Today we have a guest post romance author Susan Rodgers, winner of Kobo’s Social Savvy Author contest. She’s here to share what she has learned from that experience. Thanks for sharing with the Bublish Community, Susan!
I’ve long been an avid Facebook user but I’ve never really understood Twitter, and my website was old and sadly out of date. Then Bublish Founder Kathy Meis stepped in and came to my rescue!
I found Kathy via Kobo’s Social Savvy Author contest, which promised the winner intensive social media mentoring sessions with a focus on ebook marketing. What did I have to lose? As an indie author, I am always seeking out new ways to help my chick lit Drifters series (A Song For Josh, Promises and No Greater Love) find its way onto the eReaders of new audiences.
Kathy jumped in with both feet and lots of generous determination. I’d thought I had a handle on social media, at least on some level. After all, I ‘Facebooked’ every day! But there’s so much more to getting the word out via the internet. The first thing I learned was the importance of having a solid website to provide an intuitive interface and hands-on information, as well as ‘call to action’ buttons to make it easy for readers to purchase my books. I was taught to think of my website as a hub (like the center of a wagon wheel with spokes) towards which all other social media flows. It took me the better part of a week, but I now have a beautiful website — susanrodgersauthor.com — that I can update and edit myself. It’s versatile enough to include content from myself as a writer as well as representing the film and client side of my business, Bluemountain Entertainment.
Kathy’s 20/20/20 rule — spend 20% of your time researching new marketing outlets, 20% actively marketing and posting, and 20% engaging with readers — makes a lot of sense and is a simple guideline to follow. I consistently use Twitter now, which is a tool whose power I had heard about, but never quite knew how to harness. I get a kick out of seeing who retweets and favorites my tweets now, and I’m always on the prowl for creative new hashtags to help attract new followers. I also use Bublish on a weekly basis to create fun book bubbles that I easily promote via Twitter and Facebook. You can check out one of my bubbles via this link: http://bit.ly/Mjuyu2
What have I learned about social media over the past couple of months?
- Find ways to engage with your audience as opposed to hard selling to them.
- Have a consistent social presence so the audience stays engaged.
- Keep your branding message consistent across all your social platforms and website.
- Use images. They encourage engagement. I now always add images to my blog posts, and often to my tweets as well.
- Sign up for free, time-saving tools such as Hootsuite, which lets you schedule some of your social posts. I use this on days when I am going to be away from my computer.
There are two big social marketing challenges for me as an author – time and staying creative in my social posts. It requires discipline, but the benefits are so great that it’s worth the effort. I get a real kick out of adding new followers and receiving personal notes from new ‘friends’ all over the world, I have immediate connectivity, and I now have a quick and efficient messaging system for sales and updates. Kathy suggested keeping a content calendar of suggested Twitter post themes and blog topics. I find that helpful. It keeps me organized and on top of my social marketing strategy. Rather than pulling off a blog ‘on the day’, the calendar reminds me to plan ahead and schedule topics or themes.
My future plans include tweaking and updating my website on a regular basis. I will continue to research great websites so that mine is always up to date and never gets stale. I will also continue blogging every Thursday, which I’ve discovered I really enjoy. I post the completed blog right to Facebook and Twitter. That extra step generates readers who often take the time to respond and tell me how much they enjoy my writing. I have built a secure audience and fan base that loves my books. That gives me confidence! Now the trick is to find more readers who are out there in the big ‘ole world searching for the next great love story. I will continue to research and try to stay on top of new trends in social media so I can find a way to get my books out to those folks. The goal is engagement – attract new followers and engage them, so they become interested enough to try my writing and become true, dedicated fans.