Truth 1: Social media is not a good way to find new readers.
How many times have you seen an advertisement on social media and then clicked on it and purchased the product? Probably not that often. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have revolutionized how we communicate with each other.
Early on, there were few restrictions on these platforms. You could set up groups by interest and post to them in an unlimited fashion. You could post to your timeline and try to entice others to purchase your products.
Over time, however, platforms like Facebook have imposed fairly stringent rules around what can be posted where and the frequency of those postings. I used to spend hours each day posting information about my books in book related groups. I would copy and paste the same post over and over.
Facebook sought to curtail this kind of activity putting it in the category of spam. Currently, if you post the same information in multiple groups, you will find yourself in what I lovingly call Facebook Jail with your ‘privilege’ of posting to groups suspended for a period of time that is determined through some double-secret Facebook algorithm.
I believe that much of this is to drive you toward paid advertising. Facebook and to a certain extent, Twitter, have robust tools to help you build advertisements that will be seen by many. I have used them and have found that the cost, a minimum of $5 per day, can mount quickly and the payback does not indicate a great return on investment. If you forget you’re running an ad, you will quickly see your charges from Facebook climb.
Although I’ve likely picked up some new readers using these methods, I don’t believe that the numbers are significant.
Truth 2: Social media is a pretty good way to engage existing fans.
Setting up accounts for your author persona on the various social media outlets is an important plank in establishing your author platform. It’s an easy way to set up support among your fans and encourage them to recruit new fans.
There is also a great deal of ease in linking your social media outlets together. WordPress is a prime example of a platform that allows you to link your blog posts to multiple social media outlets and simultaneously alert friends and followers.
I have found this to be a successful way to spread the word of what I’m working on while maximizing my time and effort.
The important aspect of using social media in this way is to leverage the spread of information by your existing fans. When an author is constantly promoting their own work, it can come across as spammy. When the word is spread by others, this can be the most effective mode of promotion. The Internet and its social media platforms have given word-of-mouth exponential power.
Truth 3: Social media is a great way to connect with influencers and other authors
When I started out as an independent author, I viewed other authors in my genre, and in other genres, as my competition. I came from a traditional corporate background where everyone that is producing the same product as you is your competition.
I have made a complete turnaround from that thinking. All it took was attending my first author event. I discovered that we are all in this together and we can all help each other. There are authors in the indie community that have varying levels of experience and success. There are plenty of readers to go around. If we help each other improve the quality of what we have to offer, we will all succeed.
So, what are your thoughts on these three truths of social media? Am I on to something or am I off base?