Okay, I bought an indie graphic novel earlier this year and followed its official Twitter account. Soon after, I unfollowed the Twitter account, but not because the graphic novel was awful – far from it – but because the Twitter account for it was a frustrating example of bad marketing via social media.
If you’ve put hundreds of hours, sweat, tears, blood and your own money into something like a graphic novel then you should probably do your best to promote it in a way that is not off putting to potential readers or even reviewers who might be interested in your creation. And the best practice for promoting your brand/product/self on Twitter isn’t very complicated. At the end of the day what you want to be avoiding is this:
Look at that. Over the course of a twenty-four hour period, this account for a graphic novel has sent out five Tweets that are about the graphic novel and not once has it talked to or about anyone or anything else. This is not how you use Twitter, let alone even Facebook, to market your comic/graphic novel.
It makes you look interested in only selling your shit, like you’ve ignored the whole part of being social on social media. That is why you do not do this Twitter thing. If someone follows your Twitter account and they don’t follow many others, then they’re not going to be happy seeing several of these kinds of Tweets popping up in their Twitter feed over the course of a day. They’ll soon unfollow you and if they haven’t bought into your thing yet – they’re even less likely to due to negative associations with what it represents.
How you should show off your awesome comic or graphic novel on Twitter (and G+, Facebook…)
There are a few varied ways that you can go about this, but did you see that word “varied” ? Yeah that’s the most important thing – you need to bring variety into your social media posts.
1. Stop 90% of the time posting about “you”
You meaning your product/brand. The balance should be maybe one or two posts a day about you that account for the usage times of your ideal audience/customers.
2. Talk to other, relevant, Twitter users
Follow them, add them to lists, use Twitter search – if they talk about something related to your thing/brand/you (but is on brand) reply to it with your two cents and/or retweet it, but don’t push your comic/graphic novel down their throat while doing this.
3. When posting about your comic/graphic novel, mention reviews or at least give people a bit info other than its genre
Telling me its horror/fantasy/SF is not enough to go on, and still don’t post about it that much! Hell – post pictures of panels or the cover – Twitter isn’t just words.
4. Post about articles that are relevant to your comic/graphic novel
Saw an article online somewhere that’s related to your shizzle (could be about the genre/another creator)? Link to it in a post on Twitter, include “by @[Twitter user name]” if the site/author has a Twitter account – and add two cents if there’s space.
5. Do not abuse questions
I see far too many social media accounts for not just comics/graphic novel accounts but other consumer items, asking questions of their followers that have no relevancy to what they are as a brand. It makes you look stupid and pining for attention. If you’re going to ask questions, ask ones that are meaningful to brand and audience e.g. “Who’s the greater master of horror – Lovecraft or King?”
6. Be careful with hashtags
Using #hashtags for every #other word (often #nouns) just doesn’t endear #people to your #comic/graphic novel. Use them sparingly.
7. Have a Twitter bio that actually describes what the comic/graphic novel is about
“[Title] comic/graphic novel is [tagline]”. I don’t want to have to navigate away from Twitter to find out what this thing is, I’m on my 3G connection and about to enter a train tunnel. But do link to a web page that describes it greater detail for when I’m not about to go into a tunnel.
8. Beware Follow Fridays/#FF
Some people hate these posts, but if you are going to do them – don’t just do long lists of names. Either include one Twitter account at a time and say why they should be followed or group a few similar ones together and say why follow or who they are e.g. #FF @[writer] @[artist] of [the graphic novel].
9. I’m running a Kickstarter campaign and I want you to donate to it!
You may have some leeway on 1. but don’t abuse it and if you want people to Tweet about your campaign – ask them in private! Don’t ask them publicly with an @. Either direct message them, which Twitter made easier recently or send them a short and polite email with the request.
10. If you don’t have time to organise yourself for any of the above even for ten to fitfteen minutes every day…
Then you probably shouldn’t be using Twitter as a way to plug your comic/graphic novel. And if your audience isn’t using Twitter then you should’t be promoting on there.
If you’re someone who’s been abusing Twitter for your comic/graphic novel or you do want to get into using it for promotion, then I suggest using Hootsuite and Buffer to help you get organised in posting regularly to Twitter. If you want some more basic, but also in-depth, advice: check out this blog post from Kissmetrics.
And if you’re someone behind the graphic novel I’ve used as my example and you’d like to talk over your tactics for Twitter more – you can find contact details here.