As I keep saying over and over again, I am by no means an expert on the subject of marketing or social media. I am starting to think that no one really is: understanding social media is understanding how the modern Homo Sapien (x3) brain works. Worst yet, social media is the looking glass to human interaction – anthropology at it’s best and worst.
If you ever meet someone who say they are an expert, most likely they either very good at one specific area or just full of horse shit.
I say this because of the disheartening effect marketing can have on nascent creative minds. If you have my temperament, merely thirty minutes on Google researching this subject will make you reevaluate every step that has brought you here.
Take my word for it – it happens to the best of us. This is how the weak are weeded out. Those who give up would not have survived in our cutthroat world, so perhaps it was for the best.
But to you, the survivor, I have some good news. There is a way you can actually make marketing fun. Just make it about connections and about getting in touch with people rather than just getting figures and numbers in line. It’s more effective and lasts longer anyways.
If you chose to delve into the social media world (this is today’s topic, so as to talk in detail about one thing rather than touch upon many and never go in depth) you will find a myriad articles detailing how one such company works versus the other failing. Specifically you may have heard the one about Facebook ads and how ineffective they are.
The simple truth that most people fail to see is that such statements are neither right nor wrong. Human psychology is never black and white – so how do we expect to judge social interaction (even over the internet) within such parameters? This is simply a matter of perspective.
Let’s take the Facebook ads example. Many independent businessmen (and women), including many with whom I work with rather intimately, are staunch believers that one should NEVER buy ad space on social media. There’s a hundred and one reason why and I won’t discuss any here. A variety of articles have been written on the subject by people who are vastly more knowledgeable than I am in this particular regard.
However the question I beg to ask is – if the lone businessman is avoiding Facebook ads, then why are they still in existence? Surely Facebook isn’t blind to this speculation, so why is it wasting time and effort in this venue?
Today (a few hours ago actually) I happened to be talking to one of my training partners who held a job in a marketing department at a Maltese-British firm. The conversation took many roundabout turns (as they tend to do when I am involved in them) but the gist was “a great tool for marketing is buying ad space on known sites or just rent affiliates.”
If there’s one thing that corporations know how to do is keep their money and mine their resources. Surely they won’t waste their money on something that is a known ‘dead horse’. Fact of the matter is, yes, big companies use social media marketing and paid ads, but they also run different campaigns.
This is exactly like being a conductor for an orchestra. I’ve never been one but bear with me on this metaphor. You can either swing your hands at random and hope that what comes out is magic (it can happen but it’s a 1% chance, and what’s the chance of that 1% being you?).
Or you could have different sections start at different times, working together in sync. That is how your social media strategy should work. It’s common sense when you think about it.
Let me give you an example using my recent strategy for Birthright. I explained all this on my latest podcast episode but let’s roll the tape again:
– I bought Facebook page ads for 5 bucks a day for a week
– I bought Twitter ads for 5 days (maximum they offer)
I made the above two run together and this gave me overlap value. Basically I’m bombarding potential customers from both fronts. They go on Twitter – BAM, I’m there. They go on Facebook – BAM, there again.
This is what I call Stage 1. My aim here is to create a wave (now we’re switching onto a surfing metaphor – yet another thing I have no idea how to do). Social Media is great for an initial spike in sales and numbers but will not sell by itself. In fact I would go as far as to call this part a failed experiment – the fault is entirely mine here. I set too high a standard on this stage. I am seeing a significant rise in sales, but it’s not yet where I want it to be.
But no matter. Live and learn. I’ll know better for next time – which will be in a few months for my next series.
Stage 1 will not do anything long term. Enter Stage 2.
This is pretty simple, and yet, the most crucial part of it all. The mailing list.
I put together a list of everyone who ever reviewed my work and plan to send them an email with something along the lines of “You liked book 1 and asked for Book 2. The wait is over – enjoy.”
In this manner I am personally interacting with these people and making potential life-long fans. Think about it – you review a book you like. Perhaps you asked the author a question during the launch party. Perhaps you ‘liked’ a post or a tweet they put up. How would you feel if you got an email from that author, saying thank you for your support and give you a free review copy of the new novel to put on your blog?
And better yet, how would you feel if, just by posting a review and sending him the link to it, he will give you yet another free story?
I’m will to bet real money (my career actually – literally) that you’ll like that guy, and you will remember him.
It will encourage you to interact more, exchange emails, tweets, comments – perhaps even blog material. Perhaps that author will also leave a review for your novel.
See where I’m getting at here? Connections.
Of course, I am thinking long term here. I fully plan to build this list so much that it’ll become a subscriber list but that’s maybe two years down the line. Hopefully less.
There is a Stage 3, but that is so long term it spans years. This is basically where my core fans reach such a level of numbers and intensity that my hours spent on marketing will be cut in half or more, simply because my fans will do the job for me – just by buying the book and leaving a review.
On a mass scale.
Just in case you’re wondering, yes there is a little ‘evil genius’ in me. However, my endgame has always been completely sincere: I want to sell you stories.
Better yet, I want you to get them at the lowest rate possible. Even better, I want to oversell to you – by giving you free short stories with at least every book. Once I have enough material, I will think of some way were you can get a set of my books for free – just for joining my list and checking out my stuff.
As I said at the very beginning, I am no expert. But I do know that building real connections with my readers is the only way to move forward and have a long lasting career.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Check out some of my other posts here on the site or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch. Remember to link me your reviews for a free short story.
Write epic, stay cool,