When I tell aspiring authors they must get involved with social media, they almost always cringe. Much like blogging, they just don’t want to do it. They don’t see the purpose, they don’t understand how to make it relevant to their books and their work as writers, and they see it as enormously time-consuming.
Yet, today social networking and blogging make up a huge part of building an author’s platform. Without a platform, you likely will not land a literary agent or a traditional publishing contract. You also will not sell many self-published books.
Social networking also has become the mainstay of book promotion. The most successful authors use it daily, if not hourly, to sell books.
Publicity expert Joan Stewart, best known as The Publicity Hound, knows all the ins and outs of social networking. When I decided I wanted a post for Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) that would encourage writers to get involved in social networking in a serious manner and that would tell them how to do so in a way that seem do-able, I immediately thought of Joan. I was thrilled when she agreed to my request and even more thrilled when I read her 11 tips. I learned some new things I’ll be putting to use soon. I hope you learn something, too.
Don’t just learn something, though. As Jeff Herring says, “Go use this stuff.”
11 Ways to Zig When Everyone Else is Zagging in Social Media
By Joan Stewart
OK, authors. No more excuses about why social networking turns into a time suck, bores you because you don’t care what people ate for lunch, and results in few book sales.
Here are 11 tips, tools and tricks designed to save your sanity, save your time and pull potential book buyers into your circle.
1. Stop spending so much time tweeting about your personal life.
Instead, concentrate on your area of expertise, offering free, helpful advice. If you’ve written a book on how to save money on household expenses, share tips on household expenses. The only time you should be tweeting about what you ate for lunch is when you can explain how you saved money on the food you’re eating.
2. Repurpose your content for a variety of uses.
Social media turns into a time suck when you’re always creating content from scratch. Slice and dice a 700-word article you’ve written for EzineArticles.com into eight tweets. Cut and paste the answer you provided for someone on LinkedIn and turn it into a blog post. Take that slide show presentation you created for a webinar and share some of it at SlideShare.com or its for-fee service called LeadShare, which lets you capture leads.
3. Use an RSS reader to keep generating interesting content.
Subscribe to the RSS feeds at blogs and websites you respect, as long as the topics are of interest to your target audience. Every day, you’ll get a steady stream of helpful articles, videos and other content, right there in your RSS reader, so you don’t have to go hunting for it.
4. Schedule your tweets.
Use a program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to write a dozen or so tweets within, say, 20 minutes, and then schedule them to go out an hour or two apart throughout the day so it looks like you’re tweeting all day.
5. Use video to pull traffic.
Buy a Flip video camera or a Kodak Zi8 camera and start producing short videos of about two and a half minutes, and tie them into the topic of your book. Share tips and advice on a niche topic. Show people how to solve a problem. Then lead them to a page at your website where they can get more information.
6. Distribute your videos far and wide.
Use TubeMogul.com (free) to distribute your videos to a variety of video-sharing sites. Or invest in Traffic Geyser, a much more powerful subscription service that blasts your videos across the planet.
7. Share photos on Flickr.
Don’t forget about photos. If you own the rights to photos in your book, share them on Flickr (videos too). In fact, share any photos that tie into your topic, even if they aren’t included in your book.
8. Use online calendar sites.
Use the many online event calendars to announce your book-signings, meet-the-author events, trade fairs you’re attending and other news. AuthorDen.com, AuthorsandExperts.com, Eventful.com and Events366.com are all excellent sites for authors.
9. Collect email addresses whenever you can.
Facebook allows you to place an opt-in box on your pages so you can capture email addresses. Promise something enticing in return, like a free tips list, special report or “Top 10” list.
10. Help people find you.
Make sure your website explains where visitors can find you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media sites. Do this, too, on product packages, invoices, business stationery, even voicemail messages.
Writers don’t have any excuses for not blogging. Save time by doing a short interview with someone and then hiring a transcriber. Publish it to your blog as a Q&A. Another time-saver is a tape-recorder. Record yourself talking about a topic. Then upload the audio to your blog, write a short introductory paragraph or two, and you’ve got a blog post.
Those are my ideas. Now share yours. What are your favorite social media tips, tricks and tools for authors?
About the Author
Publicity expert Joan Stewart shares tips about how to promote yourself by dovetailing publicity in traditional media with social media. Subscribe to her popular weekly e-zine, The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week, at PublicityHound.com. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/PublicityHound.