In the days of publishing past, books were largely sold in brick and mortar bookstores at signings hosted by the store and conducted by the author. Multiple book signings combined with media appearances spread out over a two- to three-month period created what was known as a Book Tour.
Then all the rules changed. With the rise of the Internet, people began buying books from large online retailers like Amazon.com, and readers and authors around the world started building relationships with each other—all while in their pajamas at home. Add to this new phenomenon the popularity of self-publishing, and books no longer need to be sold the old-fashioned way. Now much of an author’s marketing plan can be conducted with the power of social media.
But like many authors, you may have found the ever-changing technology of social media too much to bear. How can you make it simple? How can you avoid getting sucked into the Facebook portal only to be seen by your family again about twelve hours later? Of the dozens of social media platforms, on which one do you choose to market your book? Or do you have to be on all of them?
Here’s a simple three-step solution to your social media book marketing woes:
- Complete all your profiles. That’s right, I said complete all of them—all major social media platforms. I recommend you start with the “big four:” Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. You don’t have to spend your time on all of them, just make sure you have a presence at each one.
- Determine where your audience hangs out. Do you write non-fiction management and leadership books? Get involved on LinkedIn. Do you write relationship and mainstream non-fiction, or cult or fantasy fiction? Hang out on Facebook. Do you write books CEOs of major companies should be reading? Start a discussion on Twitter. Is your book a step-by-step how-to book such as a cookbook? Post videos to YouTube. The fact is you need to be on multiple social media platforms, but where you choose to spend the bulk of your marketing time should be determined by where your audience hangs out. Do some research into each social media platform’s target market and only then move on to Step 3.
- Engage! After you’ve determined where your audience spends most of their time, start engaging with them. Join groups targeted to your readers. For example, if you write children’s books, join groups for parents. If you write fantasy fiction, join cult fiction groups. If you write non-fiction business books, hang out in entrepreneur groups. The most important thing to Step 3: Engage! is that you don’t sell. You read that right. Don’t jump into a group and start spamming them with links to your book. People hate being sold to, and spam is already so prevalent on social media it will instantly label you as a desperate author with no sense of etiquette. Follow the group’s established rules and focus on building relationships. It’s not called “sales media,” it’s “social” media. Be social, engage with your audience, show them you’re the go-to expert for their needs, and then wow them with the fact that you’re also a published author.
If you follow these three simple steps over and over again, you’ll begin seeing results. People will start talking about you as the expert in your niche and referring others to read your book—without you even knowing they’re doing it. That is word-of-mouth marketing at its best, and it’s a powerful place for a book to be!
Photo courtesy Shutterstock, Andrey_Popov