Tag Archives: social media platforming

Social Media Marketing and a Slightly less confused Author

No this is NOT a selfie!!

 

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.”

Huh?

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 ryanattardauthor@gmail.com to get in touch. Remember to link me your reviews for a free short story.

Write epic, stay cool,

Ryan

The Platform and the Funnel – a marketing strategy

It’s that time again. You know, that special time of the year where you’re past waking up with a droopy smile because your book just came out. Imagine all those people carrying around copies of that novel you’ve been working on for the past few months (or years), and imagine them reading said novel – either during recess during class, or perhaps taking it with them to the beach or (and this one is by far my favorite) hiding it in their secret compartment in their office desk to read whilst pretending to work diligently for a boss who really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about their pension fund. Or maybe they have it hidden in a special file on their computer right next to that raunchy porn filled file labeled “tax returns 1997″.

All in all: happy times.

What I’m talking about now is past that, once all the joy of release (that sounded dirty) is over and you’re left with one pertinent thought that hunts your every waking moment and a few lightly ones too:

“How in the flying fuck am I going to get my book from [Enter bookstore of choice] to your eReader or hands?”

Let me translate – How are you going to get people to buy your book?

I am by no means an expert in marketing. I am however a book addict and I do pay attention to what others are doing. Half of marketing is observation and highlighting things of interest that might work for you.

The other half is stealing that shit and reworking it into something completely different.

See, I am not a marketer – I’m just too blunt and honest.

The key to success in this field seems to be in two ways: Platforming and Funneling.

OK, OK, stay with me here. Those are fancy words but don’t let them intimidate you. Like all magic tricks once you look past the awe and understand the mechanics then you are a magician.

Let’s start at the basics. When you think of selling, most of you will think of selling on a mass scale to millions of people.

Wrong.

That way of thinking will overwhelm you. The trick that no one tells you about (and I know this having spent an hour of my life trying to find articles explaining this) is that all you need are 1000 fans. 1000 people.

Not a million. Just a thousand.

But even that is a stretch. Start with a 100. Find 100 people who share similar tastes, who will for sure like what you write and BOOM – instant 100 fans.

Instead of hitting the masses, just target the people that know will be interested in what you have to say. And that, boys and girls, is what we call Funneling.

See? That easy.

Now Platforming is even easier. A platform is the place atop which you stand to project your voice. In marketing terms this is your Mecca, the central hub of the Matrix – where all things go in and come out from.

This will usually be a website or a bog or something that your fans will be directed to. There they shall find riches and glory – or in my case, this blog, a link to my books, a short bio and of course my podcast. Everything they need to stay on top of … well … me. (OK yes I heard it too.)

Moving on.

Of course, just having that won’t cut it. This platform should be the basis of your voice – and I do mean your artistic voice.

Most opt for a blog – it’s cheap and easy enough to maintain and all you really need is a couple of ideas and a really unique way in which to transmit them. One of the most successful bloggers I know is Shannon Thompson. What sets Shannon’s blog apart is sheer diversity. You never know what she’s gonna talk about but you know it’s simple, direct and easy on the eyes. Another blogger I am friends with is Amber Forbes. She flips the table – blogging only about a specific topic. AEC Stellar has the most unique platform I’ve ever seen. The Author Extension Community feeds on a pressing need for creative people to band together and help each other out. That way AEC’s blog is getting massive traffic and some good contacts – all the while helping out people. For zero profit.

My personal blog (this one) is a dual mix of some crazy idea or poem or story I have, but I keep those to a minimum (since I tend to grow my ideas like cacti and then put them in books I can sell.) Mostly my blog is about being a writer. I talk about idea generation, the emotional prospects, etc. And I also talk a lot about marketing. The twist is, I’m not a marketer. But have enough grasp of the subject and first hand experience to explain the key concepts in my own words.

That is, in my own voice.

But blogging is not the only answer. Further emulating the gods of Self-Publishing (Johnny, Sean and Dave of the Self-Publishing Podcast) I started my own podcast, The Lurking Voice. But I do not talk about marketing there – there’s a million and one podcasts that already do that. There is no need for me.

So I divided my podcast into 4 different types of episodes and looked for what works. I do book and movie reviews, I talk about a monster of the week, I discuss some marketing (usually preceded by a blog post like this one – take a guess as to what the next episode on Thursday is gonna be on?) and, most important, I interview authors. I ask them about their childhood influences and their past. I ask them about their first attempts at being creative. I ask them about their writing schedule. I ask them about their interaction with fans. Then I ask them more random crap.

That is, unless we go off on a tangent. Which is still cool.

Creative people LOVE talking about themselves and their projects – and they love GOOD conversations. That’s what my podcast is. A voice about voices.

Aside from that shameless bit of self-promotion (just kidding – I have no shame) the point to that example is to show you that finding your voice is the building material for a platform.

Find you voice and build a platform – a base of operations. Target people who you know are your audience. Start off with a 100. Then a 1000. Interact with those people. Not your agent or your assistant (are you listening traditionally published people?) – YOU.

Be a human talking to other humans. Form bonds.

Because guess what? If people know you on a deeper level than just a Like on Facebook, or a retweet on Twitter, then they are more invested in you.

They will bookmark your site (platform). They will circle the date in their calendar of when your next release or giveaway will be. They will comment on your posts and share your tweets – thereby earning you more traffic and thus, more visibility. They will join your mailing list (more on that in the next post).

They will be your fans.

OK, I’ve rambled on enough for one day. (Yeah no shit. It’s called a blog ‘post’ not the fucking Declaration of Independence.)

Sigh. You know it’s time to bow out when you start heckling yourself. I hope you found this post somewhat useful.

See you at the top,

Ryan

 

Here are some websites for you to check out:

50 Simple Ways to build your Platform in 5 minutes a Day

What is a Writer’s Platform?

5 things you can learn about email marketing from the most interesting man in the world

5 content marketing strategies for small business

5 successful marketing strategies for fiction authors (this one is by Joanna Penn – I so want this woman on my podcast)

5 low cost social media marketing strategies for authors

 

Although, honestly, the best source for all this is Write. Publish. Repeat. They don’t pay me to tell you this – they are just that awesome.