Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Indie Tuesday—The Power of Live-Tweeting

by Jessica Keller @AuthorKeller

To date live-tweeting for fun has proved to be my most effective marketing tool. Even though I never meant for it to be and don’t discuss my book. The power of live-tweeting is that it helps build a following of people who feel connected to you because you enjoy the same things. It’s a logical leap that they’ll enjoy your books as well.

When I joined Twitter I started live-tweeting without knowing that it was a “thing” and watched my following mushroom. Then my book released and my Twitter followers bought Saving Yesterday. They sent me private messages saying they were reading, wrote reviews and tweeted about my book. When I released the link for my newsletter more than half of the people that signed up were Twitter followers.

Above is an example from Charity Tinnin. Charity gained followers and views on her debut week from this tweet plus someone overseas bought her book based on this tweet alone.
This tweet was shared 106 times meaning my name went out to thousands of accounts. Insane.

Guidelines for Successful Live-Tweeting
  • Pick events you already enjoy or ones that will have a similar following to the types of books you write. I live-tweet Once Upon A Time and When Calls the Heart. It happened by accident that the two shows I love were good fits to find people who will love the two types of books I write. Then again, we often like the type of things we write.
  • Warn your followers in advance. Some people on your feed might be upset by spoilers. Also, these sort of posts often up your interaction because people who might not have live-tweeted the show will see the post and decide to join you.

  • Use appropriate hashtags. Do your homework ahead of time (search recent analytics for free using the upper right hand box on hashtags.org) and figure out what the popular hashtags are for that show. Use those tags on every post. This helps people follow the conversation. Proper hashtags can double your engagement on Twitter. When I first started live-tweeting When Calls the Heart I was using #WhenCallsTheHeart and not getting much interaction. Then I learned that everyone tweeted under #Hearties. When I switched to that I met all sorts of new friends.
  • Play nice. Twitter should be a conversation—not just you talking to yourself. Search hashtags and engage with others. Respond immediately to replies. Retweet. Retweet. Retweet.
  • Be positive. Twitter isn’t the place to be critical. If you don’t like the writing/acting of a show then don’t live-tweet it. Sure, you may get some interactions but only with people who are online looking for something to criticize. Are those the type of people you want reading your future books?
  • Keep your personality consistent. Don’t suddenly break out a can of sass when you’re live-tweeting if that’s never been used in your everyday posts.
  • This is a discussion. Not a sale. The second you start to view live-tweeting as marketing stop doing it. People are live-tweeting because they want genuine connections.
  • Don’t over tweet. Twitter allows a maximum of 100 tweets/hour and 1000 tweets/day. It will block you if you do more. And no one wants that.
Have you ever live-tweeted? If so, what have you found works and doesn’t work? What fears do you have about live-tweeting? In your opinion, what works and doesn’t work for promoting on Twitter?
Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Romance and has 100+ magazine and newspaper articles to her name. Her latest release is a Young Adult Fantasy - Saving Yesterday. You can find her at www.JessicaKellerBooks.com, on Twitter @AuthorKeller, on Tumblr, or on her Facebook Author Page. She lives in the Chicagoland suburbs with her amazing husband, beautiful daughter, and two annoyingly outgoing cats that happen to be named after superheroes.


  1. Great post, Jessica! One of my writer friends live-tweets on the Vikings show with a friend, and then they do a wrap-up overview post on her blog the next day. I love referring people over there who ask me about episodes (I always have to watch a day or two later since I don't have cable). I think it's a lot of fun and promotes your fave shows, as well as you personally as author.

    1. I LOVE when people blog the next day. I often go over to Tumblr and reblog a ton of stuff and post longer reactions there right after live-tweeting. Its so much fun and I love that I can build an audience doing something I already enjoy.

  2. Because I write (and love) YA and spec fic, I live-tweet Once Upon A Time, Agents of SHIELD, and The Vampire Diaries. That RT (retweet) from Chris Gorham pretty much made my month as a fan. Having new people follow me and buy my book because of it was "icing on the cake."

