How does the 80/20 principle apply in social media marketing? In short, it means that about 20% of your messages are self-promotion, ‘buy-my-book’ messages and 80% of your messages are generous, sharing what your audience finds valuable and informative.
This is important for authors trying to promote their books. If your audience sees the majority of your messages are self-promotion, they will quickly lose interest. Turn that around. Make the majority of your messages generous, information sharing.
Ask yourself: what does my reader want? What does my reader need? Then share! What you share can be tips from your book. That will encourage your audience to buy your book whether or not you specifically promote it. Also share links to other helpful information provided from other sources.
The 80/20 numbers are not carved in stone. It’s not a rule. It’s a principle. The important thing is to remember this principle in all your social media marketing.
Share more than you promote.
Note from Joel
While this is not really an application of the Pareto Principle wherein most of our results come from a small portion of our effort, it’s convenient to reuse the numbers 80 and 20 partly because they’ll be easy to remember. But hey, perhaps we’ll write another post about applying the Pareto Principle in your marketing efforts, because it definitely applies.
Depending on who you ask or where you check, each year between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published. That’s more than one every minute, 24 hours a day.
If you only take away one thing from Sue’s post and today’s, this is it:
#1. If you don’t stand out, agents, publishers, and readers will choose someone who does.
When Sue posted some of her thoughts from that blog post on other social media platforms, there were always a few who quibbled about how agents don’t necessarily require this, that, and the other thing. Perhaps. However, see large note #1 above.
A second note which seems, still, to escape far too many authors:
#2: Publishers do not do marketing. Authors do marketing. If you won’t, they’ll find someone who will.
This shatters the dream of so many authors who, apparently, still hope they can simply write their book and have someone else do the hard work of earning the money for them. After all, writing a book is hard enough already; I know this well and understand the frustration of those who, having typed The End are dismayed to discover that it’s just The Beginning.
If you’re still secretly hoping someone else will make this easy for you, see large note #2 above.
A third note:
#3: Reputations are hard-earned currency. No one is going to lend you theirs without good reason.
Yesterday’s post touched on the quagmire of guest posting. The entire point of guest posting is to share reputations, to find mutual benefit.
If you have a brand new blog about entrepreneurship, having Richard Branson write a guest post is a great idea, right? Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
What earthly reason would Sir Rich have to lend you his reputation?
Bringing it down to more realistic levels, what reason does mid-level blogger Jane Doe have to lend you their reputation, giving you access to their hard-earned network of fans? By writing a guest post for you, or allowing you to write a guest post for her, Jane is endorsing you, telling all and sundry “I trust and respect Billy Bo Bob Brain and you should, too.”
Why would they do that?
Flipside: why would you do that? If you have a worthwhile blog and a total stranger, entirely unknown, wants to post on your blog, why would you share your reputation with them? Do you really want to publicly endorse the views and ethics of a total stranger?
A final takeaway:
#4: If you intend to sell your book or use it to promote your business you are not just an author, you are an entrepreneur.
You may already be marketing your business. Your book is part of your business, and you have to invest the same marketing effort and savvy as you would any other new product or service launched.
A solid social media presence is vital to getting noticed as an author and should be in place long before your book is published.
Every year we notice a slump from the beginning of December through the weekend of the Super Bowl. In December, everyone spends their money on things other than business expenses. Then, in January, everyone stops spending altogether.
We’ve learned over the years that December is the natural time for us to spend a week off work, analyzing the year’s activities, what worked well and why, and planning for the coming year. We set business and personal goals, then follow up all year long, monthly, quarterly, and again at year end.
We’ve also learned that expending effort marketing in January can be a complete waste of time—if we do it wrong. January is the time to keep it very personal, stay on people’s radar, share freely, to make our marketing message “We understand you’re not ready right now, but when you are, we’ll be ready, too, and here’s why we might be a good match when it’s time.” (That’s not as succinct as I’d like.)
It’s the Tuesday after the big game, and things are going to get back to normal. That means marketing can serve not just to stay on folks’ radar, but to educate and attract, moving the right people toward our offerings, turning into the fun and games of doing business. (If you’re not having fun marketing your book and your business, let’s talk, shall we?)
There are more books than you could read in a hundred years, even if that’s all you ever did. In a way, books are a commodity.
The firehose-stream of new books, both independent and traditionally published, makes individual books even harder to distinguish. Your only hope of being found is to focus relentlessly on the 1% which makes your book unique.
I’m not suggesting that you find a way to convince people that your book is unlike anything which has ever come before. If you’ve written about coaching or accounting or networking or marketing, your book will share concepts and content with oodles of existing books on the topic.