Are You Heading For A Social Media Train Wreck?
This photograph was taken in 1895 at Montparnasse railway station in Paris. The train was running late, so the driver accelerated into the station to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, the brakes failed. The train jumped over the buffers and crashed through the rear of the station down onto the street below.
Note: This train crash was recreated in the 2011 movie ‘HUGO’, which was based on the book ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick.
I’m using this photograph as a stark visual reminder: Your fledgling author career can rapidly jump off the rails if you attempt to accelerate book sales by trying to be visible everywhere, using the full range of social media channels, without any prior experience, all on day one.
Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Goodreads, Slideshare, Flikr, Klout, Blog Talk Radio and more.
Fact is, if you try this, you’ll be overwhelmed. Even worse, your all-important focus on writing will be derailed. You won’t sell many books either, and you’ll end up a train wreck.
Instead, there’s a right way to ‘take the train’ to author success.
How To Do Successful Social Media Book Promotion
The key, in the early stages of your career, is to focus on becoming an expert in only one or two social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, plus an author blog.
Quality, not quantity is the rule here: If you take time to learn how to become highly adept at just a couple of channels to begin with, you’ll be far more effective at attracting attention and growing your readership, than by opening up 15 different channels and trying to use them all at once, without developing any effective user skills.
Furthermore, you may even become so good at using Twitter, Facebook and a blog, with your books listed on Smashwords, Amazon and Goodreads, that other channels may not be necessary in the medium term, and will be something you can add and develop much further down the track.
This ‘one step at a time’ approach allows you to properly develop the skills needed to grow a core community of engaged readers who will spread the word about your books.
The worst thing you can do is to rush around trying to use a whole range of different channels in a very unskilled way, and end up connecting with no-one.
Even the largest companies use a carefully measured, step-by-step approach
Here’s what Rachel Weiss of cosmetics company L’Oreal had to say about Social Media when it was suggested they use all the social channels:
“… we don’t have the social resources from a human perspective to be able to manage such a breadth of channels. I do believe there is a nuance for how you push content out on these different channels, but we’ve been spending a lot of time with Facebook over the last five years. And Twitter for me is still a channel of innovation…”
The point is if a huge company like L’Oreal has trouble using a wide range of social media, a lone author is going to find it even more difficult. So keep it simple to start with.
How much time should you put into social media?
As a rule of thumb, the equation that seems to work for most authors is to allocate 70% of available time into writing, and 30% into book promotion such as social media and blogging.
In fact, I’m a typical example of ‘slow and steady wins the race’ in social media. I started exclusively with Twitter and this blog.
I now also have a Bestseller Labs Facebook page which should gradually bring an increasing number of people to my blog where they can find the information they need, along with the products and services that I’m developing for writers.
Note: If you’re the rare type of person who can handle a broad range of social media from the outset, then great, but remember, the key is meaningful interactions that build reader relationships.
It all comes down to this: Your ‘Author Platform’ is most effective when it grows in sync with your writing career, and reflects your increasing author skills. It requires a steady build, one type of social media at a time, and it cannot be done in a rush.
The real track to success is to produce great book after great book, and steadily grow your social media presence in sync with this. This will enable your audience to find your books, buy them, grow to like your characters and your style, and increasingly want more.
Note: This article includes excerpts from my eBook ‘Ten Simple Strategies for Bestseller Success’ that’s included as a free bonus to my mini-course Twitter For Authors.
What do you think? Which social media channel do you like? Please do leave a comment below.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / CEO Bestseller Labs
Notice: This article is copyrighted material. Reproduction of brief snippets of this article with a link to this site are permitted, but it may not be reproduced in full anywhere without the written permission of Jonathan Gunson at BestsellerLabs.com