Today, my lovely friend, talented social media maven Rachel Thompson of BadRedheadMedia fame, joins us to debunk some popular social media myths. Take it away, Rachel! 🙂
I think you’ll agree with me when I say there’s a lot of false information out there about social media. It can be overwhelming for authors to know what’s true and what’s not. I’m going to break down these myths and give you practical ways to make social media work for you. Let’s deconstruct a few of the most common myths.
Myth #1. You Need a lot of Followers to be Successful on Social Media
FALSE. As long as you’re interactive with your targeted readers, you’re good. As Seth Godin famously said, “Everyone is not your demographic.” Boy, do people disagree with that.
To deconstruct this myth, we need to look at it two ways:
- are you interacting with your demographic,
- and following vs. engagement.
- Demographic: On our last #BookMarketingChat, one chatter said ‘Wait, I write literary fiction. Anyone can literally be my reader.” Not so fast, cowboy. Does everyone in the world read literary fiction? Nope. Look at the top-selling books on Amazon – are they literary? No. Romance.
- Of the Top 10 bestselling genres on Amazon, 5 include romance; the number one bestselling genre is Contemporary Romance.
- A simple Google search: who reads literary fiction? brought me to this fabulous list on the wonderful JaneFriedman.com’s site. Follow these publications, see who follow them, interact with those readers (all free, by the way), see if you can advertise on these sites. Do the damn work.
- Following vs. Engagement: A better analytic is to look at engagement, not Enthusiastic followers are more likely to interact with you, click on your links (I recommend linking to Amazon or your website), which are much better indicators of interest.
In fact, in a study by SocialBakers, when social media users are most engaged with a brand, they are also more likely to visit the brand’s site.
That said, I do suggest steadily growing your following by strategically following targeted readers, bloggers, and reviewers. Most authors make the mistake of only following other authors, and then complaining about too much “Buy my book!” spam. I use ManageFlitter.com to manage followers (I use the Pro Version). Easy, works well.
Myth #2: You Must be Active on Every Social Media Channel
FALSE. Where is your demographic? That’s where you need to be.
While I do recommend you open accounts on each channel to stake your branding claim (e.g., I own the name BadRedhead Media and don’t want anyone else to use it), that doesn’t mean I’m going to be on every single channel daily interacting with people – there just isn’t time and frankly, who has the brain power?
Each channel is designed differently to appeal to different parts of our brains: some are more visual, some are text only, some encourage more conversation (e.g., Facebook), some encourage little to no conversation at all (e.g., Pinterest), focusing more on sharing.
All channels also appeal to readers of different genres and ages in different ways, and your job is to identify your demographic, and connect with them on those specific channels. Remember: social media is part of your overall book marketing plan. If your readers are on Twitter, learn Twitter.
If you can write a book, you can write a tweet.
Myth #3: Social Media Isn’t Part of Book Marketing
WRONG. Social is a crucial part of your book marketing plan.
What this usually means is fear or lack of knowledge:
- you’re unfamiliar with social media,
- don’t understand how it all works,
- are overwhelmed by it and stuck in ‘analysis paralysis,’
- or expect hard numbers to apply to soft marketing techniques.
I’ve taught adult learners since the early ’90s, and the biggest obstacles we have as adult learners are these pre-conceived notions about social media:
- My readers aren’t on social media (um, how do you know?)
- It’s a waste of my time (interacting with readers is a waste of your time???)
- Fear – I won’t be able to figure it out (it’s not rocket science)
- It won’t result in book sales (again, how do you know?).
Do you have definitive proof of any of those points? Not usually. Mostly these are simply excuses to not market your work, which I just cannot fathom.
I’m asked almost daily to ‘prove’ that social media will result in a 1:1 sale: e.g., if I get one new Twitter follower, will that result in one book sale, which is a ridiculous question when you think about it. Who ever said social media would do that?
Think of a bicycle wheel – go ahead. Here, I’ll provide one for you.
Pick ONE spoke. That’s social media. Can your wheel turn with one spoke? No.
You need a great book to begin with, a marketing plan (a full-on, fleshed-out plan), including a great site, regular blogging, reviews, signings and/or a blog tour, press, advertising, promos, contests…it goes on.
So, why have social media at all? Because it’s this generation’s word of mouth. In case you’ve been asleep this entire last political season, Twitter is yuge right now. Take a look at those Pew demographics linked above and find where your readers are. Then learn how to use the channel that most applies to your readers. How? Research Help Sections, do free YouTube tutorials, read my blog, read other experts’ blogs, whatever. Do the work.
I can’t emphasize this enough: social media isn’t about where you are most comfortable. It’s about interacting and building relationships with readers, driving traffic to your website and buy links, and creating enthusiastic fans who will talk up your book.
Social media is what you make it. If you interact with others, others will interact with you. If you follow your demographic and build relationships with them, they’ll follow you back, and your author platform will grow. Finally, remember that social media is only one part of your overall book marketing plan – focus on what else you can be doing to increase sales, and integrate social media into those plans.
Good luck and remember, do the work!
(Bicycle photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)
She released the BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge in December, 2016 to rave reviews.
She is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in both the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Book Festivals), and the bestselling, multi award-winning Broken Pieces (as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed).
Rachel’s work is also featured in several anthologies (see Books for details).
She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), Feminine Collective, IndieReader.com, 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly,
Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live weekly Twitter chats, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish (Tuesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST), and #BookMarketingChat, co-hosted with author assistant Melissa Flickinger (Wednesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST).
She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
Author Site: rachelintheoc.com
BadRedhead Media Site: badredheadmedia.com
Twitter (Business): @BadRedheadMedia
Facebook (Business): https://www.facebook.com/BadRedheadMedia
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH
BadRedhead Media Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/koN8r
Full-size Author Photo Link: http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o158/Froze8/RachelThompson_
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Title: BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to Energize your Book Sales in a Month!
Length: 138 pages
Release date: December 26, 2016
Are you unsure how to market your book? Do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of author platform options out there (or not even sure what the term means)? Do you wish someone could break it down for you in simple steps?
Then this is the book for you!
Over the course of one month, Rachel provides you daily challenges containing a wealth of information, and easy to follow assignments to help energize your book sales. If you haven’t released your book yet, this book will help you set the stage necessary to build the strongest foundation possible for success.
- Twitter secrets
- Facebook page must-do’s
- Social media ideas you might not know or haven’t thought of
- Promotion, giveaways, and other book marketing secrets
- Website, blogging, and SEO tips designed just for authors
PRAISE FOR BADREDHEAD MEDIA 30-DAY BOOK MARKETING CHALLENGE:
“I say enthusiastically: GET THIS BOOK AND START THE CHALLENGE. There is no time to waste. You’ll be glad you did. Seriously. Go get the book and start the challenge. I wish I’d had this book when I was promoting my first novel. It would have saved me so much time!”
-Lori Culwell, Author and SEO expert, Creative Director of Get Creative, Inc, a national SEO agency
“When it comes to social media marketing for authors, no one knows more than Rachel Thompson. She practices what she preaches and has helped dozens of our authors enjoy significant leaps in their social media standing.”
-Steve Bennett, Founder and Creative Director, AuthorBytes
“This book is an amazing compilation of data and resources that only someone with years of experience could pull together. As a book marketing specialist myself, I’m still blown away by the amazing content Rachel provides. If you’re writing or marketing a book, this is a MUST-HAVE.”
-Alexa Bigwarfe, Author Coach & Owner of Kat Biggie Press Digital Media Company