Marketing on Social Media . . . by Not Marketing

Guest post by Jenn Gott, indie authorwhat are you baking today

I follow a lot of authors on social media.

This should come as no surprise. Anyone with an interest in reading or writing, especially if you hope to build a career in “the biz,” has undoubtedly followed their fair share of wordsmiths. And sure, some of it is for networking purposes, and some of it is because they post a lot of marketing and publishing content that I find useful.

But by far, the largest group of authors I follow is made up of those that I simply like following.

Maybe they have a cute cat they’re always posting photos of. Maybe they offer relatable, encouraging insights into their writing process. Maybe they support the same political causes I do and I like how they articulate their convictions. Maybe they’re just funny, or have a unique way of expressing the feelings we all experience while trying to get through the day.

But here’s the crucial thing: of all the authors I’ve started following just for fun, I’ve gone on to purchase books from nearly every single one of them.

It’s a weird balance when you start using social media as a writer. You have work you want to promote, but you know that you can’t just post a stream of constant “Buy my book!” tweets. You want to be authentic and connect with readers. Yet at the same time, no one is interested in what you had for breakfast, right?

Like everything in writing, there’s a delicate balance to using social media. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that people are interested in the tiny details of your life — so long as you make it interesting.

Don’t just post a photo of what you’re up to; make a little joke in the caption, or ask a question to get people to interact in the comments. Also remember to mix it up! Living through a pandemic doesn’t always make for the most exciting social content, but whenever you find yourself doing something different or a little adventurous (going for a hike in a new location, or trying out a cool recipe), make an effort to record it.

Of course, “being interesting” doesn’t mean that you can’t do any kind of promo or marketing for your book. Obviously you’ll need to let your audience know when you’ve got a new book, when you’re running a sale or a giveaway, or even just when you reach an important milestone and want to celebrate it with friends and fans!

The important thing is that if you’ve built up an authentic audience, these bursts of news are going to be read by people who want to know about them. Especially if they’ve seen your progress as you’ve been prepping your book for release, the enthusiasm and support that follows will be a lot stronger and more effective than if you’d simply shouted into a disinterested void. I can’t even tell you how many authors I started following before they’d ever published, and eagerly pre-ordered their debut — so don’t dismiss the idea of building up your audience early.

What’s even better, the sort of audience you cultivate with genuine engagement is much more likely than a disengaged audience to tell other people about your books — and we all know that word of mouth is the best marketing of all!

So truly, if you’re ever feeling short on content to post to social media, just ask yourself: what would you talk about with a friend today? Because, in the end, that’s what you want each of your followers to feel like: a good friend.

Jenn Gott is an indie author and writer with Reedsy, so she basically spends all her time either writing books or helping people learn how to write books. She firmly believes there is no writing skill you cannot learn with practice and the right guidance. You’ll find her on her website and over on the Reedsy blog, where she covers topics ranging from writing craft to how to launch a book for the first time.

Relationship Marketing for Nonfiction Authors

Relationship marketing is used by many businesses. It focuses on customer retention and satisfaction. How can relationship marketing be used by nonfiction authors? First, let’s break down three aspects of relationship marketing.relationship marketing

  1. Customer retention

Businesses use relationship marketing to retain customers. As a nonfiction author, you want to retain your readers. We’ll discuss this in further detail in a bit.

  1. Customer satisfaction

Your customer is your reader. You want them to be satisfied with your product – your book – so they will tell others about it.

  1. Long-term customer

Keep them coming back for more – whether it’s for your next book or another service you offer.

Now we’ll discuss what those three aspects of relationship marketing mean to an author.

  1. Reader retention

How do you keep your readers coming back for more? As a nonfiction author, there are several ways you can do this. First, of course, is to be sure you’ve written something of real value. Then write another book, and another, and another is possible. Other ways you can keep them coming back is to create other products or services around your book. Perhaps you can create workbook around your book, host a webinar course, create a workshop. Put on your creativity cap and brainstorm ideas with a friend.

  1. Reader satisfaction

Those 5-star ratings at Amazon are a great indication of reader satisfaction. Encourage readers to leave reviews by mentioning at the end of your book. When you sell books in-person or mail a book out, include a sheet with tips on how to leave a review on Amazon. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. It will happen. Don’t dwell on it; move on. Think like your reader and find out what they need so you can make the next book even better.

