Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guest Blogger Autumn Birt: Putting the Social Back in Social Networking

 Putting the Social Back in Social Networking
It is not about the numbers. If what drives your marketing campaign is reaching 1000 Likes on Facebook, 5k followers on Twitter, or simply selling 10,000 books, well there are businesses that claim they will get you that. Give them your money and it will happen. When it does, get back to me and let me know how you feel. I’m guessing it won’t be everything you dreamed.

I won’t say marketing doesn’t have anything to do with numbers. Quantitative results are easy to digest. They are driven into us at a young age so that reaching a goal is equated with hitting a number, normally a large number. I understand that.

But would you rather have 100 followers who ignore everything you say or 10 that retweet, talk to you, and may actually read or have read your book? That is an easy answer for me. But then, I would define myself as a qualitative person.

If my goal was simply monetary, I’d probably be at a casino instead of writing. I wonder what the stats are on that: the chance of winning at a gambling table versus making it to the bestsellers list with one book out? My bet is on the chips and not the keyboard!

If you listen to the well established Indie authors you will hear them say that the chance of immediate success is about nil. It takes time to build a following, it takes multiple books, and it takes consistency in quality and originality. The rest is pure luck.

That is about as comforting as hearing the best way to lose weight is to reduce how much you eat and exercise, but they are both hard truths. Swallow it down and get over it.

Then take note that those same established authors are out there beating the marketing pavement and feel that cold seed grow in your gut. The marketing never ends!

Okay, go get a good dose of alcohol to drown that realization in and then we’ll continue.
The interesting thing about the perpetual marketing required of Indie authors is that it means there are well established authors you can watch and learn from. Isn’t imitation the best form of flattery?

Another nifty thing about marketing is that since there is no sure-fire way to get to the top (other than be good, work hard, produce lots of great novels, and find a way to tell everyone without turning them off) is that the potential for you to discover something that works really well is always possible. That smart mouthed shout out on Twitter might just net you a 1000 followers. The person who looks over your shoulder as you scribble plot notes between meetings might be your next big break. In marketing at least, the playing field is pretty level, especially for the inventive. It is also constantly changing. No set strategy will remain productive. Shout the same thing every day and people will tune you out. It is like nagging. I’m really good at ignoring nagging. A good marketing strategy should constantly evolve (this may explain the no tried and true path to success). Hey, at least you won’t get bored with it.

So this has become the slogan of my marketing campaign: quality over quantity. I do set milestones for myself. The next 10 or 50 new followers, reaching 500 will be great! But these just give me a small carrot to run for (and a reason to celebrate. I really like to celebrate). I’m also pacing myself for a marathon of marketing for the rest of my life (after that someone else can take over barring the zombie apocalypse. In that case I’ll keep running the marketing campaign).

The real core of my marketing though is something else entirely. I’m trying to be the best follower that I can. Really. Isn’t it awesome when someone retweets or likes a post? Better yet, comments? Oooh, or reads your book, loves it, and tells the world in multiple ways? I love those people. I love them so much I’m trying to be one. Good karma will come back around and at the very least, it gives me something else to talk about. No one wants to hear a writer talk about their work 24/7. People tend to avoid those sorts of people. Not a good marketing strategy.

So, if you see me online, say hi. Or I might just say hi. If you need something, let me know. I’ll see if I can help or if I know someone who can. I want every Indie author to hone their skills and write awesome books that set souls (especially the writer’s) on fire. Isn’t that what it is really all about?

Follow Autumn on Twitter  @Weifarer or check out her website and check out her books on AMAZON

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