Growing Your Presence on Social Media

By Brian Solis and JESS3 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Brian Solis and JESS3 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Social media is great. You can connect with people easily, you can learn new things, and you can share awesome content. It’s also a lot of hard work, because you want to make sure you are posting high quality content that resonates with people, and it takes some effort to measure and tweak your strategy.

A lot of people advocate for figuring out who your audience is, finding the platform where they engage the most, and then focusing on that platform. Melyssa Griffin shares her thoughts on social media on her blog, which includes using video, humanizing your brand, and create quality content.

If you’re looking to create posts that will be widely shared, Moz breaks down what it takes for something to go viral. In a nutshell, you want content that is clickable, shareable, and playable, that taps into people’s sharing impulses, and that you can build a story around.

You should also make tweaks to your profiles on your social media accounts. Bluchic shares a few tips, including having keywords in your bio, using the right hashtags, and listing your business.

Here are some resources to help you grow your presence on social media. Continue reading

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BuzzTrace: A New Platform To Help Writers Find Their Readers

Launching today is BuzzTrace, a new platform that helps authors find their audience and increase their book sales. BuzzTrace connects with social media platforms and provides authors with insightful analytics on how to help sell their books. The site also gives authors tips on how to grow their audience. Scott La Counte, a best selling author, said he co-founded BuzzTrace to help authors save time on marketing, so they can focus on their writing. Authors can sign up for a one-month free trial at BuzzTrace.

Read on for an interview with Scott La Counte to learn more about the platform. Continue reading

Setting Up and Building an Email List

By Frédéric Pereira (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Frédéric Pereira (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Direct marketing is powerful. There’s a reason so many people say “the money is in the list.” If you can build a mailing list of people who like your work and are willing to pay for it, then it becomes much easier to sell your books and have bigger book launches. With that in mind, here are some tips and resources on how to build a strong mailing list: Continue reading

Tips and Tricks for Setting Up Your Blog

By User Gflores on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By User Gflores on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Blogging is a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding. Are you thinking of starting a blog this year? Here are some helpful resources to get you going:

Getting Subscribers

Driving Traffic

Avoiding Mistakes

Guest Posts

Writing Posts

Monetization

Marketing Books with Blogging

Metrics

Trends

Tools

What Are the Ingredients of a Successful Marketing Plan?

By The Photographer [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By The Photographer [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: This post was originally published January 2016 on Digital Book World.

Today’s readers and book buyers are savvy. Ads are not enough to get a potential customer’s attention, and being bombarded daily with emails, texts, posts, tweets, shares, images and videos makes it incredibly easy, and more likely, for people to ignore ads.

In fact, people are going out of their way to avoid ads, installing plugins known as ad blockers to outright remove them. And despite what season 19 of “South Park” depicts—a world in which ads become sentient and quietly take over our lives—ad campaigns do not work as well as they used to when it comes to marketing products.

Enter content marketing, and the idea of gaining a community’s trust in order to sell products. In addition to sharing content that customers find worthwhile, and would potentially want to share with others, this method allows companies to forge connections with people by regularly communicating with them in a more pleasant manner.

Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are important tools in establishing that trust, but they should be considered just that—tools—and not strategies themselves.

While there are many components to a successful marketing plan, here are six aspects to consider.

1. Figure out the audience. What is it about a book or a book series that makes it stand out? Can it help to solve a problem, and if so, how? Who would be interested in reading the book, and where can you find them? When are they active and when would they be open to listening to you? One tool that may be helpful in answering these questions is Find My Audience, a website, currently in beta, that finds potential readers on Twitter. Users provide information about a book, and then the tool gives information on the target audience for that book. The site is free to use for now, but eventually users will have the option to pay a monthly fee in exchange for information on Facebook and Goodreads.

2. Have specific goals. Are you trying to build an email list? Do you want to increase sales? Would you rather current fans or followers be more engaged with the content you post? Focus on what you are trying to accomplish, and then work from there to achieve it.

3. Create a system similar to Chris Syme’s SMART method so you can actually build a fanbase and sell books. One tip to keep in mind is to deliver different messages, in different ways, to different audience segments. What to post and the number of times to post per day varies among Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Also, younger readers tend to use Instagram and Tumblr more, and older readers tend to stick with Facebook. Keep your goals and audience in mind when coming up with a system.

