Entries Tagged 'Social Networking' ↓

Is Social Media Marketing Really That Hard?

By now, you’ve probably all seen this infographic from Buddy Media floating around on the interwebs:

 

(Click to embiggen.)

Your palms start to get a little sweaty, and then you realize you don’t know what 90% of this stuff even is. And then you panic and declare, “Holy mother of holiness, how will I ever manage my social media marketing all by myself?!” And then you realize that there’s no way this infographic is complete, because (OH GOD!) Pinterest isn’t even on here! Give me a paper bag to breathe into, quick!

Take a chill pill. Breathe. Do some yoga. Whatever. And then when you’ve managed to get your heart rate back down to a reasonable level, let’s talk.

Marketing is, and always will be, about reaching the specific group of people you want to reach. When you look at that giant selection of social media tools, it might make your stomach turn a little, but as you start looking closer, I think you’ll find that the people you really want to reach are concentrated in only a few of those platforms.

If you’re an author, maybe you want to focus on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads (which, by the way, isn’t on that infographic either– OH GOD!). If you’re an artist, it’s going to be a different set of platforms.

Furthermore, a lot of the things on that infographic are pieces of software meant to help you manage your social media networks– they’re not actually social networks themselves. You don’t need to know how to use TweetDeck, HootSuite, and Seesmic (eek! Seesmic isn’t on the infographic– OH GOD!). You just pick the one you like the best and use that one. Just because you have the choice of them doesn’t mean you should use all of them. You’d go nuts if you tried, and it would be in no way efficient.

So, let’s try not to panic, folks. Yes, there are many social networks and many ways to reach people, but this is, ultimately, a good thing. Play around. See where you have some engagement. And then focus on that and have fun. Don’t be skurred. It’s all going to be ok.

Facebook for Authors

I’m going to assume, since you’re reading this, that you’re an author. I’m also going to assume, since you live on the planet Earth, that you have a Facebook profile, stalk Facebook using someone else’s profile, or have at least heard of Facebook. If both of these things are true, this should help you. (If not, go back to your cave dwelling. The modern world will only make you cry.)

Profiles vs. Pages

The first thing we have to cover if we’re going to talk about Facebook as a marketing tool is the difference between Profiles and Pages. If you log in to Facebook and chat with your old college buddies, stalk your kids or exes, and “Like” stuff (hula-hooping and Jell-o wrestling, say), you probably have a Profile. Your Profile is your personal presence on Facebook. It’s the real you: your real name (not your pen name), your real photo making an ass of yourself with a nearly empty wine bottle in one hand (not your publicity photo), and your real friends that you know from real-life interactions (not random fans).

You don’t want to use your profile to market yourself as an author. Why? I shall tell you.

  • If you don’t use your profile for marketing, you don’t have to say yes every time someone sends you a friend request. You can be friends with only your actual friends. Nice how that works, huh?
  • There’s a limit to how many friends you can have on Facebook. There is no such limit on Pages.
  • Depending on the privacy settings du jour, people may not be able to find you.

None of this is to say that you can’t tell your actual friends about your books. Of course you can. But you also need a separate place for your fans-not-friends to interact with you.

That’s where Facebook Pages come in.

Pages are the business version of Profiles. You can set up a page as your pen name, or really, your business name if you felt like it, or the name of your blog. But since this post is for authors, let’s assume you’re going to use your pen name.

The Set-Up

Visit any Facebook page. In fact, start with mine: Sonja Foust. At the bottom of the left column, you’ll see an option to create a page.

Click it.

From here on out, it’s all pretty self-explanatory, but let me give you a few pointers on what you should definitely include:

  • In Your Settings, make sure your notifications are turned on so that you can interact with your fans.
  • In Basic Information, set up a username. You can only do this once, so pick a good one! This makes it easier to link to your page because it will give you a url like this:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSonjaFoust instead of a bunch of random letters and numbers. (I would have just picked SonjaFoust, except I’d already picked that for my Profile and it wasn’t available for my Page. You may run into a similar problem– just do the best you can.)
  • If you have a blog, be sure to import it to the Networked Blogs app and then add the Networked Blogs app to your Page (go to the Apps section in the editor).

Interacting With Your Fans

You can actually use Facebook as your Page rather than your Profile. Go up to the top right corner of your Facebook window and click Account, then Use Facebook as Page and click the appropriate Page, in this case your pen name Page, that you want to use.

Now you can traipse about Facebook “Liking” and commenting as if you are your pen name. No one ever has to see your real-life profile. You can Like other authors’ Pages, for example, and they will then show up in the left column of your pen name Page. (If you then edit your Page and go to the Featured section, you can decide which of your Liked pages show up there.)

There’s really no limit what you can do…

RRRRR! (squealing brakes)

… That’s a lie. You can’t comment on other people’s Profiles if they have their privacy settings so that only friends can comment on their walls. But you’ll survive. That helps keep the conversation on your Page wall anyway, which is a Good Thing.

Experiment, play, look at other authors’ pages, and ask questions if you see something you want to do but you can’t figure out how. Lots of authors, especially those of us who know how challenging doing all of your own marketing can be, are friendly and willing to help. Drop me a line in the comments or on my Facebook Page if you have questions!

5 Marketing Resolutions You Should Make

1. Look at your analytics.

If you don’t have analytics installed on your website/blog, you’re doin’ it wrong! Get some Google Analytics or StatCounter, or whatever floats your boat– just get something! Then look at your data and make decisions on what to add and take out of your site, what to do to make your site easier, and where to try to get links, all based on your analytics data.

2. Research social media.

I’m not saying social media is necessarily the right thing for you to jump into, but you can’t deny that social media is the thing right now. You at least need to know what’s out there, how other authors are using it, and what might be the potential benefits for you. Then if you decide that it’s not worth it to dive into Twitter or Facebook, you will be making an informed decision.

3. Learn something new.

Marketing, and online marketing especially, is an ever-changing expertise. You won’t have any trouble finding a topic to learn more about. Make it a goal (and a regular habit) to learn something new about marketing.

4. Try something crazy.

Go waaaaay outside the box and do something really new and different. Put up a free read. Get a guest blogger. Share some photos. Anything, as long as it’s something you’ve never done before. It’s ok to try because you’re looking at your data, and if your idea bombs, you’ll know– and you might surprise yourself with a great result!

5. Make friends with someone who’s not an author.

Have lunch with a web designer. Chat with a developer. Find an analytics guru and buy them coffee. The people around you are your best resource for marketing ideas.

Do you have any new marketing goals for 2010? I’d love to hear what they are! Please share in the comments.