Five Social Media Marketing Tips for Authors

Gonna drop some random internet marketing knowledge on you now.

Here’s the TL;DR – will break each of these tips down below:

  1. Social Media is for people to find you, not for you to attract readers
  2. Set up a daily Google Alert for a broad but relevant keyword
  3. Use scheduling tools with care and intention
  4. Set aside two 5-minute segments per day to interact actively
  5. Set your blog posts up for success

stop sign  taken by AK Anderson Jan 2015

Social Media is for people to find you, not for you to attract readers

If I can teach car salesmen to stop trying to sell stuff on Social Media, I can teach you.

Nobody goes to social media to buy things or to find things to buy. Sorry. But it’s the truth. They go to meet people. To connect with other human beings.   And they connect with other human beings differently from one platform to the next.

  • Twitter
    • analogy – networking happy hour after a conference
    • exposure – 75-90% people who know you, 10-25% new audience potential
    • Content
      • Personal randomness – good
      • Sneak Peeks & Extras – good
      • Curiosity Links – good
      • Images – good
      • Videos – so-so
      • Animated GIFs – so-so
      • Sales Links – very low
    • Summary – Good for connecting with existing fans and attracting new ones, but can be easily misused.
  • Facebook
    • analogy – class reunion / family reunion
    • exposure – >95% people who know you, <5% new audience potential
    • Content
      • Personal randomness – VERY good
      • Sneak Peeks & Extras – VERY good
      • Curiosity Links – so-so
      • Images – good
      • Videos – good
      • Animated GIFs – bad
      • Sales Links -initial boost from die-hard fans and friends, but not after first release
    • Summary – Best for giving sneak peeks to your best fans. These are your evangelists. The people who come to book signings. Treat them like the specialness they are.
  • Pinterest
    • analogy – Scrapbooking swap meet + Catalog
    • exposure – 75-90% people who know you, 10-25% new audience potential
    • Content
      • Personal randomness – VERY good if organized on the right board
      • Sneak Peeks & Extras – bad
      • Curiosity Links – VERY good if organized on the right board
      • Images – EXCELLENT
      • Videos – so-so
      • Animated GIFs -so-so
      • Sales Links – bad unless you are posting craft items on etsy
    • Summary – Best for using the images in your blog posts (see below) to drive new folks to visit your blog. Can randomly attract new folks, but don’t count on their interest going beyond Pinterest.
  • Ello 
    • analogy – exclusive club
    • exposure – 75-90% people who know you, 10-25% new audience potential
    • Content
      • Personal randomness – so-so
      • Sneak Peeks & Extras – bad – this is an anti-sales place
      • Curiosity Links – so-so
      • Images – Very good
      • Videos – so-so
      • Animated GIFs -so-so
      • Sales Links – DO NOT DO THAT
    • Summary – IMHO not worth the time and effort. There’s a possibility of meeting new folks and converting them over to other platforms, but it’s minimal.
  • Goodreads
    • analogy – book club
    • exposure – 50% people who know you, 50% new audience potential
    • Content
      • Personal randomness – n/a
      • Sneak Peeks & Extras – bad – no one reads those notifications
      • Curiosity Links – n/a
      • Images – n/a
      • Videos – n/a
      • Animated GIFs – n/a
      • Sales Links – bad – no one reads those notifications
    • Summary – This is not for authors to engage with readers. This is for readers to engage with readers. If you’re a writer, you should be a reader. Set up your author page so folks can find you, then leave anything else about you and your books alone.  Then, gather friends, etc, by reviewing the books that you like and read as a reader.

Set up a daily Google Alert for a broad but relevant keyword

The way to build a community on social networks is to share valuable content.  Ideally, you’ll be among the first to share amazing content that would interest your readership and potential readership.

How to get ahead of the curve? Google Alerts.

Determine a keyword that will speak to the same people who might like your book.  Set up a daily Google Alert for that keyword.   Then you’ll get an email with new stuff to share every day, often before anyone else has seen it.  This makes you a trend-setter, and someone valuable to follow. It also shows that you share cool stuff that is not all about you, which also makes you valuable to follow.

Use scheduling tools with care and intention

I don’t mind schedulers.  I do mind spammers.

  • Find out when your audience is most active, and schedule your best stuff for then. I’ve used Tweriod with great results in the past)
  • Don’t schedule repeat posts.
  • One in every 25-50 of your scheduled posts should be an amazon link. Max.
  • One in every 75-100 posts should let folks know about your presence on other social networks.
  • Mix it up. Use the scheduler to include more images in your feed, more links to other sites. Stuff that’s not self-promotion.
  • Do not. I REPEAT DO NOT. schedule an auto-DM reply to new followers. Don’t.

What this will do is somewhat passively tighten up your overall profile. People like to glance at the images folder. They also like to see what kind of stuff you’re posting regularly. If it’s all self-promotion, most folks won’t follow or followback.

