Before I was a publisher, I was an author, so I say this with love. Before your next social media post, ask yourself this question: how will this add to my profits?
Of course, you need visibility. Every business, product, and individual needs recognition and marketing. When I first started as an entrepreneur, the coaches said you needed to be everywhere, from social media platforms to public speaking events. I was advised to do whatever I had to do to give the appearance of success and gain exposure. These mainstream coaches were putting more focus on exposure and less on profitability and strategy. All of their advice was great if you wanted to be the next broke author!
All these years later, I see the same advice being given and taken by many authors. I cannot stress this enough: “If you build it, they will come” never worked, so please do not use this as your book marketing strategy. (In case you didn’t know, you need to have a book marketing strategy.) Here is why the advice just to be present on social media is wrong and why many authors spend copious amounts of time online with little or nothing to show for it.
Who is your audience? Until you answer this question, you are wasting your time on social media. Why?
1. You do not know where the ideal audience for your book is, nor what language you need to use to attract it.
2. You are missing the greater importance of creating a conversion strategy for continuing the conversation after you connect online, bringing potential buyers with you off of social media.
3. You are ignoring the fact that effective social media engagement is often the result of a team of experts, who craft not only engaging posts and content but also continually pivot strategy based on studying platform analytics, trends, industry rules and regulations, and competitors for your target audience (and that is the short list).
4. Social media is only one form of connection and may not be your best option based on your resources, expertise, and the time required.
Case in point: Clubhouse. Believe it or not, as technologically savvy as I am, I was not the first to jump on the Clubhouse bandwagon. Yes, I have friends who close five figures with a few people every time they appear on Clubhouse. (Even they do not spend copious amounts of time on it.) With their urging, I decided to give the app a try and be an earlier adopter of the app before it opened up to Android users.
I can say that it was beneficial and very profitable for me. I did not look like a newbie, probably because of the wise counsel my business experts gave me. But, soon after I started a Clubhouse club, I pretty much stopped my involvement.
First, I found my results on Clubhouse similar to those on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Yes, I made awesome relationships and continue to grow those offline, as well as convert my conversations to sales. Nevertheless, the same principles applied: entering with a strategy, knowing my target audience and only being present where they were, and knowing the art of conversation and my solution to their needs. As author Steven Covey would say, I began with the end in mind. But, if I just hopped into whatever room looked good without a strategy and did what others were doing, my results would not be the same. I had to study Clubhouse and its mechanics, from how to create the right profile to how to moderate a room and host a club. The same is true for published authors.
Think of it this way: a celebrity or major influencer gives you 60 seconds on their stage, which is massive. Millions of people will see you and hear whatever you present. What would you say? What would be your message, and what way would you leave them with to connect with you after your 60 seconds are up?
Social media posts and strategies should be viewed the same way. With thousands of media messages bombarding us every day, you either garner viewers’ attention in the first few seconds, or they move on. But, once you have their attention, what action are you inviting them to take based on what they see? Are you informing them, entertaining them, or engaging them? If they love you, adore you, and want to consume everything you offer, have you given them information on how to connect with you? When they arrive at the connection point you’ve provided, what could they buy immediately? Just a book? Or do you have programs, courses, apparel, and other offerings? How have you used your book to position yourself as an expert and monetize your expertise? All of these considerations are far more important than what you post on social media.
The biggest key to your wealth as an author is how you spend your time. This is true for most of your endeavors. Rich or poor, we all receive the same amount of time each day. Even if you have a full staff, how you spend your time is very important and will be one of the key factors in your wealth.
Thousands of books are published every day. What are you doing to stand out in your industry, community, state, and nation? How does your book transform the life of its reader? What problem does your book solve? What companies and organizations are the gatekeepers of those people who need your book and your expertise?
Answer these questions and you will find your wealth. Develop clear sales goals and streams of revenue from your book, followed by strategies to make that happen. Implement these strategies and then decide if, how, and to what extent social media will play a role in your strategy. If not, you may find that your time spent on social media is more of a distraction and waste of revenue-generating time than an asset to your success as an author.
Alesha Brown is an entrepreneur, a book and magazine publisher, a consultant, and the CEO of Fruition Publishing Concierge Services.