SOCIAL STATE the Book
- Chapter 1 – The Social Universe: Life and Technology in Perpetual Beta
- Chapter 2 – Facebook: Now Connecting Over 1 Billion People
- Chapter 3 – Instagram: The New American Dream
- Chapter 4 – Twitter: The MMS of the Internet
- Chapter 5 – Google+: The Little Social Engine that Could
- Chapter 6 – LinkedIn: A Network Building the Economic Graph
- Chapter 7 – Pinterest: The World’s Visually Social Pinboard
- Chapter 8 – Tumblr: Part Blogging Platform, Part Meme Machine
- Chapter 9 – The Social Long Tail: Startup Hype and the Search for the Next Blank
- Chapter 10 – Social Media Election: How Obama Won the Presidency, Again
- Chapter 11 – Virality: YouTubers, Hot Pockets and Klout Scores
- Chapter 12 – Trust No One: Skepticism, Privacy and Trauma in an Age of Openness
- Chapter 13 – Social Advertising: How Social Media Gets Paid
- Chapter 14 – The New Customer Journey: Empowered Consumers and Advocacy
- Chapter 15 – Social Storyteller: A New Kind of Marketer
- Chapter 16 – The 3 C’s of Social Media Marketing: Easier Said Than Done
- Chapter 17 – Social Business: From Buzzword to Reality
- Chapter 18 – Social Good: Changing the World One Tweet at a Time
- Afterword – Trends and Predictions: Re-Imagining Social Media
To Tweet Or Not To Tweet
How to Use Social Media to Market Your Book
To tweet, or not to tweet – for many authors that is the big question. In the aftermath of Facebook’s IPO failure, the effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool has been hotly contested by everyone from marketing experts to individual authors hoping to promote their books. While some authors swear by social media marketing as a cost-effective method to advertise their newest book, others are writing it off as a waste of time. Speaking from personal experience with sites like Twitter and Facebook, these authors argue that the time and effort invested in building an online platform are not worth the meager results that usually follow. And yet the success stories continue coming, as do the statistics affirming the increasing relevance of Facebook as a marketing forum for promoters and consumers.
So what can we expect for the future of social media marketing? In his new eBook Social State: Thoughts, Stats, and Stories about the State of Social Media in 2013, author Esteban Contreras argues that the opportunities provided by social media have only just begun. As the founder of Social Nerdia Consulting and a former Social Media Marketing Manager, Contreras drew on his vast experience with the various networks to compile this informative collection of statistics and facts that offers a highly visual experience of all things social media. Despite the difficulties many authors have experienced in building a productive social media marketing campaign, Social State emphasizes the evolving nature of social media sites and their capacity to act as the ideal forum for a new branch of interactive marketing.
Contreras stresses the importance of exploring this vast potential of social media, saying “While I am incredibly biased in my thinking that social media is transforming business, I wholeheartedly believe that this is the case, and I’ve been able to see some of that transformation from the inside out. From customer service and reputation management, to marketing, advertising, and HR, I have seen social media’s impact first-hand. I have seen its ability to move the needle for large and small companies alike.”
For authors, Contreras emphasizes the importance of embracing both traditional forms of public relations as well as the new landscape of marketing opening through social media. Social media allows authors a forum in which they can promote their books on a far more intimate level then traditional marketing can provide; the sites not only offer high exposure but also the chance to interact with potential readers personally. While social media users may automatically ignore a blatant advertisement for a book on their newsfeed, authors who capitalize on the conversational structure of the sites can tap the serious marketing potential of social media – its capacity to generate interest in a book through discussion. While doing so on numerous social platforms provides the most leverage for an author, Contreras lists Facebook and Twitter as two of the most important platforms an author should focus on.
Genuine interaction – Research from NM Incite indicates that obvious self-promotion can lead to more de-friending than effective promotion, while the advertising panels available for purchase around the page often get ignored. It is important to genuinely interact with Facebook users to promote your book, and this can be done in a variety of ways. Contributing to conversations as an individual and not an ad will allow you to establish connections with other users, who then will be more likely to look twice at the book you are promoting.
Widening your circle with friends and groups – Targeting people who have already expressed interest in your literary genre is far more beneficial than requesting everyone and anyone to be your friend. You can find interested groups by simply searching keywords, as well as by liking pages that correspond to your themes and then following Facebook's suggestions for more pages and groups.
Creating your own events/pages – Facebook’s events and pages can serve as the perfect forum to build up a conversation and generate interest in your book, so utilize them and invite people you think would be interested.
Building a following – While it will take time, building a Twitter following will allow you to reach a great deal of people who are actually interested in literature and publishing. The best way to go about this is to follow people and groups related to publishing or your book genre, and then engaging those users in conversation. Make yourself easy to find by adding your name to the Directory as an Author of Literature at http://wefollow.com/.
Productive Tweeting – As with Facebook, it is all about forming relationships through genuine interactions with other users. Make sure to tweet at people or companies you think could reach readers potentially interested in your work. Respond to their tweets and engage in conversation before bringing your book to their attention. Don't be too blatant about self-promotion, and make sure to contribute more than just advertisements!
Although you may find yourself spending more time on one site than the other, Contreras believes it is best to utilize multiple social media sites. Each one offers something unique that could be beneficial for marketing your book, so striking a balance between several will allow you to capitalize on the strengths each site offers. If you would like to learn more about the future of social media marketing, visit http://socialnerdia.squarespace.com/about/.
Don’t Forget Blogs…
While Facebook and Twitter are valuable as marketing outlets individually, they can be even more effective if you balance your time between several social media sites – particularly blogs. Blogs offer many ways of connecting with different groups of people, as the blogger can build up a loyal following interested in his or her opinions and writing. As an author, creating and maintaining your own blog can expose new readers to your writing and potentially build a group interested in your publications. Your blog can serve as a showcase for your writing, which for some authors has even led to book deals. Blogs also offer another great method of promotion – many authors use them to go on virtual book tours, a way of traveling the blog circuit to hit various groups interested in new books. Check back next month for a more in-depth look at how best to use blogs to market your book.
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Lauren White is currently a senior at the University of Michigan graduating with a degree in History and English in May. She hopes to continue her education in graduate school in the near future. Please email her at larenee [at] umich.edu with any questions and comments.