Barbara Vitelli, Book Club Mom, on Using YouTube

When a prospect asked me to share information on using YouTube, I turned to Barbara for information. Barbara, known as Book Club Mom, has been using YouTube to talk about books she’s read. Here’s what she had to share in response to the questions I asked her.

  1. How do you set up a YouTube channel?

    All you need is a Google account to set up a YouTube channel. If you use Gmail or Google Drive, then you already have one. Once you set up an account, sign in on YouTube and you can manage your account in various ways, through your channel and also through YouTube Studio, which is one of the options. YouTube Studio offers more details and stats about your videos once you upload them. You can customize your channel, add a profile picture, banner and select other options through settings. I recommend you choose your profile picture and think about how you want to brand yourself ahead of time, but not worry too much about it. You can always change things as you go along and learn where you fit in in the YouTube world.

  2. Do you need any special equipment to create the videos?

    If you have a smartphone, you can use the video feature on it to record your videos and upload them directly from your phone. In fact, that’s the best and fastest way to do it. I don’t recommend using your laptop to record a video because the quality isn’t as good.

  3. Why did you decide to set up a YouTube channel?

    I wanted to reach a broader audience. I have a book blog on WordPress and noticed a lot of other bloggers sharing their own videos. And I think because people are always in such a hurry, they use YouTube as a go-to spot to learn how to do things and get information. I’m also lucky to have the frequent advice of my four adult children, who know social media and YouTube very well. They encouraged me to set it up.

  4. What type of content do you share on YouTube?

    I talk about books I’ve read or want to read, reading and anything relating to the book world. I’m a Reference Librarian at a public library, so I also talk about my job there as it relates to books. I don’t share a lot of personal information or my location, but I like to talk about my general experiences as a librarian and as a mother. People want to hear those kinds of things, so you have to give a little. They want to know a little about who you are – that makes them relate to you.

  5. How do you promote your channel?

    I promote it on my blog and on social media, mostly Twitter and Instagram. I’ve experimented with how best to do that and often use Canva (a free graphic design app) to create promotional pieces. I also use Canva to make thumbnails of my videos, so that they all have a similar look to them on my channel. That makes it easier to promote them too, because I can use the thumbnail image on social media. I recommend playing around with Canva to learn how to make thumbnails. They have a template for it. Once you upload your first video, you’ll see why. YouTube gives you a few random options for thumbnails. You might not like those.

  6. What tips can you give an author just starting a YouTube channel?

    Be natural. Smile. Don’t script your videos or practice (too much). Have an idea of what you’re going to say and then take your time talking. Pretend you’re talking to a friend. That makes it a lot easier. Don’t worry about it being perfect because viewers actually prefer a regular person talking and they don’t mind if you pause or occasionally misspeak or even drop something. Some of my more popular videos are the ones in which I’ve made mistakes and caught myself. In my opinion, the more polished it is, the less interesting it is. Also, don’t obsess about how you look when you talk. We all know what we look like in still shots. It’s a bit of a shock to see yourself talking. You might not like the way your mouth moves or how your face is. You may discover that your face is uneven or that your glasses don’t sit perfectly on your face. I’ve been through that! Viewers are not watching you like that. They’ve clicked on your video because they want to see you and hear what you have to say. Don’t worry about views and followers – unless you’re a YouTube star, they will build slowly. And most important, be confident!

About Book Club Mom: I was a stay-at-home mom for twenty years and now that my kids are nearly grown, I’m also a part-time Reference Librarian at a public library. I like to read whenever I get the chance, and then I like to talk about the books I’ve read. I started a blog eight years ago and slowly added social media to my world. I’ve made great friends on my blog and on social media. Adding YouTube to the mix has made blogging even more fun!

You can find Book Club Mom here:

WordPress: bvitelli2002.wordpress.com
Twitter: @BookClubMom
Facebook: @BookClubMom
Instagram: book.club.mom
YouTube: Book Club Mom

Outsourcing Your Book Marketing

Outsourcing your book marketing tasks can help you from feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few tasks you can outsource.image for outsourcing book marketing post

Newsletter

Hopefully you’ve already set up a way to capture emails on your website and have a list of people waiting to hear about your book launch. A virtual assistant can put together an email template, add your content, and make sure it gets sent out.

