Author’s Corner: When Social Media Hurts

When Social Media Hurts

I was reminded by comments in a recent writing group discussion, that authors must be mindful of their social media endeavors.

I agree. You need visibility for your work. Every product needs some form of marketing to garner recognition. When I first started as an independent author, the prevailing wisdom said you needed to be everywhere, from social media platforms to public speaking events. It was all supposed to gain exposure and give the appearance of success.

Unfortunately, it was putting more focus on exposure and less on profitability. It was all great advice if you wanted to be the next broke author.

All these years later, I see the same advice being given and taken by many wannabe authors. I cannot stress this enough: “If you build it, they will come” never worked for me so, although you do need one, please do not use this as your 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.

Herron sits at a table with his books displayed

Who is Your Audience?

Until you answer this question, you’re wasting your time on social media.

Why? Because if you don’t know the ideal audience for your book, you have no idea what you need to attract it. You’re missing the importance of creating a strategy for continuing the conversation. Effective social media in the publishing community is often the result of a team of experts, who continually study platform analytics, trends, and competitors for your target audience (and that’s just the short list).

Social media is only one form of connection and may not be your best option based on your resources, expertise, and the time required.

I can say that it was beneficial for me when I took the first dive into social media. I didn’t come across like a newbie. But soon after I started, I realized the biggest key to success as an author is how you spend your time. Yes, I made awesome relationships and continue to grow those offline.

Nevertheless, the same principles apply as those for traditionally published authors.

Think of it This Way

Enter with a strategy, know your target audience and only be present where they were. Practice the art of conversation and your solution to their needs. Begin with the end in mind.

Even if you do exactly what others are doing, your results may not be the same. I learned the hard way I had to create the right profile to moderate the effort.

Imagine millions of people will see you and hear whatever you present. What would you say? What would be your elevator speech, and what would you leave them with to connect with you after your few moments are up?

With thousands of media messages bombarding us every day, you either garner a reader’s 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 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? All of these considerations are far more important than simply being on social media.

The Key to Success

The biggest key to your success as an independent author is how you spend your time. This is true for most of life’s endeavors. Rich or poor, we all receive the same amount of time each day. How you spend your time is important and will be one of the key factors in your success.

Among all the books that are published every day, what are you doing to stand out? How does your book transform the life of its reader? Better still, how does the reader know?

Answer these questions and you’re likely to find success. Develop clear strategies for sales goals and streams of revenue from your book. Implement them 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 than an asset to your success as an author.

About R.L. Herron

R.L. Herron, the author of multiple works of fiction, including several Readers' Favorite medal winners, lives and writes in Michigan with his lovely wife, and a finally-paid mortgage. His books are all available on Amazon and online with Barnes & Noble. Visit Author R.L. Herron's Website, Broken Glass.

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