I did a post on Facebook’s latest changes regarding groups and pages last month, but even authors that had prepared for the switch were shell shocked at the results, both in sales and in reader interaction. Algorithms have destroyed any hope of reaching new readers without paying for an ad or running a sponsored post.
My friend LK Griffie has been saying for years that authors are relying too heavily on social media for marketing, and she’s right. Unfortunately, social media is no longer about meeting new people; now it’s all about suppressing the ones you already know. Not very helpful when trying to reach new readers, is it?
So what’s a writer to do?
If the content is king, interaction is the queen. For them to work in tandem, we must hone in on those that are interested in our work, cut the bloat that’s suppressing social media posts, and create a lean, mean marketing machine.
Know where to post original content
Few people realize that social media sites rely on us for their content.
So many authors I know create excellent Facebook posts that could easily convert into a blog post, and yet they choose to use a format that suppresses their content. Running that post through their website and then sharing the link directs readers back to the author’s home turf. This not only boosts SEO but enables new readers to scroll through past posts or see other books that the author has written.
Having a lower number of authentic followers is better than a ton of “vanity likes.”
We all know people who have paid for followers to hit that golden 10K threshold. And, honestly, if I had an Etsy store or was an influencer that sold things through a ton of affiliate links I might be tempted to do just that. However, even “swipe up” features need interaction to be seen. Empty followers hinder growth.
Nowadays, the easiest way to grow followers is by creating content that hopefully goes viral. Either that or pay to play. That’s about it.
Purge your newsletter list
If you’re mentally flipping me off right now, I don’t blame you. But hear me out.
Let’s pretend that five years ago, I participated in a Kindle Fire giveaway with a ton of other authors. A hella-big blogger ran the event, and man was that sucker a success! I got three thousand new subscribers from the campaign, and it really bolstered the ol’ newsletter list.
Great! Or so it would seem.
Now, five years later, 99% of those subscribers never open my email, or worse, they threw my newsletter into spam the first month after they didn’t win the giveaway. And because my email has been marked as spam a few hundred times, Google thinks I’m the princess of Twatwafflery, and no one with a Gmail addy sees anything I send unless they search their junk folder.
To make matters worse, my budget for the newsletter ballooned from ten to one hundred bucks a month, and my open/click-through rate is abysmal.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Taking the time to go through your “inactive” email subscribers and thinning the list improves your email stats and also frees up marketing dollars that can be spent elsewhere.
Quit Preaching to the Choir
I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by authors who genuinely believe in the “lift as you climb” philosophy. But sometimes in our attempt to support a fellow writer, we end up shooting each other in the proverbial foot. Following someone but never interacting hurts their organic reach. Signing up for a newsletter but then deleting it destroys their click-through rate. And continually retweeting/reposting/whatever with no explanation as to why you’re sharing can sometimes turn readers off because it seems “spammy.”
I’ve created a little infographic for funsies. 🙂 Enjoy
So what’s next?
I still do giveaways, but instead of asking strangers to “like this page, or follow me here,” I do exclusives as part of the email newsletter or in the Society as a way to say thank you to my readers for allowing me to be a part of their life.
This year I’ve branched out and have started doing videos, which is so far outside my comfort zone it isn’t even funny. But I’ve come to understand that readers enjoy seeing authors in real settings. It might be awkward, but I think they appreciate the effort. 🙂
I’m pairing down on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and I’m spending a little more time on other platforms to expand my reach. And instead of going with the traditional “stick to the places you know,” I’m branching out and trying new avenues–ones that haven’t suppressed anything yet.
Slow growth is better than no growth.
Be open to new ideas.
Be kind, always.
And keep writing.