Social Media Content & Activity

Hire a social media professional to design images branded to match your book cover image. The professional can also make sure your social media presence is active on a regular basis. The professional can do this by retweeting and sharing content, scheduling posts, and following appropriate accounts. Be sure you take an active part also in social media, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day.

Website & Blog Posts

Hire a professional to create or polish up your website. A virtual assistant can use book excerpts to create and schedule blog posts for you.

Visual Assets

You want to be sure to have a stock of visual assets to include book cover images, your headshot, an inventory of visual images for social media and any ads you plan to run. Visual assets may include video for a book trailer and book promotion and a virtual assistant to edit and post them to YouTube.

Publicity

You will want to reach out to influencers, media, book reviewers, podcasters, and others about your book. These efforts can be managed by a publicist or marketing agency.

If you need any recommendations on who to outsource book marketing tasks to, I would be happy to see how I can help you or refer you to the right person.

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index

LinkedIn is my favorite social media platform for engaging with people and growing my influence with my community. I find I can connect and engage more deeply with people on LinkedIn.

I try to reach out to at least four or five people each week to make new connections and then follow up with at least one phone conversation each week. This has helped me build a community, not just of people who might do business with me, but also of other people in the industry I work in who may be good referral partners (my friendly competitors). I keep track of the people I talk with in a spreadsheet so I can refer back to it when referring to others. It also helps me monitor the effectiveness of my efforts.

One number on LinkedIn that I monitor is the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI). The social selling index has been around for some time. It used to be available only to those who paid for the Premium account but now anyone can access their SSI. This is an algorithm that LinkedIn came up with after analyzing a group of top performing sales leaders and the results they achieved. The result is a score between 0 and 100. It was created by LinkedIn as a way for people using LinkedIn for sales to see how they rated. Of course most of my clients aren’t using LinkedIn for sales; but the rating can still indicate how well they are utilizing LinkedIn to establish their brand and build relationships. It’s something I track monthly for my clients. LinkedIn Social Selling Index screenshot

A couple of months ago I decided to take a more proactive approach to see if I could improve my SSI score. After just a few weeks I was able to increase that score from 64 to 71. That score alone doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s important to note also where you are in your industry and network.

The formula for the LinkedIn SSI score is based on the 4 components of social selling, as defined by LinkedIn:

  1. Establish your professional brand
  2. Find the right people
  3. Engage with insights
  4. Build relationships

Let’s discuss each of those in a bit more detail and what you can do to increase your SSI score.

Establish your professional brand.

Be sure your profile is 100% complete with a profile photo (headshot), headline, and complete information that includes your keywords. When filling in your information, be sure to keep your customer in mind so they will want to contact you based on what you’ve provided. Include examples of your work in the Featured section – videos, SlideShare presentations, PDFs. You can boost your SSI score even more by publishing articles on LinkedIn and endorsing others. Also give and ask for Recommendations. All of this will help you become a thought-leader in your industry.

Find the right people.

I search for people in groups and through mutual connections. You can ask a first-degree connection for an introduction to a second or third-degree connection. Of course using LinkedIn’s paid Sales Navigator will increase the chances of this score being higher. If you use Sales Navigator you can unlock more of those who have viewed your profile and then potentially connect with them and their network. If you don’t pay for Sales Navigator, you are limited in what you see when you click on Who viewed your profile. For most of my clients who are not directly in sales, I don’t believe there’s a need to pay for Sales Navigator.

Engage with insights.

Do this by sharing conversation-worthy updates. Post content relevant to prospects and become a trusted source of insight. Participate in groups with thoughtful comments, questions, and content. Comment on other people’s articles and posts.

Build relationships.

Strengthen your network by finding and establishing trust with decision makers. When you do invite people to connect, be sure to send a personalized note explaining briefly why you’d like to connect. Even a simple note such as, “We’re both in the ‘XYZ’ group here on LinkedIn and I’d like to connect to add you to my professional network.” Once you’ve connected, develop the relationship. Provide information they can use. Invite them to chat by phone or Zoom, assuring them it’s not a sales call. Here’s how I do that.

