Social Media, Book Promotion and the Sweet Smell of Success

Ah, the sweet smell of success: your book is finally a household name, the topic of conversation in coffee houses and the subject of toasts in fine dining establishments. Just yesterday, you turned down a media interview due to your busy schedule. Tomorrow you’re off to Barbados for a quick dip in the salty surf, then a date with a rum-laced umbrella drink under a palm tree. Lucky you!

Or was it luck? Maybe it was all that time you put in on social media, carefully cultivating relationships with your fans and followers. You lost track of how many late nights you spent loading up your Buffer account, cheese popcorn crumbs littering the front of your PJ’s like so much dandruff.

“Oh, if they could see me now,” you mutter, catching a sideways glimpse in the mirror. Whatever happened to that polished look you cultivated so carefully for your book jacket? Gone is the mohair suit and the carefully waxed hairstyle. “Uff, it’s a good thing I’m not on my web cam…” you say under your breath.

But in reality, checking in with your fans doesn’t have to mean looking polished all the time. Unlike days gone by, you don’t necessarily have to show your face to sell a lot of books.

The thing about promoting yourself (and your book) on social media is that you can literally do the work anywhere you choose to be. The magic combination of a solid manuscript, the right book cover and a good social media promotion campaign can put your readership over the top. It just takes a little planning and a couple of good tools, then you’re off to the races! Or the sands of the Caribbean. Whatever.

Social media sites are the most efficient and cost effective way to get your message in front of potentially millions of people. Google’s $1.6 billion purchase of YouTube and Facebook’s multi-billion dollar IPO shouted a wake-up call to anyone who’d been hitting that marketing snooze button. There’s good reason for these high price tags; social networks offer a pool teaming with commercial opportunity for major players and individuals alike. As a published author, this opportunity now includes you. The playing field is about as level as it gets.

As an author you can leverage the ready-made audiences on social media. This means you can get involved with groups that either are tailored to your audience or dovetail nicely with your topic. Take a look at how big publishing companies are using social media to promote their top authors, then borrow a page from their playbook.

Using Social Media to Generate Social Proof

Social media helps you generate what marketers call “social proof”. Publishing your carefully cultivated testimonials from your readers can build the bond of trust for your would-be fans and their immediate social circles. The psychology of word-of-mouth testimonials is a powerful ally for authors who don’t yet have huge brand awareness. According to a survey by eMarketer, an overwhelming 99% of people surveyed believe that testimonials are credible and influence their buying decisions.

To leverage social proof online, follow these 3 steps:

1. Clearly understand your target audience – both their demographics and psychographics. Who are they? Get clear about their age, income, location, family life, interests and peeves. Find out what makes them hurt and what gives them pleasure.

2. Create messaging and imagery that is consistent with your target audience. For instance, if you are targeting empty nesters who are between 50 and 63 years old, you would use inspirational messages and images consistent with their outlook. In this case, you might use imagery of happy grandchildren, RV travel to national parks, beach vacations, spas or wine tasting.

3. Pick your “call to action” campaign strategies from options that are consistent with your target audience’s lifestyle. Then consider which techniques will influence their buying behavior. Do you want them to take a survey? Tell their friends? Watch a video and comment on it? Get creative, and keep your audience involved.

Keep Your Message In Front of Your Fans with a Book Marketing Timeline

You can increase your sales and your free time by creating a social media campaign timeline. Timelines are essential, and all successful authors use them to organize social media campaigns. Some authors even use their timelines to set and track their campaign goals.

Come up with your present and future goals, along with action plans for today, tomorrow and next month. Have a method for tracking sales so you can see what’s working for you. Pick a few social media networks to focus your activity, and post to them 2 to 3 times a day. Increase this frequency for the 3 weeks on either side of your book launch, and stay interested in how people are responding to you and your message.

It may seem like a bit of work to pack in, but there are plenty of automation tools such as or HootSuite that can help you manage the workload. You can pre-write an inventory of Facebook posts or Twitter tweets in advance and load-up your free Buffer account to stimulate engagement with your readers.

That means you can be active on social media even when you’re sipping an umbrella drink on the beach on a remote tropical island. Just don’t eat popcorn while you’re there on the sand, lying in the sun…the crumbs can make for a spotty tan. Cheers!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.