Everyone is still buzzing about the recent algorithm changes for Facebook. And with good reason—it’s a game-changer for social media marketing in general.
Though Facebook and other social media networks are great strategies for book promotion, they should never be your entire marketing plan.
Never put your success in someone else’s hands.
The true strength of Facebook, and really, all social media is how it fosters a direct author/reader connection. That relationship is what drives book sales, not the platform itself.
And social media will still be an important strategy, but it’s in your best interest as an indie author to diversify.
In this article, we’re going to look at your options for diversification in a way that meets your audience on their own turf.
Build Your Mailing List
If you don’t have a mailing list, then the time is now. (Check out these helpful guides on How to Use MailChimp, and Linking Your Facebook Page to MailChimp.) This is one of the best ways to build an author/reader connection. It drives direct communication and is a one-on-one way to get right in your readers’ inbox, bypassing the noise of social media.
If you haven’t already, add a newsletter sign-up box to your website. That’s a start. Don’t worry about what you’ll write or how often or when you’ll update folks, just get the box up there and start collecting emails.
Create a Blog
If you don’t have one, add a blog to your website. (And if you don’t have a website, jump on it! You can find out how in Part One, Part Two and Part Three of our Insider's Guide to Author Websites series.) Or if you have both, but they aren’t connected, make that connection happen now.
Why? Because a blog on your site greatly helps with search value, meaning: you’ll show up on Google more. It's also a great addition to whatever else you’re doing to market your book.
Why Blog, You Ask?
One word: Google. Over 68% of us default to Google for our online searches, so why aren’t you showing up there?
You may say: I’m showing up but I’m on page five. Well, then you may as well be on page fifty because few, if any, online searches get past page two.
A blog, if done correctly, will greatly help to enhance your online visibility and reaching new readers.
But you need to do more than add the blog, you actually have to write it, too.
How Often Should You Post?
Well once a week at a bare minimum, three times if you want to be a rock star.
Not every post needs to be lengthy. You can easily create shorter posts, maybe two shorter ones and one longer.
If the idea of doing three posts a week makes your head spin, then start with just one. Remember, quality over quantity. Write stuff your readers want to read about. And make it interesting.
Optimize Every Post
This means keywords, keywords, keywords. Check your Google Analytics stats.
Ask your web person, if you don’t know where to find these. If you don’t have Google Analytics, they’re super easy to add.
Open up a Google AdWords account if you want to dig further into keywords. You don’t have to place any ads, but this will give you access to the Google keyword tool that can also be really helpful.
Consumers (readers!) use keywords to find a new book or to locate information on a topic they want to learn more about. Learning about keywords and how they work is a great way to build your audience and sell more books.
The point is, keywords matter—a lot. So you’ll want to know what these are.
Keywords vs. Keyword Strings
It’s worth mentioning here that keywords and keyword strings are not created equal. Think of how you search. Do you type in one keyword or a string of them?
And let’s say you’re trying to market your book or are interested in finding companies who will do that for you.
You probably won’t pop the term marketing into your search bar, but rather: book marketing OR book marketing companies. You get the idea.
More words are better, consumers search using strings. So be sure that you’re looking at keyword strings and not singular words. Even two words are fine, sometimes that’s all you’ll find.
Overall, your website should be ranking in Google. If you have a blog and you’re using keywords on that blog, then you should be in good shape. But it’s also helpful to use those same keywords in pages on your website.
For example, if your keywords are: mystery and suspense author or contemporary romance author or small business expertise or small business success, you’ll want to insert that keyword string throughout your website in a thoughtful way.
But don't be tempted to practice keyword stuffing. That’s when you use a keyword so much on your website that the sentences no longer make sense, meaning it’s just a string of keywords. When Google notices what you’re up to, your site will tank, and you’ll wind up in search engine no man’s land.
Once you identify your keywords, be sure to sprinkle them around your website and use them in your blog posts, too!
Facebook Algorithms & Other Social Media
I know. We started this article talking about ways to circumvent social media changes and now we’re back talking about social media. The point is that social media isn’t going away, so just put some thought into how you use it.
When you post, make it count with thoughtful, helpful content that people respond to. It’s ok to mention you have a book, but not in every single post. Be consistent, but don’t overwhelm your audience. And be relevant/appropriate to the platform you’re using.
So yes, you can recycle things across platforms, just remember that it will likely do better on one than the others. You’re actually better off focusing your energy on one platform, rather than trying to be everywhere.
I think we’ll see that other platforms will begin to replicate Facebook’s changes. And, they’ll want to see that you’re sharing great, helpful, engaging content.
These days, it’s hard to escape the lure of a good video. So consider doing videos on one of your sites.
Live video on Facebook is great, but it’s tricky. Unless you have an audience waiting to see you, you may be on your video just talking till folks show up and that’s not good.
So, record your video and put it up on your blog, Facebook, YouTube, or whatever other channels you're using.
Your video can be about anything. Maybe a snippet from a book event, a talk you gave, a weekly update, or some advice taken from your book. The only rule is that it needs to matter to your reader.
Short and sweet works well here. You might be surprised how well a three to five-minute video does.
Plus, video can help build your audience. That’s how The Fault in our Stars became a huge hit; the author had a YouTube channel and used it as a direct link to his fans. You can, too!
The Bottom Line
The key is to own and control more of your author real estate. You never know when a social media site is going to implement changes. Don’t be caught off guard when they do.
Make sure your website is strong and gather fans, using tools you control.
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