By Dean Hua
< ![endif]–>A Primer to Social Media Marketing on Facebook for Book Authors
Like many other businesses, book authors are flocking to various social media communities such as Facebook and Myspace. They want to leverage these sites as best as possible to give more exposure to their books. But too many are lost and lack both direction and strategy as to how to best use these communities.
The following is a primer for authors to use Facebook as a viable social media marketing tool.
Before we get into specific methods and activities to use on Facebook, there are five principles that any book author should adhere to in the social media space. It is important you are aware of these fundamentals as they make up the foundation of success in social media.
It’s not about you. It’s about the community. Too many overzealous marketers forget this principle when it comes to social media. They focus too much on promoting themselves at the risk of ignoring the needs of their users. Your followers have a voice that want to be heard. Create initiatives that allow your users to voice their thoughts and opinions on your work. Try to focus on their needs while simultaneously meeting yours.
- Be sociable. It’s not called social media for nothing, folks. This means that you shouldn’t just upload photos of your latest book tours or just promote the book on your Facebook profile. Be personal and allow those connected to you to see some personal stuff of you. In the world of social media, it helps to be three-dimensional.
- Think long term and be consistent. Don’t quit after a few days of work. Social media is a relatively new field. You have to continually test and benchmark various initiatives before you start to see results.
- Focus on user generated content. Much of the successful social media strategies today focus on allowing the end user to generate the content for us. There are too many authors who ignore or don’t realize how much power their users have in contributing to their work. Look for ways where you can get the community to do the work for you.
- Focus on multiple generations of users. Many of the failed social media strategies today are a result of marketers focusing on their first generation users. Successful strategies rely heavily on getting the first generation of users to continue to spread the message to their network and getting that network to spread it to their network. Hence, don’t just market to friends but to friends of friends of friends. As they say in networking, it’s not who you know, but it’s who they know.
Now that we’ve listed the basis tenets of successful social media strategies, let’s get into specific activities that authors can use on the Facebook platform.
1. Create a Facebook page for your book. One of the first things that you should do is create your own Facebook page so that readers can become fans of the book. A page is simply a mini site on Facebook that is dedicated to the product or service that you are selling. Various features to a page are the ability to post videos, messages, pictures, and links to your page. Your work doesn’t stop once you created the page.
Creating a presence is the first step to creating a community. You need to continually nurture and build this community by adding new outreach initiatives and content. Add a question to the message board to encourage participation. Encourage users to add content such as photos, links, and video. Use the page to notify fans of new promotions and contests that you are running. Make it so that people are rewarded for becoming a fan and spreading the word about your book and work.
A great example of a company using a Facebook page is Victoria’s Secret. This is their page;
They have over 300,000 fans to date and over 1,200 discussions to date.
They offer freebies such as allowing you to download wallpapers and AOL Instant Messenger Icons.
Users post messages to the discussion boards with many of them running well over a 1000 posts.
The big mistake that most authors make is that they create the page to promote the book, but only target the first generation of users. For example, they only target their message towards the initial members or users of the community. This creates very little if any type of viral effect.
Remember- this is the Internet and messages can become very viral on the World Wide Wow. We want to leverage the tools on the web to ensure that our message will continue to reverberate throughout the web. The message should continue to carry from one person to the next and to the next rather than immediately stopping at the first person we target. We maximize how far our message will carry in this manner.
2. Create a group. Some authors may think that you should automatically create the group after the book itself. This may not always be true. It can be more effective to create a group that the focuses on the topic that what the book is about.
If the book is about a new trend in marketing for small businesses, then create a group around the topic itself and not the book. The trick here is that you are using the topic to indirectly funnel and give exposure to your book. I know that in the minds of many authors, they think that their book can solve a particular problem, as is the case in popular non-fiction categories such as business, relationships, and self-help. While this may be true, you will find that today’s consumers hate being pitched to. They don’t want to be sold any more things. If they see another group that focuses on a person’s wares, then they run away. Think not what you can do for your book, but what you can do for people.
Equipped with this understanding, you want to create a group that focuses on their needs and current challenges and yet still manages to keep you top of mind.
If you have a very popular book, then you can probably get away with creating a group around the book itself. But with a book that is an upstart, then you have to think more creatively and laterally as to how to leverage a Facebook group to your advantage. Whether the author wants to create a group that focuses on the book or a topic that is close in nature to the book is ultimately a judgment call. This relies heavily on the author to think creatively and strategically about this.
Come back on Thursday for Part 2 …
H. Dean Hua is Chief Web Evangelist of Sachi Studio- a web design and online marketing consultancy. He helps book authors develop a remarkable online presence by focusing on websites, blog designs, best practices in blogging for authors, and exploring how book authors can use Facebook as a viable social media tool. http://www.sachistudio.com
Dean can be reached on the web at www.sachistudio.com.