Tag Archives: social marketing

Lessons Learned From Traditional Book Publishing

First article in this series, as I’m sure I’ll learn more!

love of booksAuthors marketing themselves has taken a turn I didn’t see coming. How many of you thought that, as an author, if you were published “traditionally”, 1) you made it, and 2) they handle all your marketing and PR? I also thought this would be the case, and in the higher, higher ends of publishing this may be the case, but from what I’ve learned so far, definitely not the case.

I’ve been working with a self-published author on his book series marketing since September 2014. He needed a website, branded social media channels and a branded hashtag, timely press releases, and some print marketing materials — including copies of his book(s). In June 2014, before I started his marketing, my team and I built his website and social media pages. We built his business card, a bookmark, and a postcard for handing out during book signing events, speaking gigs, and expos/seminars. We built and maintained his author pages on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and goodreads.

My goal from the beginning was to get him in front of a traditional publisher. True, marketing and selling his ebook was taking longer, and his editor and I arrived at the intelligent conclusion that, if we were able to land him with a publisher, his book would have a better chance of being sold to more people.

Not necessarily the case.

Through the entities my author was following on his Twitter account, around August 2015 I was notified of a publisher accepting submissions, with or without agent representation. I quickly looked up the publisher’s contact information and called, only to find out she was in a meeting and would call me back. Thinking this was pretty typical, I left my contact information and updated my author and his editor. I was surprised and very pleased when the publisher called me back same day and asked about my inquiry. One month later, my author signed a contract with this publisher.

What was inside the contract surprised me.

My author was expected to have a website, a social media presence, and author pages on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble; printed marketing could be built around the new cover design. What I and my team did as a normal course of our marketing business was now a necessity — imagine that!

The story doesn’t end here, however. The publisher’s contract also stated the expectation of him to help market his new book series on the local level. That includes appearances/speaking gigs, book signings, seminars/expos, timely press releases, and social media postings. This helps what marketing the publisher will handle on the national and international levels.

What were my lessons learned up to this point?

  1. Follow my marketing gut. We knew building his presence was necessary for his success, particularly in the channels we decided to use. This gave my author a “thumbs up”, basically; he appeared more prepared for the coming marketing challenge.
  2. Read the contract. One of the jobs of a literary agent is to act as the go-between for the author and pubisher. Once we had a copy of the contract and expectations, not only did I read through it and ask questions, so did my author’s lawyer. This completes the team cycle for my author, and he was able to sign his contract with confidence.
  3. Be a social media coach. My author hired my company for his marketing, both offline and online. That meant posting and engaging on social media as well. In part of my commitment to his success, I am also coaching him on a couple of the social platforms and how he can use them from his mobile device. He is now empowered to take control of some of his social media and be an active partner, helping his own cause.
  4. Question everything! Even though he has signed a contract with a publisher, my author is still my client. He still needs the marketing and has retained me now as his agent. This allows me to contact the publisher on his behalf and ask questions that will help us both market him more effectively.
  5. Communicate often. This may be a d’oh! type of statement, but you would be surprised at how many book marketers don’t communicate often with either their author or the publisher. When I schedule my author for a local appearance or expo, I tell the publisher everything. This lets her know what we are actively doing on the local level and how well it worked. I also keep two lists in Excel: one for bookstores requesting an advance copy to read (this is typical, folks) and one for local book reviewers. At the end of each month the publisher gets an updated copy of both, so again she can see and measure our efforts.
  6. Capture the info! We built a landing page just for the new book and included a short capture form link. When visitors click the link, they are asked to give their name and email, as well as a human verification. That’s it! Now we can build a newsletter that lets these followers know when his book is ready to purchase, as well as in-person events and advance notice of future works.

More lessons will be coming soon, and I’ll post as I learn them. If you are an author or book publisher and would like to share what you have learned, please add your comments below. Thank you!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.


7 Tips To Pump Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Connecting To Everyone On LinkedIn?Your LinkedIn profile has to truly stand apart from the competition in order to gain that visual edge you need for either a project or job. The big question is: what should be improved about your profile to gain that edge? A new photo? More keywords? Here’s seven tips to help pump up your profile.

