A good strategy should never be set in stone, especially in an ever-evolving industry such as publishing. As we move into 2016, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram still dominate the social media scene. It doesn’t matter if you’re an established author, an emerging or aspiring one; you need to have a social media strategy that goes way beyond a few scheduled posts or curated content that has already appeared on countless post streams. Now’s a good time to revisit the social media accounts of the authors you most admire. Look at what they are doing and reach out to your current followers to find out what they most want from your posts then use the information you gather to build a mobile book marketing strategy.
Make no mistake. As an author you’re a brand and this above all needs to drive your strategy. An impressive social media following not only provides social credibility but invariably leads to increased book sales and the all-important word of mouth boost all authors need. You know you need to post regularly and engage with your audience, you know you have to reach potential readers on an emotional level to truly engage with them, but how do you do it without allowing your book marketing initiatives to dominate your day and, more importantly, detract from your ability to get words on the page. With the start of a New Year growing ever closer there’s no better time to get an effective social media strategy place. Given the eclectic mix of publishing genres, there’s no strategy that fits all but here are our top tips to help you focus.
#1 Stand out - Be instantly recognisable
From book covers to content you should first and foremost be promoting a brand image that is instantly recognisable. One that stands out in a sea of posts. This may seem obvious, but is your approach consistent? How you use and present your promotional material is critically important. Make consistency and reach your primary goal, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You built significant followings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but now is the time to step back and ask yourself if you favour one more than the others? A busy post stream can be misleading, not always translating into new readers and while you can delve into analytics, they can prove both costly and time-consuming in relation to the return they give. Consider cross promoting content instead. It’s easy to sync and link your social media platforms using software such as Hootsuite and your ability to reach potential new readers will grow exponentially with a single post. By working smarter you achieve more, but try and focus on the bigger picture instead of getting bogged down in the detail. The big three social media platforms are simply cogs in your marketing machine and like any well-oiled machine, you don’t need to look under the bonnet as long as it’s working.
#2 Be a winner – put business first.
If you want to get to the top, you need to know who you’ve got to beat to get there. As authors, we like to think of ourselves as being part of a warm fuzzy community where everyone one helps each other out, but if your serious about selling your books en masse you need to put business first. Like any successful business, you need to analyse your competitors. No one will willingly give you their formula for success, no matter what they say. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and anyone who’s made it to the top wants to stay there as long as they can. Start by identifying things your competitors are doing which are relevant to you and use them to leverage advantage and grow your reader base.
Always remember that a competing authors readers can quickly become yours if you have a strategy in place to pursue them. Take a critical look at their content, how often they post, where, what levels of engagement they are achieving, where it comes from and what kind of content they post to achieve it. Cherry pick what’s relevant to you and trial something similar to see if it works for you.
#3 Image is everything!
Never forget that your timeline is a story in the making. Think about it in the same way as writing a book. If you wrote a book that skipped from genre to genre, introduced characters that had no relevance to your plot or had a narrative that seemed to be strung together out of random words, your readers would abandon your book within the first few chapters. Are you creating a story that people will enjoy following along your time line as it grows and evolves? Is it a story they will want to talk about and share? Get your timeline right and people will want to read your books because they are an extension of who you are, and they’ll be keen to find out more about you, but always keep your brand image to the forefront of everything you do.
We started this post by saying a good strategy should never be set in stone, especially in an ever-evolving industry such as publishing, but you absolutely must have one if you are serious about growing your reader base. Keep it fluid and revisit it at least once a month as change is a constant factor that might well impact your approach. We’ll revisit strategy in subsequent posts, but in the interim hope we’ve given you food for thought. We'd also like to draw your attention to the 2015 BookViral Book Awards. We value originality and great writing. If you are confident your book meets our expectations you can enter it by clicking on this link 2015 BookViral Book Awards