4. Build trust. If you don’t have a customer’s trust, then how can you expect them to buy from you? Seth Godin goes into detail on his blog about permission marketing, which involves earning the privilege to send “anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” You earn this privilege by delivering on promises, creating and sharing valuable content, and eventually having enough credibility that people believe in you and your products.

5. Engage with your community. Engagement can help build trust, and there are many ways to connect with your audience and make them feel special. A few ideas include:

• polling cover images or character names
• hosting weekly Twitter chats with a hashtag that promotes an author, book or fan group,
• shouting out to readers who email or share messages on social media
• giving away copies of books with personalized thank you notes
• posting videos that give behind-the-scenes information about a book
• sharing chapter reveals
• mailing swag, like stickers or illustrations
• sending email updates about upcoming novels
• setting up forums or groups on Facebook or Google+ to encourage discussion

6. Work agilely. Now that I work in tech, I get to see the agile method firsthand. Breaking down your marketing strategy and focusing on making it incrementally better, two weeks at a time, can make a big difference. You can take a loose interpretation of the agile methodology and apply it to marketing. The idea is to work on a two-week schedule, called “sprints,” and meet a goal or set of goals by the end of the sprint. To determine what to work on in each sprint, take some time to assess feedback and figure out what’s engaging people and what content they want to see. Then adjust your plan accordingly.

What components do you take into consideration for your marketing plan? What works best for you? Please let me know in the comments.

Book Marketing Tips for the Holidays and Year Round

By Ralph Daily from Birmingham, United States (Roasted American Turkey) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ralph Daily from Birmingham, United States (Roasted American Turkey) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a while since I’ve down a roundup of articles. Since the holiday season is coming up fast, here’s a list of helpful marketing-related articles (there’s even a few specific for the holidays)!

Holiday Specific

Growing Traffic and Followers

BookBub Tips and Tricks

Working with People

Trends and New Stuff

Helpful Tools

Self Publishing

Indie Author Marketing Guide: Google Plus

Google Plus is a social media platform that is not as talked about as Facebook or Twitter, but can be very important, depending on your niche.

Google Plus Basics

For those who may not be too familiar with Google Plus, here are a few of the basics. First, you fill out a profile, with a picture, a cover image, and whatever information you feel comfortable sharing about yourself. After you create a personal profile, you can create a business profile, or page, such as the one for my side project, I Know Dino. Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: Pinterest

Happy 2015! To kick off the year, I’m starting a series of posts that focus on using social media. Today is all about Pinterest.

Pinterest is all about sharing (or pinning) images, and there are many ways indie authors can use this social media platform to their advantage. You can pin images to different boards, and tailor your boards to different interests. Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known for being a professional network, and a great place to share your resume online.

As an indie author, here are a few ideas of how to use LinkedIn to your advantage: Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: Goodreads

Next up in the Indie Author Marketing Guide series is Goodreads. Goodreads is a social network for book lovers, now owned by Amazon. Users can join groups, follow authors, rate and review books, compile lists of read books, and promote books with giveaways.

According to The Creative Penn, “Goodreads’ recommendation engine is an algorithm similar to Netflix” and “A book does need to get a few hundred ratings before it gets into the recommendation engine.” It’s also helpful to fully fill out the author profile portion of your account, and combine editions of your book.

One of the best features of Goodreads is the giveaway feature. Keep in mind that the giveaway is for physical books, and you will be responsible for mailing them to the winners. There are a lot of articles out there with tips on how to run a successful giveaway, but here are a couple links with a lot of especially useful information:

You should read the full articles, but some of the tips include how to determine the number of books to giveaway (less than 10 is actually ideal), why the process is worth doing, when to run a giveaway (Mondays are great), and how many entries to expect.

Like Amazon, Goodreads is a great place to get ratings and reviews. In late 2013, Goodreads changed its review policy so that comments primarily about an author, instead of the book, would be deleted.

Finding relevant groups to join is another great feature of Goodreads. There are many groups dedicated to indie authors supporting each other, where they share with each other ideas for marketing and promoting books.

Because Goodreads is so data heavy, the site gathers and aggregates a lot of information about people’s reading habits, and occasionally they share that data. Here’s an infographic depicting reasons why people stop reading certain books.

Goodreads also lets authors connect with readers with their “Ask the Author” feature.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to use Goodreads effectively, check out The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors (Building Blocks to Author Success Book 4) by Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower.

And if you have any other ideas for how to use Goodreads, please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared January 2015, as part of the Indie Author Marketing Guide series.