Set aside two 5-minute segments per day to interact actively

Even if you “don’t have time” to tweet, outsource your stuff to an intern / assistant, or use a scheduler all day every day, set aside two five-minute time periods each day to get on to social media and interact with people.

Don’t think you can do much on Twitter in 5 mins? Think again

  • Minute 1 – check DMs and @ replies to see if there is anything that requires an immediate response.  Reply, star and Retweet.  You only have to do the top 20-30 or so of these if you get hundreds. People understand
  • Minute 2 – Check out your new followers and see if any of them should be added to lists or followed back, or if they should get a “hey, thanks for following! I mostly tweet random stuff!” kind of tweet.
  • Minute 3 – Go to the List that you’ve made of the people you think add the most value, are the most important to you, have the most interesting things to say.  Try to star at least 5-10 tweets and retweet 3-5 of them.  Signal boost. add value
  • Minute 4 – Go to your unfiltered time line and do the same thing. Try to star 2-3 of them, retweet 1-2.
  • Minute 5 – Check any hashtags you love, and add or remove people from lists to make step 3 better next time.

Done. Do that twice a day, and you will show that you’re an active, responsive member of the community. That you’re not a robot or an assistant.

Set your blog posts up for success

If you blog (and I dare say you should) then your blog habits can also feed your social presence.

  • Use that scheduler to post blog posts at the peak time of activity
  • Try to include relevant high-res images in your posts (and ones that  are original are way better than using stock photos or creative commons stuff – but something is better than nothing) – this is good for Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.
  • make sure your blog is mobile optimized
  • make sure your blog has social sharing enabled.
  • Reply to comments
  • Cross-promote and cross-pollinate your posts across networks to attract folks across various platforms.

Do you have any questions? Did you find this helpful? Give me a shout in the comments if you want me to elaborate on any of this!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Five Social Media Marketing Tips for Authors

  1. AK, this is a SUPER-helpful post! Great stuff! As a Luddite living in a cave under a rock with a weak cell-phone signal, I’d love to know more about scheduling tools & about what exactly falls under the subcategories of “Personal Randomness,” “Sneak Peeks & Extras,” etc. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    • Bufferapp is my favorite scheduling tool. It’s free, scales to both Twitter and FB, tracks how many people the stuff reaches and how many clicks links get. And you can customize the spread of when things get sent out based on activity time (I use tweriod to figure those out)

      “Personal Randomness” includes lunch pix, major life events, random photos of self doing silly things, observations on life in general, and playing clever hashtag games. 🙂

      “Sneak Peeks & Extras” would be free short stories, free sample chapters, give-aways, early heads up about signings when you get to sell out signings (DREAM BIG)

    • Agreed that authors are readers (or at least they should be) I will offer a word of caution about attracting author-only peer groups though. Sure, they retweet your stuff, but it is only to more authors (and imagine a repeating fractal there). And you’re bombarded with sales links because that’s all everyone does. I avoid the ASMG posts like the plague for this reason. It’s an authorial circle-jerk without any connection.

      Ahhhhhh Google +. Don’t let the Google user stats fool you. They count the people they forced to log in on YouTube and Gmail as “active users”. It’s a ghost town populated by rogue cowboy internet marketers, people fed up with Facebook’s privacy settings, and hopeful authors/artists/musicians.

      Here’s my read out on G+
      analogy – The nerdy club you join because it has ONE FANTASTIC PERK. (For me this was the Model UN which included a trip to NYC and a tour of the United Nations. Worth being pegged a nerd)
      exposure – About 75% people who already know you and 25% new folks unless you are super active on the platform. The problem is that very few people are super active on the platform, so that time might not be well-spent
      Content-
      Personal randomness – okay, but you might only get 1-2 views and 1-2 comments.
      Sneak Peeks & Extras – a good enticement to new people
      Curiosity Links – good, especially if you follow people related to the links
      Images – Good, but be careful with privacy settings
      Videos – Same as Images
      Animated GIFs – good-ish – it’s hard to find shared ones, but will let you share
      Sales Links – A lot like facebook – initial boost from people who interact with you, then nada.
      FANTASTIC BONUS – “Hangouts” – This is a neat function that differentiates G+ like a form of selectively-public skype. You can record it, use it for chats, Q&As and readings – AND record the session for later sharing. the hangout is awesome.
      FAKE BONUS – people will tell you that G+ boosts SEO rankings. My tests show nothing conclusive of this sort. What does happen is that people who follow you already will see your relevant posts if they search a topic you’ve said something about.
      Summary – All of my traffic stats tell me G+ is a a graveyard. That includes at the office (huge content website) and here at home. I’ve got like 2 friends who are anti-Facebook, and one family member who selectively shares photos via her android phone. If you like hanging out on Google Plus? Go for it. If you don’t? Don’t bother.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s