So, now I have my website and mailing list set up, what’s next?
Social media is the most controversial part of book marketing. Some people claim you have to have massive numbers on all the most popular platforms to be successful. Others say they aren’t worth your time. There’s a lot of information, most of which is not backed by statistics. When it comes to marketing, pay attention to as many statistics as you can. If they aren’t backing up their claims with numbers, there is no way to prove that their method wasn’t just a fluke.
Social Media is an Outreach, not a Sales Funnel
One thing most sources agree with: sales do not come from social media, or if they do, it’s a very, very small percentage. This may be why so many people I have read suggest having massive followings, to try and increase that tiny percentage of sales.
Really, the strength of social media is the engagement. That’s a word you will see associated with all kinds of social media. That’s what it’s for. My goal on my social media is not “Hey, buy my books!” Instead, it’s “Hey, I like these things, and hey you like the same things, let’s share these things, and oh hey I have a book.” See the difference?
The goal of my social media is to build a community or connect myself to a community. Most of the followers I have, especially on Twitter, are other writers. My Facebook is a hodgepodge of different communities and old friends. I use them to stay in touch with people that like the same things I do. Are there people there that might want to buy my books? Probably, but they aren’t on those places looking for things to buy. They are looking to connect to people.
So, am I not asking them to buy my book?
Not exactly. I am announcing when my books are available. But mostly I’m just sharing what I like. Bits about mythology, about art, about geeky shows that I’m enjoying, that’s what’s going up on my social media. I’m also trying to share tips about writing and art and give away things for free.
My goal is to be an engaging part of the community. So when people see that I have a book out, or happen to run across my name when they are shopping for books, they will be much more likely to buy mine. It also might draw them in to my mailing list, which is where you want to try to sell. That’s the people that are more loyal to you and have given you permission to ask for things.
I’m trying to choose the social media I like best. Building up an engaging community takes time and if I don’t like the platform you I won’t invest the time it takes to build up a following. I thought it would be Twitter, and that has given me a good writing community, but I think it may be Instagram, which I think has more readers and consumers on it.
Breaking it Down – Tips for different platforms
Facebook – So I created an author page. And then Facebook blocked my website. I’m not sure if someone actually reported my posts as abusive, or if I was blocked because they recently did a blanket block of websites because people were taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic. I need to work to get this unblocked. But still, it has been growing slowly as I’ve posted other things. I’ve found posted to the page and then sharing it to your main Facebook profile is a good way to draw people there. Also videos, but more on that next post.
Twitter – Such a great writing community! If you want to be able to connect to fellow writers, this is the way to go. Take part in follow sprees – basically chain posts that tag other writers, and encourage people to follow them. Follow those people, share you favorites, and watch your followers grow. I like Twitter for the conversations with writers. I have so far managed to avoid a lot of the toxic stuff that can go on there, but if you are more political in your chat, it may find you.
Instagram – This one took me a while to figure out. But it’s really not that different than Twitter. I just had to stop only looking at the pretty pictures and actually read the captions. This one is fun if you like taking pictures, which I didn’t used to but it’s growing on me. Plus most websites incorporate your Instagram feed, and it helps add visual interest and constant change to your site. I also think this has the best discoverability of all the platforms, as people tend to follow whole hashtags. I’m working on upping my hashtag game to see if I can gain more followers that way.
Pinterest – This one is more useful if you like to blog or are already enjoying Pinterest. It can draw a lot of attention to your website, since the search engine in their system is amazing. So basically I am hoping to take advantage of that search engine and draw people by these Quest posts, and the new project coming up.
What about influencers?
Ah, so here’s the catch. I am not an influencer. I’m just a producer. But I want influencers to like me. This is something I’m going to push once I’m closer to my actual novel release, though I may try to get some to pay attention to the pre-orders going live on the 26th.
These are the people with massive followings. These are the people other people listen to when they make recommendations. These are the people who spend tons of time on their social media platforms so that I don’t have to. They already have huge audiences looking to them to know what to buy, so if I can get them to like me, others will too.
I will address this when I get closer to launch day in October, since it will be part of my push to get on blogs and podcasts and all the other places influencers, um, influence.
Join me next week for the big discussion about how I got people on my mailing list, and other creative ways I thought of to produce regular content without having to remake the wheel each time.
STATS UPDATE (AS OF MAY 18, 2020)
Twitter Followers: 1728 (-4) I’ve been hovering consistently around 1,730
Facebook Author Page: 10 (need to get my website unblocked)
Instagram Followers: 201 (-46) Not sure what happened there. But I have a new project that will hopefully boost this some.
Pinterest Followers: 116 I’m hoping the same project that boosts Instagram will boost this as well.
Mailing List: 259 (+50, yes, and I will tell you what I’m doing next post)
Head to the next post: Mistakes Were Made