The Way We Think About Social Media Is Broken

Why what we think about social media is brokenWhen you first write a book and brave the waters of social media, what are you thinking about?

Be honest.

I know what I was thinking. Sales. Readers. Clients.

It’s a mistake that we all make. We’re enthusiastic. We believe we just wrote the best book ever and we’re eager to turn all those hours we labored over every sentence into something tangible: green dollars. Or euros.

Or maybe we’re more altruistic. What we want is for people to enjoy our book, appreciate our craft.

Regardless of our goals, what we don’t want to see is our books fail to reach people, right?

So perhaps we enter social media with too much naiveté and enthusiasm. We make mistakes. A few trolls get upset with us.

Social Media Learning Curve

Oh, well. We all must travel a learning curve.

The problem is that when we first start out, the way we think about social media is broken. In the beginning, we concern ourselves with two goals: sales and numbers.

We want lots of book sales, and we want high numbers. We want thousands if not millions of Twitter followers, and thousands of Facebook likes. And because we’re new to this work of marketing, it all seems possible, until …

Until a few weeks or a few months pass and we realize that something isn’t working. Our book isn’t selling well and ratcheting up followers isn’t easy.

This is a great moment in our development. Why? Because this is the time when we can start to learn a better way, a truer way, a way that will bring friends and colleagues into our world.

Never over-promote your content Click To Tweet

Notice that I didn’t use the word sales. Why? Because if we use social media correctly, the way it was meant to be used, the sales will happen. But first, we must network. We must make friends with our readers, and we must become friendly with other authors who write in our genre.

Listen to Your Readers and Your Niche Influencers

When you first join a new social media network, it’s always a good idea to listen before you jump in with your tweets and status updates. Follow these steps:

  • Lurk nicely. Check out how people write their tweets and status updates. Find your influencers. Look for readers, book bloggers, authors in your niche, and book reviewers.
  • Retweet information that your readers will enjoy.
  • Then get your game on. Write blog posts, and tweet and post them.
  • Create your own images using Canva, a free application, or PicMonkey that you can use to add text to copyright-free images you find on the web or those you take yourself.
  • Find meaningful quotes to share, and create text-based images using your finest lines of writing. Also, share humorous memes and anything and everything related to reading, books, and libraries.
  • Don’t over-promote any of your content. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time promote other users, other writers, influencers, and your readers; 20% of the time post about your books, blog posts, website, and other offerings you might have.
  • Never say, “Buy my book” or “Read my blog post.” Instead, attract readers to your website, your blog, and Amazon by sharing the best content you can find in your niche.
Minimize self-promotion on social mediaClick To Tweet

Engage with Your Readers and Always Be Authentic

The beauty of social media is that it’s social. So allow plenty of time—say 15 minutes a day—to have fun and socialize virtually online.

Follow these suggestions:

  • Listen to what others say more often than you post.
  • Reply to your readers’ social media posts—and those of influencers in your niche —and share their content.
  • Win hearts by being authentic, gracious, and thankful.
  • Be cool. In other words, never write a nasty comment, use profanity, ridicule someone, or denigrate another author or business.
  • Minimize self-promotion. It’s okay to mention your book is for sale or to share a great review. But keep these posts to a minimum.
  • Be open to learning from others.
  • Thank your readers for their shares, pins, and retweets.

Through social media, you’ll have opportunities to meet readers from around the world, influencers within your niche, literary agents, publishers, book coaches, and new friends. You can’t possibly imagine now what social media can do for your career. These experiences will occur as you meet and engage with readers and discover new friends. Enjoy yourself and don’t worry about the numbers game.


Frances CaballoThe author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for WritersThe Author’s Guide to Goodreads, and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

Avoid Social Media Time SuckGet a free copy of Avoid Social Media Time Suck from Smashwords!

 

 

 

 

 

Speak Your Mind

*