October 21, 2010
A year ago, I was sitting in the audience at a book marketing conference when I heard these words: “If you don’t have a following, you won’t sell your book.”
A following? I thought my job as an author was to write a great book. Then I’d find a publisher to get the book to bookstores.
“It’s up to you to create a network of people. No publisher is going to help you with this.” This speaker and others throughout the weekend talked about how authors must use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and blogging to build a fan base. This came as news to me–surprising since I am a 25-year marketing veteran with an MBA. I know marketing inside and out. But what I was hearing shook my world. Marketing for authors, businesses and clubs would never be the same. Gone are the days when mass marketed ads with generic messages would work.
I had a lot of work to do. My following consisted of the people I know from town, some relatives and work colleagues. I didn’t have a website, hadn’t even logged onto Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.
Fast forward one year. I’ve set up my website with a blog. I have 1100 Facebook friends and a couple hundred fans for my author page. My Twitter following is over 3,500 “tweeps.” And I’ve posted a few videos on Youtube.
What have learned from my year of being virtually social?
- You MUST get started with social media if you want to market anything to anyone. At first, you’re not going to know what you are doing and you won’t see much results. BE PATIENT. It takes time to develop a following.
- Be consistent. You should strive to be on Facebook and Twitter several times a week.
- Social media is the road to your business. If you have a business (or club) and a website, that’s just the beginning. It’s like having a store with no roads to it. Social media creates the highways so people can travel to your business.
- Be smart about your approach. You are not there to spam people about how great your product or service is. You are there to get to know others, develop a common bond and from there sales will happen.