In this series of blog posts, I focus on a marketing topic that applies specifically to authors: a list of what NOT to do when launching a new book. For the previous posts in this series, click here.
Rule #3: Turning your social media into one long 'buy my book' frenzy
It's so tempting, when you have a new book on sale (especially if it's your first book) to want to tell everyone you know about it. So you go onto Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, and anywhere else you waste away all that spare time you don't have, and you tell everyone you know that now your book has a cover, and now your book has a pre-order date, and now your book is on sale, and now you have your first review, and now you have your second review, and now you have a 5-line write-up in the local paper, and now you...zzzzzz
By now, all but your closest loved ones have muted you for 30 days and aren't seeing your joyous news anyway. (Fortunately, since Facebook now does this on the down low, your friends can do this to you without hurting your feelings). But it means when you really DO have something exciting to share, they're not going to see it.
Why? Because you turned your social media account into one long 'buy my book' frenzy. "But I wasn't asking them to buy my book!" you might protest. "I was just sharing my news."
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are constantly marketed to, sometimes in very obvious ways, and sometimes in very subtle ways. But we're all becoming a lot more savvy about when we're being marketed to, and your excitement over your new release looks very much like the excited posts marketers use to attract attention to their products. So even if you're not saying "head off to Amazon to buy my book", that's what it will feel like to your friends and family.
So the general rule, is to ensure that you don't post about your book more than once in every four posts. And your other three posts (or tweets) should be about providing value to other people, rather than about you. And that doesn't mean you should post eight times a day, so you can sneak in two 'promotional' posts per day. Ideally, you should only post something about your book once every few days.
Yes, it's hard when you're exited and want everyone you know to share your joy, but here are a few good reasons to make the effort:
It will make you more likable.
It will give potential new readers a chance to get to know the you behind the book.
It will help you focus more effectively on a few promotional posts that will have greater impact.
It will improve your visibility.
Huh? You might be wondering what I mean by that last one.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you are no doubt aware that Facebook has come under a lot of heat lately because of the way it has allowed third parties to manipulate its users. Even before the media (and the US, UK and EU governments) turned up the heat on the them, Facebook made some changes to its algorithms (these are the little robots inside the internet that make things work) to make marketing posts less visible and to encourage posters to create more engaging content.
Imagine yourself as a regular social media user with nothing to sell. Why would you go onto these social media sites? Probably to catch up with friends you don't otherwise see, to find out what's happening in their lives, to click on interesting articles they share, maybe to have a laugh over the funny videos people post, and maybe to join discussions about topical issues.
Because that's why most people use social media, the social media sites are rewarding users who post the kind of things people want to see. They really don't want users to stop using their platform due to lack of interest, because that would be bad for business. And what makes people stop visiting a place? If they feel they're constantly being marketed to, rather than engaging with a community.
So the more people comment on your posts, click on your links and watch your videos, the more likely they're going to show your post or tweet to more people. Thereby boosting your visibility.
However, if people ignore your posts or click 'like' and move on without engaging, chances are your posts are going to get less and less visible. This isn't really knew. For several years now you've probably noticed that people you don't engage with very often disappear from your feed.
So every time you post on social media, whether as yourself or as your author persona, I want you to ask yourself these 3 questions:
Am I giving value to the people who are reading this?
How likely is it that my followers will comment on this or share this?
When last did I post something about my book?
If you can answer those honestly, as if you're someone who is only superficially connected to you rather than someone who loves you dearly and will still be your friend no matter what you post, then go ahead and hit post/tweet/send.
Remember that the whole point of being on social media, is to be social. Not to be yet another person trying to sell something in a world already saturated with marketing.
In my next post, I'll look at Rule #4 - how to make friends on social media (and how not to lose them!)