I think the best advice I’ve ever had on social networking is to be patient. The internet has led us to expect instant gratification. If we have a question, we hop on the internet and get an answer – instantly. If we want to connect with someone we do so – instantly. But when developing a following and turning that following into tangible book sales, social networking is anything but instant. It takes months. Several months. And that means months of regular work; making your social network marketing a part of your daily schedule.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Once you get into the routine, you’ll find that you can handle your networking in less than half an hour a day.
Social networking allows us to connect with people around the world and personally tell them about our books. It allows the typical shy writer who is uncomfortable with the public spotlight to make connections and develop relationships without ever leaving the comfort of home. It allows us to tell the world about our latest books without spending a lot of money. Of course, it can also be confusing and overwhelming to the beginning social networker.
When we think about social media, we often limit it to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but don’t forget blogging, YouTube, MeetUp, Pinterest and a host of other sites aimed at specific niche markets. It takes time to do social networking well, and as more and more sites spring up, it just isn’t possible to be on them all. The best plan is to pick a few of the most popular general sites and really work at them consistently, then look at sites that are favorites with your target readers.
Which Sites Will Work for You?
A personal Facebook page is where you share about you, but you should also consider a Facebook page for your book. If you are writing fiction or nonfiction for a general audience, this is a very good idea. If you have a professional or academic book, skip this site and spend your time on LinkedIn, a site that is more professional than Facebook.
Pinterest is a visual site that uses pictures and graphics in much the same way that you might organize a scrapbook. Pinterest’s users are 75 percent female, so it is worth taking the time to learn how to use effectively if your audience is women. Use YouTube for book trailers advertising your book, short informative or instructional videos that show your expertise in your subject and as a speaker. Twitter is a way to draw attention to posts and videos on other sites. Its short messages make it perfect for a quick “teaser headline” directing people to a longer piece of information.
Many people forget about blogging when they discuss social networking, but it is a very important part of the equation for an author. Blogging is, after all, an online journal, and many writers are avid journal-writers. Because of this, a blog can become a place where writers experiment and spark their creativity by getting into the habit of writing on a daily basis.
Blogging, however, has an advantage over a private journal. Bloggers can also get feedback from their readers and promote their next books by posting book excerpts, writing generally about their subject, reposting articles and other bloggers’ insights on their topic, becoming known in their field and increasing their search engine rankings.
Writing a blog is not that different from other types of writing. You want people to read your blog, just as you want them to find your book, buy it and read it. Use Twitter to bring your followers to your blog.
Not only should you be blogging on your own website, you should also consider guest blogging or blogging on a site such as SheWrites or writing reviews on sites like GoodReads and Shelfari. Find out which blogs and social networking sites your target readers frequent and make sure that you are on those sites, also.
Whichever sites you pick, remember to visit them frequently, at least several times a week. And don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks or even months to see results. Remember that patience and persistence are the keys to social networking success.