Saturday, July 13, 2013

Indie Author Series: Social Media: What Works

Living in a digital world makes social media one of the most important aspects of marketing, and connecting with readers, bloggers, and other authors. Some social media seems to work better than others, and even those vary from author to author in effectiveness. All I can do is tell you what works for me and what doesn’t work as well. If you go to the other sites listed below, other authors in the Indie Author Series will have their own posts with their own ideas.

Blog: The importance of having a blog can’t be emphasized enough. Why? Because if you want people to follow your blog, and therefore follow you, you’ve gotta have an active blog. Active means you’re posting on it a minimum of three times a week. I’ve gone to blogs before where it’s been weeks, or even months since a post was written. Makes the blog feel abandoned, kind of like a ghost town, and I don’t have any desire to return to that blog anytime soon. If you’re going to be out of town, preschedule blog posts to go up automatically in your absence. Blog about your books and your writing, of course, but also blog about other books, about personal (though not intimately personal) things, movies you like, about your last vacation, about things happening in your life. That’s what your readers want to read.

Facebook: I think this is one of the most overlooked pieces of free marketing out there. Millions of people are on Facebook each day, and if you can build a good followership, it’s a really great way to keep your name, face, and books out there in front of people. Don’t constantly write about your books, or people will begin to avoid you. Talk about other things as well. Read and comment on others’ posts. DON’T spam your book. That’s the fastest way to get yourself un-friended and/or blocked by people. It’s really bad form to comment on someone else’s posts for no reason other than to pimp your book. Unless they’ve specifically asked you to talk about or post about your book, then don’t, other than on your own wall.

Twitter: Twitter is confusing to a lot of people. It’s not that difficult once you grasp the idea that it’s simply like posting on Facebook, only you’re bound by 140 characters per post. Follow the basic etiquette on Twitter as you would on Facebook (no spamming). The biggest difference is that on Twitter you’ll be posting several times a day vs. the once or twice a day you’ll post on Facebook (I mean original post, not commenting). Also, if someone mentions you in a Tweet, you should re-Tweet their post. They’ll appreciate it, and it’s an acceptable way of spamming.

Goodreads: This is where authors, readers, and bloggers intermingle the most. It’s a site dedicated to books and reading. Be active on GR, join groups and then play the games others start, join in writing games they’ll have, review others’ books, put books you’ve read or plan to read on your bookshelf. This is where you’ll meet bloggers who may help you when you publish a book by either being willing to review your book, or being part of your blog tour. Become familiar to potential readers. Spamming rules apply here the same as anywhere: DON’T do it!

Other Social Media Marketing: Joins sites such as Pinterest, Shelfari, Library Thing, LinkedIn, etc., in order to broaden your reach. We live in an electronic world, and that’s how you’re going to sell your book—by getting word of it out into the world. These sites are all free to join. Just be careful to not overextend yourself—only join as many sites as you can reasonably keep up with.

Bottom line is to discover what works for you. Don’t overextend yourself so that you’re barely keeping up with the sites you join. Find what works and then commit to it. And you can link many of the sites together so that when you write a blog post, for example, it automatically goes to Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you have a presence.




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