Honored to introduce Darlene Oakley, social media manager for author, editor, and Christian PEN owner, Kathy Ide. Since Karen Witemeyer will be speaking about marketing for those who hate social media, I thought Darlene's post about maximizing social media would be a great compliment.
In this 21st century, instant information world, you can’t market a book without social media. The entire concept of managing three or four (or even more) accounts and their various advantages to marketing specifically can be very intimidating. But it’s important to get involved and get a handle on them because they will make or break the success of your book.
Internet Networking is Key
Social media is an author’s way of connecting with his or her target audience. The ultimate goal of a social media marketing strategy for authors is to get likes, shares, followers, and click-throughs. Likes, shares and followers help get our face and our books in front of a wide audience of people. When people engage to like or share content from your Facebook page or Tweet, it triggers Google and other search engines that you’re active. It may not seem like those interactions are having much impact, but it’s in the places where you can’t see. The more active you are in posting, sharing, liking and engaging with your audience, the more search engines notice and this means higher search engine rankings when people search certain keywords. This is the value of Internet networking.
The challenge is to turn those likes, shares, etc., into click-throughs; that is getting people to commit to buying your book. This means getting them to your website or to the shopping cart option on whichever website your book happens to be available.
Keep it Short
Writing for social media marketing is different than writing a book. Social media is not the place for long drawn out sentences. Keep them short and direct, but avoid saying things like “Hey you! Get out there and buy my book.” Get right to the point of your post (ex: WIN a copy of my book). Your social media audience has a very limited attention span. So make sure that you catch them right from the get-go. Your message needs to provide them the information they need and an active link to where they need to go. People don’t have time to scroll through paragraphs of information only to discover that they have to click to or three more times to get to the ordering page.
People’s lives are busy. As much as possible, keep your message short enough that people will be able to engage with it without having to scroll. Think of it like the first line of your book. That’s the hook. It is also one of the toughest things to write.
Facebook, G+ and Linkedin let you use more characters, but you still need to think like Twitter. Many people will move on to something else if they see “Read more” at the bottom of your post. But if you have used your words wisely, you can hook readers so that they will read more and are just looking for the link.
Again, this comes back to keeping it short. People don’t have a lot of time when they’re checking their newsfeeds on their 15-minute break or 30-minute lunch. You need to get their attention and engage with them fast. In social media, this works best with graphics and photos. Check out sites like PicMonkey or Canva.com to learn how to make your own graphics. The human brain processes pictures 60,000 times faster than text. Graphics make an impression and evoke an emotional response that words on their own sometimes can’t. Graphics are much easier to like or click on than paragraphs of text.
Call to action
One of the latest social media marketing trends is search engine bots including photo captions in their searches. If you’re posting pictures, make sure you have a call to action in the caption, or hyperlink the photo directly to where you want your readers to go. You’ve grabbed their attention through a great graphic, don’t lose them by making it difficult for them to buy your book or otherwise engage with you. Tell your audience what you want them to do. It may seem like a no-brainer, but this kind of statement needs to be direct “Follow me,” “Buy now,” “Click here,” “Enter now!” “Email me now,” etc.
This may seem contradictory to general marketing practice, but sometimes the best way to advertise is not to advertise. Think about how you feel when you see the same message repeated over and over … buy my book, buy my book, buy my book … and nothing else. While marketing is all about selling and you do need “buy my book” posts, people don’t want to feel like the only reason you’re trying to get in touch with them is to sell them something. That all you care about is getting their money.
Engagement comes when people feel you value them as people, not just as potential readers and a source of income. Engagement and click-throughs happen when followers feel like they have a somewhat personal relationship with you, through comments you post, things you share, articles you write.
Think about the kinds of things that your circle of friends likes to read and share, what people in your professional circle read and share, what topics are important to your target audience. Even if these things really have absolutely nothing to do with your book that is the kind of information that stands a higher chance of drawing them in. It really is advertising, but more on a subliminal level. Instead of whomping them over the head with your product, you’re reaching them on a heart level. The way to a reader’s and buyer’s pocket book sometimes comes from providing completely irrelevant information to your book, information that they need. For example, an encouraging note, a Bible verse, a funny graphic that makes them laugh on a gloomy day. When people get a sense that they can trust your heart, they will be more willing to trust you with their money, and buy your book.
Darlene Oakley has been a freelance writer, editor, and transcriptionist for 15 years. She has written over 200 articles that have been published online, and edited over 25 books. Her first title, Inner Sanctum (Christian Dystopia) was released in 2014. Her second fiction title, Voices of Angels (Romantic Suspense), is due out shortly. www.darscorrections.com http://www.amazon.com/Inner-Sanctum-Darlene-Oakley/dp/0986205729/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8