I have an interesting story to tell about using LinkedIn. Someone named Joe connected with me on LinkedIn and booked a complimentary phone consultation so I could answer some questions he had about using social media. Later he messaged me on LinkedIn because he needed someone in my area to do some handyman work on a property he owns in the area (he lives out of state). I was glad to send him the name and number of someone I know to help him out. For me this was the perfect example of using LinkedIn to engage and build community. Now Joe hasn’t paid me any money. He hasn’t become a client. But he was in need of a connection that I was able to provide. If he ever does need my services, or know someone who does, who do you think he’ll call? He did provide a wonderful review on my Facebook page as a result of the initial complimentary phone consultation we had.

Some people say consistently spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn and you’ll see the SSI score improve. Those same people say, “remember, it’s just a number.” I do check mine usually once a month and watch for the number to remain stable and rise. If it goes down, I don’t worry about it. But I do see why that may be the case so I can see were to focus my efforts to bring the score back up.

And, as one of my clients said, “if you think it’s just a tool to stimulate people to buy Sales Navigator, then fuggedaboudit!” (That’s how they tawk in the Bronx.) Can you tell she’s from New York?

Authors and Book Publishing Industry Experts: Two New Interview Series in 2021

2021 Interview SeriesAuthors and book publishing industry experts, as well as everyone else, would no doubt agree that 2020 has been a challenging year. Yet, as one of my colleagues noted, since everyone has suffered in some way during the pandemic. It’s put things in perspective for us, helping us focus more on helping others.

In 2021 I want to focus on helping you, my readers and clients. One way I’m doing that is by introducing two new concurrent interview series in 2021. In 2020 I interviewed business podcasters so you could see if their podcast might be a good fit for you to be a guest on. You can read those interviews here. In 2021 the two interview series will be one with nonfiction authors and another with book publishing industry experts.

The Two New Interview Series

One series will start with authors I have worked with at some point over the past 15 years. In addition to providing exposure for those authors and their books, those authors will share how they weathered through 2020 during the pandemic and their favorite book marketing tip.

The other series is with experts in the book publishing industry will include editors, ghostwriters, publishing consultants, book coaches, and authors assistants. You will learn more about them and their business and find out if they are a good fit for you if you’re in need of their type of expertise. They will also share their favorite tip for using social media.

It is my hope that by highlighting the work of these authors and experts they might gain new readers and clients. And you will benefit by learning tips they share on book marketing, social media, and weathering through a pandemic.

Here are some of the people whose interviews you’ll be reading: Chrissy Das, Cristen Iris, Faith Wilcox, Jeanne Rodriguez, Anne Janzer, Laurie Buchanan.

If you know of anyone in the book publishing industry who would be a good fit for this series or a nonfiction author who launched a new book during 2020 amid the pandemic, please have them contact me.

Watch for our first 2021 interview here on the blog on January 5, 2021.

Time to Update Your Author Bio

The end of each year is a good time to update your author bio. Your author bio helps potential readers learn more about you and why they should read your book(s). If you’ve written a new book this past year or received a book award, update your author bio with that information.author bio

Here are some things you might include in an author bio:

  • Titles of your books
  • Book awards received
  • Work experience relevant to your book’s topic. (As an example, a client writing a book about coping with grief would include in her bio that she is a psychotherapist with 30+ years of experience in grief counseling.)
  • Something personal so your reader can get to know you better – perhaps where you live, that you’re a mother of three beautiful daughters, hobbies, or the inspiration for why you wrote your book.
  • Links to your website and/or social media platforms

It is a good idea to write a list of all the places you need to update your bio so you don’t forget. They might include your:

  • Website
  • Media kit
  • Amazon author profile
  • Goodreads profile
  • Facebook author page
  • LinkedIn bio
  • Instagram bio
  • Twitter bio
  • Pinterest
  • BookBub profile
  • Anywhere you submit articles such as Medium
  • Any other places online you may have your bio