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What Every Author Should Know About the Social Side of Book Launches

The reclusive, brooding author writing in the shadows no longer exists. With social networking now being a crucial skill for every writer—especially an indie, his seclusion has impaired his ability to grow an audience organically and market his books effectively. He is unknown and irrelevant.

If you’re on this path, do yourself a favor and turn back quickly.

While it’s true that we’re not all socially adept, the reality is that there has been a fundamental shift in how consumers discover new books and communicate with authors. People have become far less receptive to one-way communication methods where they have no way of responding. They want a way to interact. They want real connections. They want a way to share their opinions and be heard.

These are all things they get from social media.

The good news is that the phenomenal growth of networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter has birthed countless success stories for brands with dynamic campaigns. This means that you as an author with a strategic, well-coordinated, and consistent plan of action can leverage social media to drive your book launch to success.

There’s just one major hazard you need to be aware of, though—a trap that finds many authors spinning their social media wheels.

It’s the mistaken belief that “social” means “promotion.”

But…

Here’s What Being Social Is Really About

  • Creating an easily accessible, open channel of communication with readers
  • Connecting with individuals and building relationships
  • Cultivating a community of fans within your target audience
  • Building authority and influence within your genre or niche
  • Creating brand and book awareness with little to no expense
  • Boosting your visibility through engaging, shareable content
  • Building trust with book buyers

The additional benefits you can expect:

  • Generate excitement for your book launch
  • Leverage the fan and follower bases of others
  • Drive quality traffic to your author website, book sales page, or retailer product page
  • Gather customer feedback and social proof for both your brand and book
  • Improve search results
  • And more!

If you employ this tactic with any other mindset, you’ll be sorely disappointed. That’s not to say you can’t use social media channels for promotion and sales. You absolutely can. However, your results aren’t going to be anything close to what you hope for if you don’t first focus on connecting with people, building relationships, and growing a community of people who are interested in your work.

In fact, there’s a rule in marketing that deals with this perfectly. It’s called the 80/20 Rule.

Understanding the 80/20 Rule

Also known as the Pareto Principle, the rule states that for many events approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Although it has its foundations in economics, the rule can be applied to almost any aspect of business and life.

To apply this to your social media book launch campaign, it means that you should be leveraging your social media assets for interaction 80% of the time and for self-promotion 20% of the time. You’ll find your promotional posts have far more impact and drive more conversions if you’ve spent the majority of your time and efforts building your community, conversing with readers, and providing value.

With one out of every five posts being a promotional post, you shouldn’t have too much trouble following this simple rule of thumb.

Just in case, here are some top tips for the best 80/20 outcome:

  • Always provide value—even when you’re promoting.
  • Be engaging and helpful when you’re interacting. Show your audience that you’re genuinely interested in the topic of conversation.
  • Avoid blatant sales pitches. Subtlety is the way to win over potential book buyers.
  • Keep it real. Let people know there’s a real human being on the other side of the screen.
  • Always focus on your audience’s needs and desires.
  • Be blatant. Yes, you were just told not to be, but this is a reminder that when you start with value, it’s OK to tell people how they can get your latest book.

The bottom line: don’t kill your author brand and book launch by constantly talking about your author brand and book launch. Social media demands that you dispose of the “me” mentality and start focusing on others. People will buy from you if they like you, which is not a feeling you’ll nurture if you’re throwing advertisements and self-flattering posts at them most of the time. Finding a good balance will ensure you’re viewed as an all-round player rather than a narcissist.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you face when it comes to social media? Have you seen or used any cool tactics that worked? We’d love to hear your opinion and ideas, so be sure to share them in the comment box below. For further updates and info on book launches, subscribe to our blog. You can also download our free book launch success checklist to ensure you rock your next release.