This guest post is by J. Steve Miller of Sell More Books!.
I studied the right books and attended the right seminars. I gave my strategy time. Yet, few followed my blog and I could trace scant book sales (my main reason for blogging) to my social media efforts. Could it be—dare I suggest—that building a social media following simply wasn’t the best use of my time, given my unique passions, strengths, subject matter, and goals?Gathering a following works marvelously for some. But is there proof that it can work for everyone in every industry?
I think I’ve identified twelve such scenarios. Consider these three.
1. When time is limited
Like most debut authors, Danny Kofke has a day job and a family. To market his book, he wakes up early to use these precious minutes emailing media to suggest interviews. He links them to his one-page, static (no regular posts) blog, which functions as a press page, highlighting his past interviews, including USA Today and CNN. Readers and viewers can spread the word through their own social networks.
It works for Danny, given his personality, his topic (personal finance for school teachers) and his limitations. For Danny, pursuing a following would consume too much time.
J.R.R. Tolkien taught full-time and wrote after putting his children to bed. Had social media existed in his time, and if he spent that time on Facebook and Twitter, could he have written Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?
2. When another marketing approach may work better
I know a restaurant owner who outsells all his fellow franchises. His secret? He spends hours away from the restaurant each day, building relationships with local businesses to promote his catering services.
Imagine that his marketing time is limited to two hours. Could we tell him with any degree of certainty that he’d be better off spending those hours trying to build a following on social media? If so, based upon what evidence?
3. When your social media following will not likely be your customers
An agent urges her debut mystery writer to build a social media following with a blog. Her topic? Something to do with writing. Her competition? Thousands of writers competing for the same audience. Her challenges?
- Who wants to follow a writer who’s not already successful?
- Would her followers more likely be mystery readers (her target), or mystery writers?
So perhaps your dismal results don’t mean you’re a social media moron. Maybe people in your industry simply don’t want regular insights, or your target audience doesn’t tend to follow social media, or you don’t relish the research required to become a true thought leader.
Alternative social media approaches
If building a following isn’t working for you, consider a few of the principles that guide my personal book marketing strategy.
Consider quality over quantity
Sometimes I wonder if “the next big thing” just might be, well, “small.” Some gurus are cutting back, using Twitter and Facebook to connect with only their most valuable contacts—those they truly enjoy and learn from. In your case, could 150 significant Facebook friends trump 1,000 Facebook contacts who blabber incessantly about meaningless trivialities?
Let others praise you, rather than praise yourself
A Gallup study of over 17,000 social media users found that people don’t typically buy our products when we’re doing the selling. Instead, they trust independent experts and customer reviews. I find niche forums and offer free books for review, so that my Amazon pages are persuasive and the resulting fans can spread the word through their social networks.
Go where people already gather, rather than gather a crowd around yourself
Shiv Singh, social media guru for PepsiCo, considers the holy grail of social influence marketing to be identifying and harnessing the influencers in your field. For my personal finance book, I found the top 200 personal finance blogs and offered a free book for review and another for a giveaway. My sales increased 300%, and the tactic was both cost- and time-effective.
Consider your strengths and passions, rather than assuming you can replicate any marketing scheme
A Gallup study of over two million people in the workplace suggested that we’re typically miscast in our roles. Instead, we should identify and concentrate on our strengths. If your strengths and passions incline you to blogging, Facebook and Twitter, you may do well building followings there. But if it’s a chore that you endure solely to sell your products, don’t be surprised if you make little impact. Choose methods that fit your unique passions and strengths.
Ideas? Objections? Experiences? Please interact with me below!
This is a guest post by J. Steve Miller, author of Sell More Books! and Social Media Frenzy:Consider These Alternative Social Media Strategies. He is president of Legacy Educational Resources, offering character and life skills resources to teachers and schools.