For the casual user, social media is a way to connect with friends and family. For authors, social media provides a way to share compelling content to capture the attention of your target audience of readers. When you do this well, you can generate website traffic, new readers and even media attention.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn revolve around the concept of a status update. When you update your status, everyone in your network can view your post. This is where the real opportunity lies. Instead of updating your status to report what you’re having for dinner or that it’s time to pick up your kids, share interesting content and watch the magic of social media unfold.
Type of Content Authors Can Share on Social Media Channels
1. Your new blog posts
2. Someone else’s blog post
3. An article you’ve written
4. An article from somewhere else
5. A video demonstration
6. A funny or controversial video
7. Before and after photos of work you’ve done
8. Humorous or inspiring photos
9. Reader success stories/case studies
10. Free ebook
11. Special report
12. White paper
13. Upcoming event announcement
14. Live reports from an event you are currently attending
15. Book reviews/recommendations
16. Recommended products
17. Recommended services
18. Tips for doing something better
19. How-to suggestions
20. A series of related posts
21. Recent media coverage you have received
22. Inspirational advice (preferably your own, motivational quotes are over-used online)
23. Forward someone else’s update (with proper credit attribution)
24. Breaking news alerts
25. Leads for opportunities (media, clients, etc.)
26. Requests for participation (guest posts on your blog, speaker for an event you’re hosting, etc.)
27. Interesting photo from a recent event
28. Teleseminar/Webinar invitation
29. Contest announcements
30. Special sales, offers and discounts (delivered sparingly)
31. Request for audience feedback
32. A compelling question you want answered
33. Anything offered for free
34. Insider tips that people won’t find anywhere else
35. Your opinion on just about anything with target audience appeal
Secrets to Success
1. Content should appeal to your target audience and provide value.
Note that your content doesn’t always have to be directly related to your books or what you do. For example, an author of a local history book might share community resources, local event announcements and family-related tips. The point is to become a valued resource with your ideal audience.
2. Follow the 90/10 rule.
Avoid selling online and you will achieve more sales. That’s right; we’re all tired of being sold to. When you provide value, you build loyalty and trust. It’s fine to include sales offers up to 10% of the time, but make sure you are primarily serving up useful content. Then occasionally promote your book and you will see the rewards.
3. Use compelling titles and descriptions.
You only have a limited amount of space to share information which means that a good title can make the difference between a reader who clicks through or completely ignores your post.
4. Track your results.
Pay attention to user response. If you’re receiving comments and your content is being forwarded to others (for example, retweeting on Twitter), that is evidence that your efforts are working. Also, your network should be growing steadily as a result of the value you’re providing.
5. Use links wisely.
When you share compelling content, it provides an opportunity to link back to your website or blog. This is great for building website traffic. However, not every post needs to have a link. Mix up your posts so that some simply offer something short and sweet. You can also shorten links and track the number of click-throughs with a service like http://bit.ly.
5. Be consistent.
You will get the best results from marketing content through social media by participating on a regular basis. Ideally you should share something every day, even multiple times per day, to stay visible. You can automate some of your updates with services like http://hootsuite.com and http://tweetdeck.com. But don’t automate everything or your audience will lose interest.
6. Engage with your audience.
Social media involves a two-way conversation. It’s not just about shoving data out into your network and waiting to reap the rewards. Reply to people who comment, forward and share useful content from others and make sure you have a human presence in social media land.
7. Build a social media plan.
You can venture into social media haphazardly or you can form a plan that makes sense for your goals. A plan should identify your target audience, include a strategy for ongoing content generation, should identify frequency of updates and indicate the amount of time and resources you are going to allocate to managing your social media strategy.
8. Try a 30-day challenge.
Use the suggestions outlined here and focus your efforts for 30 days. The results should be obvious. If they aren’t, then there is something amiss with your strategy. Ask others for input or solicit the help of a social media expert. There is opportunity for every kind of business to benefit from social media. You simply need to find the strategy that works for you.