I’m about to make a bunch of social media “experts” gasp, but that’s okay. Here’s the truth: when it comes to promoting your book on social media, the quantity of posts matters as much as the quality. Yes, well-written posts and engagement are central to your success, but if you’re not sharing regularly and you don’t have enough followers to benefit from social media’s “network effect,” what’s the point? You need a critical mass of followers in order to benefit from social book promotion and you can’t reach that critical mass without posting and engaging with people on a regular basis. That’s why numbers matter, especially when you are just starting out. One witty tweet a week or one clever blog post a month will not build a successful author platform. You need to commit to a certain quantity of posts every week, especially at the beginning when you think no one is listening. You will probably have to do this for many months before you start seeing results. Here are some tips on how to tackle the numbers required for social book promotion:
Have ONE home base. It is critical to have one author website, not separate websites for each book. When your brand is as recognizable as J.K. Rowling’s, you can have a website for each book. Until then, one well-designed website will serve as the nerve center of your social book promotion and author brand building. You must regularly update events, reviews, videos, photos and your blog.
Choose TWO social networks. Don’t spread yourself too thin in the beginning. Start with two social networks, say Facebook and Twitter, and learn how they work inside and out. Once you’ve mastered these, you can add new social networks to the mix.
Mix THREE types of posts. Your best book promotion will always be a well-written book. This means you need plenty of time to write. Promotion should only take up about twenty percent of your day. Yet, we know social book promotion is a numbers game, so you’ll need to keep your posts flowing. Here’s a mix of three types of posts that will keep you sane AND effective on social media:
- scheduled and live posts. Use a platform like HootSuite to schedule some of your posts throughout the week. These scheduled posts will serve as the backbone of your social presence. This approach will give you some control. For instance, you can write your blog on Sunday and schedule it for release across your social channels on Wednesday at 9:00 am. You’ll still make time for live engagement and relationship building, but when life gets crazy your social presence won’t suffer. It will keep you sane and your followers engaged.
- original and curated posts. This means sometimes you write the content yourself and sometimes you share links to value-added resources written by others. You curate quality information that will be of interest to your followers. There are a number of different ways to find interesting content on specific topics across the Web. Here are a few: Sign up for topics of interest on Google alerts and Alltop, bookmark or sign up for emails or RSS feeds for your favorite bloggers, follow hashtags on Twitter and make lists of people you follow who create great content on a certain subject.
- multimedia posts. Visual elements are increasingly important on the Web. Instagram photos, book trailers on YouTube or Vimeo, Twitter Vines, Pinterest boards – there are many multimedia platforms available today because visual elements give us so much information so quickly. Today’s crowded, noisy Web, make sharing multimedia elements crucial. They get substantially higher click-through rates. This doesn’t mean you have to join all of these platforms, but it does mean you need to regularly post photos, videos and other visual elements.
Remember the FIVE principles of social sharing. 1. Be yourself 2. Be honest 3. Listen more than you talk 4. Give more than you take 5. Always add value.
Commit to at least SIX months. You know the old adage, “It takes six weeks to change a habit.” Well, it typically takes at least six months of concerted effort to start seeing significant results from social…probably longer. Stick to the assignments on your content calendar even when you feel like giving up. It takes time for people to trust you and get to know you. It also takes time to become comfortable and effective on social media. Give yourself and your platform the time it needs to grow. Commit to the numbers I’ve outlined here, and you will see results.
Add ZERO noise to the system. Just because I’m emphasizing that social book marketing is a numbers game, doesn’t mean I’m advocating that you post for the sake of posting. NEVER add noise to the system. That’s a big mistake. Your brand will become associated with that noise. Add value and you’ll be associated with that value.
Quality and quantity both matter in your social book promotion strategy. Social engagement is going to be awkward in the beginning. You won’t want to do it, but you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone. Following a plan that specifies a certain number of posts per week will hold you accountable and give you something to measure as you start your social book promotion journey.
Let me know if you have questions. I’m happy to answer them in the comments secsion. Seasoned “social” authors, please weigh in with your advice for newbies.
Kathy Meis (@katmeis) is founder of the award-winning social book discovery and commerce platform, Bublish (@BublishMe). She is also a professional writer, editor and editorial manager with more than twenty years of experience in the media and publishing industries. She has worked for such prestigious editorial brands as CBS and Forbes. Kathy is a frequent blogger on the subject of book promotion, author branding and discoverability.