Partnering to Raise Your Profile
Partnering to Raise Your Profile was a panel discussion focused on social media strategies for amping up discoverability and engaging your online “street team” to buy and encourage others to buy your books.
The first question to panel members was to name the number one bullet in their marketing arsenal. With all the social media options available—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Instagram, LinkedIn, Shelfari, Tumblr, Amazon author page, Google+, etc.—where did they suggest focusing one’s time and energy?
Barbara said the best strategy is to write a lot of good books. The next best strategy is keywords, making sure you have the right keywords on all your retail sites and profile pages. Putting links to your social media sites in the back of e-books is a good idea as well.
Julianne said her big gun is her newsletter. She’s been building her numbers over the years and suggested that a newsletter be about the reader. “Don’t make it all about me, me, me. Make it about your readers. Do you love Highlanders? Then you’ll love...” She gives away a free book or a link to a friend’s free book so readers will look forward to her newsletter, and includes a bit of personal and entertaining information, not just “buy my book.”
Patrick encouraged authors to write a blog to keep their name in front of readers and maintain that relationship between books.
Thubten suggested jumping from space on live TV to get that social media rolling. If that isn’t your cup of tea, he encouraged engagement with readers in your own voice, in real time via a blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube videos... Being authentic is critical. Either that, or create an authentic character to sell your books, then respond on Facebook, etc. as your character.
Dan said there is no better time to be an author in terms of tools, services, and programs and encouraged experimenting to find your niche of readers.
Julianne runs a monthly contest in which she gives away Kindle gift cards, or something else book-related, such as one of her own books. She does not give away chocolates or non-book related items as she is interested in connecting with readers, not contest junkies. Barbara added that readers understand that they are signing up for her newsletter when they leave their email address for a free book.
Patrick suggested Goodreads giveaways three months before a new book is released to give readers a taste, remind them what’s coming, get reviews (which are syndicated to a number of other sites), generate pre-release buzz, and encourage readers to add the book to their bookshelves for all their friends to see.
This increases sales as everyone who enters a giveaway, whether they win the book or not, will get a notice when the book is published. Alas, only print books are eligible for giveaway at the moment.
The goal of social media is to connect with readers, keep them engaged going forward, create a habit of them coming to you again and again. Dan stated that Neil Gaiman has become a daily habit for many of his readers via his blog, and MJ Rose is a pioneer in leveraging the digital space for her books and the stories behind them.
Thubten pointed out that Julie Ortolon and Julie Kenner have done a terrific job of engaging readers on Facebook with comment trails that can include up to 50 people. It’s important for writers to keep the ball rolling with comments. These comment trails help with visibility as Facebook looks for levels of engagement.
In discussing whether to highlight brand profile or personal information, Patrick stated that Colson Whitehead does a nice job on Twitter of being entertaining without revealing anything about his actual life.
Apparently, it helps if you are incredibly witty, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Tweet about things related