    And when you're thinking about time sensitive tweeting, you might also want to follow what's trending. For example, this is I Read YA week on Twitter. People are tweeting YA book recommendations and what they are reading with the #IreadYA tag. Since I read and write YA, I am tweeting my book recommendations, my current reads, my wishlist, etc. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, my interactions are multiplying, and I've garnered new readers this week -- without promoting Haunted once.

    1. On of my favorite examples of live-tweeting successfully is actor William Shatner. He live tweets many (if not all anymore) sci-fi and fantasy shows (if you want to see someone live-tweet well go to his feed and see what he does). When he was asked why he live-tweets he said he believes in doing whatever he can to support the genre of sci-fi/fantasy. Which is awesome. Live-tweeting helps us support and connect with others who love the genres we write in.

      Here's an article about Shatner's tweeting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/04/08/william-shatner-has-been-live-tweeting-tv-shows-on-the-cw-we-asked-him-why-and-his-response-is-delightful/

    2. hmmm...the Shatner link didn't populate, but if interested, cute and past it into your search browser to read the article.

  3. This sounds interesting, Jessica! So, as a semi-literate Twitter person, what exactly is live-tweeting? You share some great tips here. I look forward to learning more. :)

    1. I was thinking the same thing, Jeanne.

    2. The original post I wrote for this week was close to 2,000 words long and I had to cut it to close to 500 - there is SO much information for live-tweeting that I want to share. If we get enough questions Charity and I will do another post about it.

      As to what is live-tweeting here's the unofficial dictionary definition :Live-tweet (v.): to engage on Twitter for a continuous period of time – anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours – with a sequence of focused Tweets. The focus can be a big live event that everybody's paying attention to (e.g. a TV show or an award show) or it can be an event you create yourself (e.g. a Q&A session with your fans).

      The main point being that you're tweeting as something is happening (not afterwards, not your reaction the next day - but as something is occuring). So like when I watch When Calls the Heart - I turn on my computer and have my laptop on my lap for the entire episode and "talk" to others who are watching through Twitter as if they were sitting in my living room watching the show with me. It's a way to engage with others in real time (GREAT for introverts).

    3. More live-tweet information:

      1) When you live-tweet there is a guaranteed, built in audience to connect with. Whereas your everyday posts might go without being responded to, live-tweets usually always garner interactions (which is the whole point of Twitter).

      2) I forgot to talk about mentions (that’s when you use the @ sign instead of the #). Mention the people or organization (so for Once Upon A Time I use @ABCOnce). These people/places/organizations involved with events have a bigger following and they will often retweet you. This means you’ll get a far better reach then you could do with hashtags alone.

      3) Let your other social media accounts know you’re live-tweeting – I often put a reminder on FB so people can hop over to Twitter and join me if they want. Moreover, when I’m done live-tweeting I often jump onto my Tumblr account and blog about the event and I let my Twitter feed know that I’m headed there.

      4) None of the live-tweeting information translates to Facebook. If you live-Facebook and event people will get annoyed. Usually a post or two an hour is that is appropriate on FB. Save excitement pre-event and reaction post event for FB if you want to post there. I usually post on FB the NEXT DAY with fan videos and discuss the show in the comments with follow fans.

  4. Jess, Great point (in your comment)about live tweeting being fun for introverts. I've only dabbled in live tweeting, but I enjoy it very much. It gives a focus to the conversation so it's very different than just trying to make small talk. (Different in a GOOD way!)

    1. Focus to the conversation - exactly! It makes making connections so much easier.

  5. Love these ideas. I write romantic suspense, so I'll have to consider this when NCIS, NCIS LA, and Castle return in the fall. Could this be my answer to the dilemma of whether or not spending 2 hours glued to my TV on Tuesday nights is a worthwhile use of my writing time? :-)

  6. Castle has a HUGE live-tweet audience. And I always say if I'm live-tweeting then it's not a waste of time. And secretly I use it as a trump card to win the TV wars at home! "Sorry. I need to watch this show. I live-tweet it." Wins every time. :)