  1. Professional photo. The worst thing you can do, by far, is to not have a photo on your LinkedIn profile; the second-worst is having an unprofessional photo. Remember, LinkedIn is a more professional social media channel than Facebook. Pay a photographer and have a good photo taken.
  2. Keyword your header. What do you want to be known for? Let these keywords shine in your profile header! Don’t stuff keywords — don’t use the same word over and over, such as “social media marketer”, “social media consultant” and “social media mentor”. Find a way to express these in one keyword or phrase.
  3. Write to your expertise. Got something to say? Write it out! LinkedIn Publishing Platform is a blogging platform that gets your posts in front of all of LinkedIn’s six million (or more) members. This gives you a professional, warm ground by which to verbalize your thought leadership. TIP: Post no more than once a day to keep the notifications to your network down. I prefer 2-3 times a week max.
  4. List your interests. There is a section you can add called “Additional Info”. List your interests here. What do you like to read or collect? This brings a human element to your profile, and also introduces potential common ground for visitors/prospects.
  5. Projects and Slideshare. Don’t underestimate these powerhouse sections. Listing your projects demonstrates what you are currently working on, which can help if you are experiencing a gap in employment. If you are a speaker or presenter, do you use PowerPoint presentations in your speeches? Get a free Slideshare account and link them to your LinkedIn profile.
  6. Endorsements DO matter. Endorsements are just as powerful as recommendations. Here’s why: when someone endorses your skills, they are putting their credibility on the line by saying you DO have that skill. The two best (and easiest) ways to get your skills endorsed: a) ask your 1st connections to endorse you; b) endorse your connections’ skills.
  7. Certifications, Awards, & Volunteering. You might have gaps in either employment or education, but, did you earn any certifications? These demonstrate continuing education. Did you receive any industry or scholastic awards? List these to show your credibility. Do you enjoy volunteering? OK, it may not always pay, but it does show prospects you care about your community and choose to get involved in what matters to you.

After you’ve pumped up your profile, join a couple of groups within industries you want to work with and participate in conversations. A better strategy: reconnect with your network first. Congratulate folks who are moving up, having anniversaries/birthdays, or who have also improved their profiles. Show you truly care about being connected to them.

Want more help with LinkedIn? Email me with your questions – I’m ready to help!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.


Social Media: Mind Your Manners!

social media heartsBack in 2013 I read a story about a local business coming under fire from actions and words captured on camera for a reality TV show. While it is true you can’t always trust what you see on TV, these days marketing is not just about how you view your own business and tell your story; it is how others view you and your business as well.

Mind your social media manners!

The article described some of the actions and intense (verbiage of the business owners caught on camera. The story does not end here; this business’ Facebook Page had many, many negative comments about what was viewed on this show. Again, at this point, it doesn’t matter what the intentions of the business were at the time of the taping, because public perception had taken over. What does matter are these two important details:

  1. Right or wrong, viewers left negative comments on their social media pages, including Facebook and Yelp!.
  2. Right or wrong, the owners responded very negatively, nearly abusively.

Some people live to argue with others. Some can’t stand being wrong about anything. Still some see our social media avatars (those little pictures next to our online name) as just that — pictures — and don’t care that these represent real people with real feelings.

If you were the business owner, how would you have responded to all this negative feedback on your Facebook and other social media pages? How should you have responded?

  1. Don’t argue points. Arguing can be seen as not just a debatable posture, but also as a highly defensive one. Instead, take a proactive stance and write a statement that not only reflects your professionalism, but also lets customers and viewers know you are reviewing all statements and actions and will respond accordingly after all facts/evidence are gathered. Sincerely and politely thank posters for their comments and feedback.
  2. STOP YELLING! For nearly 20 years, writing anything (i.e., email, blog, social media post, etc.) is viewed as “yelling”. It is a strong statement of your opinion, yes, but can be seen as very combative and negative. Make your point known without using this crutch.
  3. Don’t swear! Using swear words “because everybody does it” is not only a myth, it’s an excuse and a huge turn-off for potential clients. You will endanger your reputation being viewed as highly negative, combative, and very unprofessional.
  4. Stop over-defending your position. Some people just like to get a rise out of people. Some just like to “hear” (ok, read) their own voice. Don’t give in and argue — as I stated in #1, it’s pointless. Stay true, stay professional to your voice on your social media pages.
  5. No name-calling. This isn’t second grade. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right or wrong, but don’t give in by responding to the commenter in kind. This is viewed as unprofessional, and it can also damage your reputation.

You have the right to respond to negative comments on social media, and you should. Never leave a negative comment unanswered.

  • Allow common sense to be your guide when responding.
  • Count to 10 before writing.
  • Walk away entirely from the negative bashing. Breathe in and out, very slowly. Then, begin writing your response.
  • After you have written your response, don’t post! Save and walk away for at least 2 hours. Think about what you have written before publishing. Once you publish, you can’t take it back. And, if you do publish and then have second (or third) thoughts, own the mistake, apologize as appropriate, and move on.

