedback or a loss in followers.