Getting Ready for SoMe & A Tip
This is article 6 in this series. For articles 1-5, follow these links:
Getting Ready for SoMe
It’s never going to be enough to get thousands of followers on your social media accounts. If they don’t click over to your website and sign up for regular emails from you (like from your blog auto-send, or your newsletter), then you haven’t achieved your primary goal. That’s why you need to think of an awesome, free incentive to get people to visit.
It can be hard to figure out what you should give away and how you can build a relationship that is going to lead to sales. The obvious choice is books. But is that enough? What about gift cards that aren’t book-related, or which only have vague tie-ins to books. Let’s talk about that before we get into the different social media websites.
What Should You Give Away for Free?
People love free stuff. Many people use social media to send people directly to Amazon. That can convert to a sale okay, but it’s never going to do as much for you as sending people to a page where they opt in for your email list. The lifetime value of each customer explodes when you have them on an email list. Remember: you want more than one sale; you want a customer for life.
The problem is that no one signs up for an email list just for the heck of it. People are very hesitant about giving away their email address. People sign up because they are getting something in return. What can you give your readers?
When you do sell or promote something, make sure it is something that really fits the reader. Make sure it’s something you would promote even if you weren’t going to earn a dime. That kind of sincerity will really shine through. Everyone knows you want to sell books, but what else can you promote that will make your readers think about you in a deeper way? Be creative! We’ve all seen Cara Bristol give away perfectly-named wine, and Anastasia Vitsky give away customized wooden spoons. What can you give away as a signature freebie? We often call this stuff “swag” but is a pretty business card and a card stock bookmark enough to get a reader hooked?
Personally, I give away a lot of free short stories. It drives traffic to my site and keeps them here while they read and look around. I find this is an invaluable giveaway, though I am always looking for something else to supplement the incentives.
Now that you’ve thought about your free offer and how you’re going to connect with your visitors, it’s time to actually get set up on social media.
Which Social Networks Should You Use
Consider this: The traffic thing works two ways. You can send people to your website/blog through SoMe. You can also raise your profile in the search engines for what you write on your blog, and that links out to your SoMe accounts. The more places people see you, the more likely they are to stay interested enough to accept your invitation to start a relationship.
There are a lot of social networks out there. Although most authors would love to have a massive fan base on each and every one of them, it’s not a good idea to try to achieve that right away. Why? Because it’s way too time consuming!
A tip: it’s better to be active and consistent on just one social network than it is to sign up to all of them and post inconsistently.
Keep Your Name and Branding the Same
As you set up your social media profiles, make sure you choose similar names across the board. Creating these social media profiles is a way of branding yourself. Be consistent! Ideally, the name or title you choose to brand should be used on your website as well. You are your brand – whether you use your real name or your pen name. It’s a brand, just like your favorite store-bought cookies are branded or the kind of gasoline you put in your car. You probably favor some brands over others. How do readers find you, if not for your brand?
Also, it’s a good idea to hire someone to create graphics for you to use on your website and on your profiles. You’ll need a Facebook cover, a Twitter Background, a website header and a profile picture to use on all sites. If you’re really handy with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro (PSP is what I use), then you don’t need to spend money on it. Just be sure your art looks professionally rendered, and if you’re using an artist, you will get what you pay for. This is not the time to squeeze pennies.
My giveaway for you today is a little trick. Never use 140 characters for a tweet, even though Twitter allows up to that number. Remember that you want to be retweeted, so you’ll need a place for the helpful user to type in “RT” or “Great Info” or the like. Give them room and they’ll use it to your advantage.
Next time, we’ll get into each SoMe network and talk about what makes them different and special—why you’ll want to think of them as different tools.