The globetrotting author coach and bestselling self-published author Connie Brentford, founder of The Moonlighter's Guide website, shares some invaluable and creative tips on how to engage directly with readers by tracking their comments about your books on social media.
I’m a digital nomad and connecting with my readers in person for readings, book clubs and signings has always been problematic as I spend most of my year travelling around non-English-speaking countries. While I’d hear from some of my readers by email, I was frustrated that Amazon was collecting the names and email addresses of my readers and I wasn’t. How could I connect with those readers?
Track Amazon's Tweets About Your Books
I started an email list and put the sign-up form in my books. That has helped, but I also remembered that Amazon gives readers the option to tweet about their purchase as soon and they buy. Amazon fills in the tweet for you, so readers who have just purchased and downloaded your book sometimes use social media to broadcast that fact. If you do a search on Twitter for “I just bought” @amazonkindle you’ll see hundreds of tweets each day from readers publicly posting about their book buys.
In order to search for your books on Twitter, you need to know what Amazon fills in when people buy your books. Below is an example of my purchase of Guy Kawasaki’s book and how it shows up when you search on Twitter. I find a lot of my Amazon readers this way, especially when I run KDP Select free days. Thousands of my books are being downloaded over a period of days and a percentage of those people will tweet about it. When I find them, I’ll usually thank them for buying the book and offer assistance if they have any questions. I’ll also follow up later as our conversation develops and ask them to write a review.
This is how the Amazon search shows up on Twitter:
Find Out Who Else Mentions Your Books
This is not the only way that readers tweet about your books. A variety of devices, including the Kindle, will generate automatic tweets when a reader has bought, read and reviewed your book. I use a website called Mention.net to capture reader’s and blogger’s tweets about my book. Mention.net allows you to set up keyword searches for your author name, book titles or anything else you want to track. They send you a daily email with all the mentions captured from a variety of sources on the Internet.
By setting up my name as a keyword search at Mention.net, I am able to find a variety of readers and bloggers who are tweeting about my books and to start conversations with them.
Below is an example of a tweet a reader sent out when she finished one of my freelance writing books. Mention.net sent me an alert.
Spot Who Retweets Your Content
Twitter notifies you when people retweet your content so it’s easy to say thanks and start a conversation. But what about the people who tweet out content directly from your blog? As you can see from the photo, Twitter user @BeABestseller tweeted a post from my blog. It doesn’t mention my name or blog so how did I know she did it? If you set up a search column on Hootsuite using the domain of your blog, you are able to track who is tweeting out your content. It doesn’t matter if the link they tweet out is shortened by Bitly, Owly or another service like Buffer, the link behind it is still the original domain and the Hootsuite search column will pick that up.
Connect With Those Who Share Your Content
Readers of your blog are likely readers of your books and the fact that they’re willing to share your content with their audience makes them a valuable person to connect with. A joint venture or audience share situation can be so helpful when you’re a new author. It only takes a minute to set up this search column.
If you don’t use Hootsuite or you just want to quickly see who is tweeting out your blog content, use Twitter’s search box for the same thing. Below you can see some of the people tweeting out content recently from the ALLi Blog.
These are just a few ways that you can use social search to find, follow and converse with your blog readers and book readers on social media. Twitter is especially helpful because on this social network you are encouraged to find, follow and start conversations with people you don’t know. By setting up search columns on Hootsuite and signing up with Mention.net you have the opportunity to make social media work for you.