Guest Post by Colby Marshall, @ColbyMarshall
In my (very brief) career as a writer, I’ve learned a few things about self-promotion on social media sites and in the blogosphere. I’m not an expert by far, but marketing is a work in progress. Just like writing, it’s something I’ve tried to learn and grow in, and like writing, I’m constantly revising what I know based on what I see that works…and what doesn’t seem to work. So far, these are the top ten things I’ve learned about social media in book marketing:
1. Social media doesn’t create a fan base–it keeps one. The people who come to your twitter or facebook pages have most likely already bought, plan to buy, or are at least interested in buying your book. Therefore, they don’t want to be told to buy your book every ten seconds. They want to interact with YOU.
2. When it comes to interacting with you, the key word is WITH. One thing I’ve noticed over and over again about authors with rabid fan bases is that they don’t just post on their social media pages and leave. They talk back. If someone replies to a tweet, replying back is important. If someone comments on your facebook page or blog post, respond. While it might seem “cool” to play it cool, the bond of being able to talk to an author of a book you like will keep you interested in your favorite authors’ books far longer than if they feel distant.
3. Speaking of getting close, on your social media pages, blog, and website, fans dig content they can’t get in the book. It’s why J.K. Rowling has done something so unique in Pottermore—readers can get even more of their favorite characters, stories, and the writers behind them.
4. While personal and book-related posts are great, content that is fun, informative, or relevant will always be enjoyed, too. Links to articles you enjoyed, websites you like, or even a fun fact you learned during research will keep posts fresh.
5. And on the subject of fresh posts…followers are far more likely to keep following if you spend most of your time posting about things other than your book. My rule of thumb: nine out of ten posts shouldn’t be directly related to self-promotion. Something you learned while researching doesn’t count, but that link to your newest review on Amazon or details about your next personal appearance? Yep. It’s your 1/10.
6. When you first release a book, you get to cut some slack on the 9/10 rule. Maybe 1/5. But don’t abuse it. No one likes a hog. (Unless it’s tame and wants to be my steed. Then I love a hog.)
7. Don’t hog the attention. If you want some love from fellow writers or even artists in other mediums, don’t spend all of your time posting about yourself and none sharing others’ work. Karma counts for something, but so do people’s memories. Don’t expect a favor if you don’t do any.
8. Another don’t: don’t get angry. If someone doesn’t like your book, don’t argue with them. Thank them for reading, and move on. Arguing with someone who says your book isn’t their cup of tea won’t make them suddenly fall in love with it, and it won’t make you look so classy, either.
9. Don’t go off half-cocked. You know what they say: the internet is forever. As I’m sure Mitt Romney and his binders full of women will tell you, even if it’s easy to put a sound bite out in the amount of time it takes to type 140 characters, it doesn’t mean you should. Think before you post about something controversial, when you’re angry, or after a couple glasses of wine. Tact is always better than throwing words around. As writers, we should know words are powerful. Use them as such.
10. Above all, be yourself. If you try too hard to find a “voice,” it’ll always come across as stilted, and you’ll think too hard about what to post. Keep the tact from the previous statement, but real is relatable. Keep it real.
These are just a few things I’ve discovered on my journey as an author so far, and I’ve still got loads to learn. My debut novel, Chain of Command, is a thriller about the simultaneous assassinations of both the President and Vice President that rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency.
What about you—what gets your attention on social media in a good way? What types of posts drive you nuts?
Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby is a contributing columnist for a local magazine and a proud member of International Thriller Writers. She’s active in local theatres as an actress and choreographer.
She lives in Georgia with her family where she is hard at work on her new thriller.