Years ago, Renee Pawlish gave me much food with her excellent post on the challenges of online book promotion. In it, she mentions two resources that highlight word-of-mouth and reviews as the only ways to sell books.
I agree and disagree with that. Social media promotion does work. If it doesn’t, it probably has to do with strategy.
Over the years, I have seen hundreds of indie artists in action across social networks. When I worked as a journalist, I interviewed many. One thing I noticed right away is this: A majority of them couldn’t tell you who their audience is if you asked them.
As a result, those artists don’t know where these audiences like hanging out. And their accounts feature monologues and self-promotion ad nauseam. There is no storyline built around their work.
As Dan Blank says in “I Tried Facebook, It Didn’t Work” And Other Ways Authors Mistake Social Media For Publicity (an article that every author should read), “The basics still matter, and those authors who leverage social media best are those who focus on the basics of understanding, caring about, and truly engaging with their audience.”
Actually, this is a global problem. Many small businesses and solopreneurs have no idea to whom they are selling.
Posting cute pictures or videos and inspirational quotes on your Facebook page is a great idea. People love them. However, their decision to follow you on social networks or subscribe to your blog stems from high expectations. They have questions that need answers and want you to show them why your product or service is the RIGHT fit for THEM.
To quote Dan again: “Maybe you are an author who writes just to write. I love that, and support you 100%. But if you are someone who wants to have an effect – who wants to develop an audience for your work and actually sell books – make an effort to learn about your audience. Focus on the basics, not the buttons.”
In this era of hyper social media activity and competition, hard work, commitment, and patience are of the essence.
- Yes, Facebook currently has 1.49 billion monthly active users. But it doesn’t mean that your audience is there. Your job is to try and find them.
- Social networks are not uniform. Learn the fundamentals of each.
- Take the time to educate yourself on marketing, branding, and strategy.
- A Jack of all trades is often a master of none. Aim for specific expertise instead.
- Cut the “me me me” approach. Curate content from other sources too.
- Keep an open mind and learn the value of diversification.
- Set realistic goals.
- Stop lowering your standards. Study your market and act accordingly.
Attention spans may have gotten shorter, basic needs remain the same. People use social media to entertain themselves and connect with like-minded folks and companies run by caring entrepreneurs.
That’s what it means to have a social business in 2015.
Now, it is your time to talk. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.