  1. Long-term customer, or reader

You don’t just want a reader to buy your book once and never come back. The goal is for them to become a long-term customer, or reader. They should want to buy future books, purchase more books as gifts for friends, or purchase another service you offer.

How can you build relationship marketing into your marketing plan? There are three steps:

  1. Make connections

LinkedIn is a great place to start making connections. First step, upload your contacts from your computer and start connecting. Search for and join groups related to your book’s topic. Connect with members of those groups. This is also a great place to connect with influencers in your industry, media persons, and others you may want to collaborate with.

  1. Build on those relationships

Don’t just connect; deepen those relationships. Invite your new connections to connect by phone and get to know one another. Listen to them, find out what their needs are, who their ideal client is. In turn they will do the same. I’ve done this consistently for a few years now and have made some great connections where we now refer prospects to one another.

  1. Collaborate with others

Once you’ve built those relationships, you’ll be in a much better position to collaborate with them. You may find another author whose book complements your own. Perhaps you can do a workshop together, or a virtual event (webinar), or refer to one another. Building relationships and collaborating encourages word of mouth – the best referral you could get.

Relationship marketing takes time and effort. It’s well worth it. It results in more readers because the readers you have will come back for more and tell others about you, your book, and your services.

For more great marketing tips from some of the world’s best marketers, check out this article at Insane Growth, particularly the social media marketing tip from Neal Schaffer.

Paint-by-Numbers: Instagram

Part of a series

Hubspot’s research on social media usage patterns reveals that people generally use Instagram for bonding.

What does that mean in an author’s marketing environment?

Bonding

Instagram users post images and videos that reflect how they see themselves, and who they want to be. It’s emotional content, warm and fuzzy, often humorous, designed to make them closer to their friends, family, and other followers.

They follow others not only to bond but to discover new trends.

What to Do

  • Create visual content that reflects your personality as an author
  • Ensure that your posts are emotion-based
  • Use appropriate humor
  • Respond to your followers’ posts with likes and the occasional comment

What NOT to Do

  • Don’t get deeply informational
  • Don’t be unnecessarily negative; keep it warm and fuzzy
  • Don’t pitch, push, or sell; this is not the place

How the Instagram Feed Algorithm Works in 2019

The Instagram algorithm is like a Rubik’s cube. There are a near infinite number of possible combinations, and if you don’t have specific instructions you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to solve it.

Now, no one completely understands how it works other than Instagram, but from what Instagram and other experts in the field have told us, we put together a quick instruction manual you can use to get the best possible results out of the Instagram algorithm in 2019.

Here’s a no-nonsense breakdown of how the Instagram feed algorithm works in 2019:

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… more … “How the Instagram Feed Algorithm Works in 2019”

Taming the Ever-Evolving Monster of Social Media Marketing

mathew-schwartz-418954-unsplashWhen I talk to clients about social media I call it an ever-evolving monster. It’s always changing. For many authors, it feels like they are battling a dragon. They have a difficult time trying to figure out what to do on social media and how to do it. If they do get it figured out, then it changes. The rules change, a new platform comes out, different image sizes are required. What worked best last year doesn’t work this year. There’s a myriad of information on what to do and it can be overwhelming.

Is it possible to slay this ever-evolving monster? How? In my experience the monster constantly rears its ugly head. You can’t control each social media platform and the changes they make. Though you can’t slay the monster, you can tame it. It just takes understanding some basics.

Social media will change. Be prepared for it.

Once you accept that change will occur, it will be easier to accept it and do whatever needs to be done to change with it. Prepare by crafting messages with ongoing value – evergreen content. Know that you may have to create images of various sizes if you want them to appear their best on each platform.

Feel free to experiment. What another author does successfully may work for you – or it may not. Try various strategies and see what works best for you. You don’t have to be active everywhere. It’s much better to focus on one platform and get it down than to start by trying to do it all everywhere. Social media marketing is a case where being sharply pointed is far better than being well rounded.

To be effective at taming the ever-evolving monster of social media marketing, you might consider hiring someone to do it WITH you. Notice I did not say hire someone to do the marketing FOR you. No one can market your book for you as effectively as you can. You know your topic, your point of view, better than anyone else. However, you can work WITH someone to help you disseminate your message and to provide social media guidance and advice.

If you’d like assistance establishing and dialing in your social media, we can help you get it ready to manage it yourself. Check out our 4 Week Social Media Head Start program.