Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Social Marketing: The One Thing You Should Never Do
One of the biggest mistakes I see new authors- and some not so new, doing is bombing every group and community on Facebook and Google+ as soon as they have a new book out. It's truly the equivalent of showing up to a party as a casual guest, having a bad attack of gas in the middle of the room, and slipping quietly away before everyone can start pointing fingers. Chances are really high you'll not be invited back. Chances are really high that you'll also get banned from half the rooms you book bomb the first time, and banned from the other half the second time you do it.
Social marketing can work if you use it properly. But it does take more time and effort than bombing, and that seems to be something too many authors aren't willing to give up. You really need to assess your goals. If your plan was to make money- maybe even a living at it, you'll have to take it a bit more serious than throwing flyers to the wind and hope the right people pick one up and actually read it. I assure you, having 100 people pay attention to your posts will be far more effective than 1000 people who roll their eyes in irritation and keep scrolling to find the interesting posts on their timeline.
There is more than one formula to this, but here is a fast, basic one that will get you going in the right direction at least:
If you haven't already (and you probably have), get a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Google+ account, and a Goodreads account. If you don't have 2 1/2 hours to spare 3 times a week on these 4 accounts, just stop here and go back to walking around in the dark. If you can spare the time, keep going.
Twitter: everyone has at least 2 or 3 friends, some have hundreds, but for now, just add the friends you do have. Seriously don't have any friends, or maybe they aren't on Twitter? Move past this step for now, we'll come back to it.
Facebook: Choose 3 groups on Facebook to belong to. I know, there are thousands, how does one choose?! Exercise restraint here or you'll fall back into your old bad habits. You're an author, yes? There is little sense in talking to other authors about your book. You need readers to buy it, and hopefully review it. Don't get me wrong, authors read plenty, and you'll want to join one of these groups, just make sure that 2 of your groups are readers. One group I highly recommend on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/groups/BookReviewDepot/ this is an excellent author group for getting answers to just about any question you can ask about writing, publishing, and marketing. You can also get sales and reviews for your book. Over 1900 members- many with 2 - 7 books to their credit.
Do not, under any circumstance, post your book with the buy link unless you're asked to in the reader groups. Engage people, talk about other books you've read, comment on posts other members make as they speak about books they've read. Offer your advice- as an author, on books they are talking about IF you've read the book. This doesn't require you spending 2 hours in the room. Just make some comments, maybe a post here and there. Let people get to know you. It won't take long at all for people to ask what you've written, and that's your in. That gives you total permission to tell the whole group what you've written. BUT, be careful. Don't take that as an invitation to bomb the room freely. Trust me, it only takes once or twice for everyone to see it and your job is complete here.
Google+: The rules apply here pretty much as they do for Facebook. Don't hesitate to use the same restraint. Friend people that have similar interests as you, and not just about writing. Many will friend you back. Make your posts anecdotal and interesting, or post information you come across on the web that people may find useful, or at the very least humorous. It's the best way to get shared and +1'd. Post about your book once in a while- especially if you are having a free giveaway, or a .99 cent sale.
The author group you'll join on Facebook and Google+ will be where you'll spend more time than the reader groups. It's here that you'll build your network. Many authors have a network of friends, co-workers, family, and just general fans of their work, or of them. Once you follow as many of these as you can on Twitter, your own following will bloom like crazy. But don't just bomb Twitter, either. The more interesting you can make the header of your post, the more likely people are to retweet your tweet.
Goodreads: This one can be a little more involved, but setting up your author page is paramount. Let it sell you. Friend readers and authors on Goodreads and watch your following grow. But just as with the others, make sure you post and comment. Instead of spamming links to your book, make sure your Goodreads author page link is on every post or comment you make. People will be curious and go look.
The bottom line here, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is that you should be selling yourself first. And believe me, that's a whole lot easier than selling your book first. People are simply a lot more receptive to something they are gently led to than shoved in the direction of. If you found this post helpful, please share it with your author friends. Maybe if enough people see it we can significantly cut down on the gas bombs that go off in social rooms all across the web constantly :)