Twitter, Facebook, Good Reads and More
When and where should authors use social media? I recently read a blog post about how businesses are using social media. Here, I go through these 10 purposes and muse about how authors might use social media for the same reasons.
- Win Real Fans.
For children’s book authors, gaining thousands of fans seems to work best with teen audiences, not middle grade or picture book audiences. But if you concentrate on educators, you might have a chance to gain real fans. Perhaps this is also easier for a publisher’s fan page, because there are a variety of books, not just a couple like on an author’s page. Still, it’s a real goal and one you might want to concentrate on.
- New Way of Thinking for a Direct Response Pro
This comes from a business person who is used to doing direct mailings and social media moved him into a different way of communicating with his audience. This advice is to basically re-purpose your communication to fit a variety of media. Certainly, authors can write blogs, speeches, twitter posts, fan pages and re-use ideas and copy. I’m also paying attention to links that I add to a posting. For example, the post about my new book, Prairie Storms, included links to the publisher’s submission information and information on the publisher’s grant programs for schools. When I posted on mailing lists that the article was up on my site, I emphasized the different links for the different audiences. Think about how communication can be used in a variety of ways.
- Long-term relationships versus short-term profits
This is an easy one for authors. We want long-term relationships with people who are interested in the stories we write, the passions that fill our days and our books. Those relationships may result in sales; but we also care about deep conversations about our passions, speaking engagements, connecting with kids, learning more about our craft and so on. Relationships – YOU – are important to me!
- Virtual Tupperware Party
This was an interesting idea, that you could develop a group of people who would support your efforts. For the business, it meant the “tupperware salesman” would get special discounts, products, etc. which they could share with friends at specified times. “. . .they could simply become discount agents for their friends. Somebody who all their friends know can get good deals on specific products or services.” Not sure how an author could replicate this; but a publisher might be able to.
- A Straightforward Sale
Yes. An article or post or twitter or fan page – any of these might result in a straightforward sale. Online, you have three choices: sell from your site, links to your books that take a customer to an online bookstore, or links that point customers to local bookstores. Choose one and make sure you always implement it.
- Find Out What Your Customers Want
Again, for children’s book authors, it’s hard to use social media to find out what tweens and below want because they either aren’t online, or because their privacy must be strictly kept. For teens, educators, librarians and the general reading public, it might be easier. For example, I’m currently running a poll about what you might like to see in a book about book trailers. Take the one-minute poll.
- Track Lead Generation
Keep track of where your sales came from. This isn’t so straightforward for writers and authors, but I keep track of my speaking engagements this way, to see where the invitations come from. And social media has figured into it recently. Certainly, website traffic is easy to track and Twitter has increased my page views this year. Programs like HootSuite.com for Twitter allow you to even track specific links to see how many times someone follows a link to a particular posting.
- Present Real Value
This business person is emphasizing the need for real value in what you represent or sell. It downplays the importance of slick communication in favor or filling a need. This is actually encouraging for authors who don’t want to do lots of social media tasks. Instead, concentrate on writing the best novel or story or nonfiction book you can.
- Lead Generation
This business person is talking about directly enticing customers with giveaways, contests, sample chapters, etc. We’ve all see this work to some extent. In fact, Twitter seems to be a good way to announce these promotional efforts.
- Social Media is About Awareness, not Revenue
This business perspective says that the most important task of social media is name recognition, reputation, brand awareness. Certainly, an online presence can raise awareness of you and your work. This type of benefit is hard to measure, of course.
What is the purpose of your social media efforts? Something not listed here? Or a combination of these?