Try to view the negative feedback as instructional. If you didn’t know what was wrong before, you certainly do now! Take appropriate, purposeful steps to correct both the error(s) and public perception. You attract more flies with honey than a fly swatter.

Mind your social media manners.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Turn Off The Auto-Responder!

Visibly Media social media toolboxThat’s right, turn off the auto-responder! You may think you look like you’re on top of things by using this “feature”. Sadly, the opposite is more true than not. Abusing an auto-responder can make you look like an online novice instead of a professional.

Auto-responders are scheduled pieces of response. In email, it’s a scheduled, programmed note back to your email inbox when you sign up for a whitepaper download or some other information box. When you use an auto-responder in social media, you are scheduling a specific response (i.e., “I’m on vacation…”) to be triggered when one of your friends, followers or connections makes a post. The issue? Because it’s programmed, scheduled, you don’t know what kind of message the auto-responder is responding to.

Allow me illustrate an example. Last week I saw an auto-responder to a post on Facebook, one of the last social media channels I thought would ever have seen such a thing. A friend had asked for prayers for a family member who was very ill. A mutual friend chimed in on the Facebook post with this message:

social media auto-responder

 

 

REALLY?

Yep.

Here’s three reasons why you should turn off the auto-responder:

  1. It looks tacky. This type of response doesn’t show the world you’re staying connected or on top of things. To the contrary — it makes you look lazy.
  2. You look clueless. It was clear the respondent hadn’t read the post at all.
  3. It translates to apathetic concern. Basically, you didn’t care enough to personalize the message. Social media is, first and foremost, social. That means people should be making real connections to real people, with real feelings, right?

Here’s the deal: the photos you see on social media aren’t just avatars or images. Those are photos of real people, with real feelings. How would you feel if you made a similar request of your friends, and saw an auto-responder like the one above? You might forgive it, thinking to yourself, “At least he or she thought of me at all, they’re just a little busy right now.”. Seriously, how long will that feeling last?

Three key takeaways:
  1. Make the connection personally. An auto-responder is just a pre-recorded message. Step up to the next level and make a post of real, genuine concern. If you feel comfortable, take it offline to either a private chat or phone call, but be real.
  2. Clue back in. You decided to connect to these people, or accept their connection request. Why? What did it mean to you then, and what does it mean now? Read, really read their posts, and answer personally if you are so motivated — not programmed.
  3. Get re-connected to the world. Dial it back in. You are connected to these people for a reason, right? What was the reason? Re-examine the strengths, abilities and individuality of each connection first, then re-examine yourself and your reasons for staying connected.

You should be building lasting relationships on social media. What kind of footprint do you want to leave? How do you want to be known and/or remembered? Strive to be remembered and known for caring past a number or notch on your belt, and see what happens.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

3 Superbowl Ads for 2015 That Impressed Me By Halftime

Many of the 2015 Superbowl ads are not worth watching. These three ads, however, have my attention for these reasons:

  1. 911 call from NoMore.org. This commercial aired on the West Coast just before halftime, and it makes you pay attention. The woman on the other end is calling for a pizza so her abuser won’t guess she’s really calling for help. It calls for an end to domestic violence — and we should pay attention. Well done.
  2. McDonald’s #paywithlovin . This brand looks like they’re taking a page straight from Whole Foods’ social media strategy. According to the commercial, random customers across the country will pay for their meal with an act of kindness. It will be intriguing to see if the local stores support the brand’s concept, and how it will be received by the public. Nicely done!
  3. Cheerios’. Max, the son, getting up very early to have breakfast with his father, who works 3rd shift. Very tender, very beautiful reminder of family values and what family means to this boy. What do your values mean to your family? Wonderfully done.
Disappointments:
  1. Terminator. Arnold, seriously? One more movie? This is getting a bit ridiculous, like the “Halloween” or Friday the 13th” franchises.
  2. Mercedez-Benz. This tortoise-hare race (a.k.a. #thebigrace) looks ridiculous and feels like a HUGE brand disconnect. Jerry Rice looks fabulous in his suit, but that’s the only bright spot. Oh, and do us a favor – lose the Playboy bunny.
  3. Geico’s ad with Ickey. I’m an Ickey fan, love his celebrations, but seriously — he looks so not enchanted about this commercial.
  4. Fiat. I love the ad, don’t get me wrong, but it disappoints me to see yet another brand stooping low to use sex to sell their product. Expected, and unfortunately, lame.
  5. Kim Kardashian. Seriously, Kim, get a life! We’re tired of your face and voice. Shame on T-Mobile for using her in such a lame commercial!

Ready for the second half to start. I’ll be back with the rest of my report after Superbowl XLIX!