In my last blog, I discussed the different types of Social Media Platforms that you could use. In this blog, I will discuss how to start goals for your Author Marketing Platform.
You wrote a whole book, that should've been the hard part. I promise, I'm going to try to make the whole "business" part as easy as possible. Social Media is a great, and oftentimes necessary, way to build your platform as an author. You've created your social media sites, posted a few pictures, made some friends, but now what?
You're a writer. So you're either a plotter, like me or a pantser. Whichever your writing style, you didn't start your book with no idea about your characters, setting, or genre. If you don't start your book without directions or goals, why would you start your author platform without them?
You need to set goals, remember, they need to be SMART goals!
By setting goals for yourself, you give yourself attainable stepping stones into consistently increasing your Author Platform. This will earn you long term awareness and relationships with readers which, in turn, will get your book into more hands.
So, what sort of goals should you set? Obviously, your goal is to sell your book? So your social media goals will be to tell people to buy your book? Right? Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
I have some bad news for you: If your ONLY goal from social media is to sell your book, you are not going to make long-term sales.
If you see the entire Facebook community as an empty billboard begging for pictures of their book -- see the "What's on your mind?" message as a challenge to find a way to make sales pitch 374 different from pitch 239 -- subscribe to group after group with the sole purpose of slapping your book up on their advertising days -- compete in a mental gymnastics tournament to find the most creative way to plop the link to your book in everybody else's birthday posts, engagement announcements, and gender reveals --
You are probably selling books, but they're likely selling them to a close circle of friends. Endless self-promotion is not effective for growing a following, it will not engage new readers, it might even turn away old readers.
So, without further ado, here are some sample goals that span beyond "selling your book":
Increase Brand Awareness:
What is it?
Brand Awareness is how easily somebody can be aware of a brand, what they provide, and how the person feels about it. For example, when I see John Green, I recognize he is the author of The Fault in Our Stars, and I am aware that he is also the author of Looking For Alaska, Turtles All The Way Down, and is more than likely going to sucker punch me down a slip-n-slide of emotional turmoil. So there you have it, Brand Awareness for beginners.
How do I create Brand Awareness?
The good news is you can Create Brand Awareness both before and after your book has been published. Remember writing your book and all the feedback you got about "voice" in your writing? Kill two birds with one stone and use your voice in your social media as well as in your writing.
I have the weirdest sense of humor ever. I use it in my writing, why wouldn't I use it in my social media posts? Instead of saying "I write books with a bit of humor in them" I just make jokes, if people think I'm funny and personable, they're more likely to associate my content writing with by books and want to read something I've written. If they don't think I'm funny... well, that's why I'm writing reference books.
Goals for Brand Awareness
Your goals for Brand Awareness can be measured at how often people like/comment/share/tag or engage with your posts. Think of it like you're a friendly guy at a local bar, everybody knows you even if you don't necessarily know everybody when you walk through the bar you want as many people to say hi to you as possible. You want as many people to interact with your posts as possible.
Let me start this off by saying this is not getting *anybody* following you. A lot of people and authors buy followers, while this gets you big numbers, purchased followers are the Froot Loops of Social Media. Yeah, it'll fill you up, but it has no nutritional value what so ever. Buying followers does nothing but boost your follower count, and more followers =/= more engagement or sales. Instead of paying for followers, consider doing some more research and trying a strategy on your own.
How do I get Followers?
The short and simple answer is "put out consistent content that people like" but that's barely scratching the tip of the ice berg.
Here are some quick tips on how to get followers on social media:
Create a Social Media Calendar
Support other authors!
Like, comment, and follow other authors.
Invite people to like your Facebook and Instagram!
Goals for Followers:
Unfortunately, this spans beyond increasing your follower count. Remember my froot loops analogy? Try not to do things like buying followers or liking and unliking thousands of posts just to get the attention of a few people who probably won't buy your book anyway. You want to have followers who engage with your posts. While having a goal to get 10 new followers a week is very realistic, be sure to keep it in the back of your mind to have at least 30% of your followers engaging with your content. If you are not creating content that people engage with, you are not creating content that will grow your online platform.
I get it, we're all authors. We are introverts. We write so we don't have to talk to other people. Trust me, not only will this benefit you as an author, but it will benefit you as a business person and a regular person. You've got this. Also, if it's any consolidation, you don't even need to put on pants to make friends online.
How do I get social?
This is arguably the more fun part of social media marketing. Just go out and make friends! When you see an author has secured a book deal? Congratulate them! Another author is hosting a giveaway? Mention it on your blog. Be loud and be proud. You've mastered the word count in MS Word, now master it in the Facebook comment section.
Protip: If you're incredibly socially anxious like me, pretend to be one of your characters.
Goals for Getting Social
Reach out! be friendly! Try to comment on as many posts as you can. Be sure you're actually reading the posts you're commenting on and producing relevant comments. Simply putting three emojis underneath somebody asking for legitimate advice doesn't count as getting social.
Other people's content is not your Marketing Space. Unless a person has specifically requested for you to post a link or ad to your book, don't be rude and use their space to advertise yourself.
Promoting yourself through your social media isn't as tough as everybody makes it out to be. The first steps are to set attainable goals and to pace yourself.