Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How Do You Measure Social Media Success For Promoting Books?

Someone asked me how one measures their social media efforts.  The bottom line is you measure it by the ultimate payoff: book sales.  But there are other things to measure, some quantifiable such as hits to a blog or unique Web site visitors, and others are not measureable such as your ability to create a positive image for yourself.

The key with social media is not to get caught up in the doing (posting stuff all over the place), or the measuring (clicks per hour), but in the big picture.  Social media can help position you for success in many ways but by itself is rarely the end game.

Authors want to:

·         Improve their branding
·         Create a platform and online media resume
·         Get their message out
·         Lead people to buy their book
·         Get others to sign up for something, hire them for a presentation, or purchase other services or products
·         Voice opinions and influence others
·         Experiment and test their ideas or writings
·         Move up the food chain and become best-sellers

Which social media should authors utilize?

·         The one that they are comfortable using
·         The one they make time for
·         The one they see leading to reaching their goals
·         The one they can see direct results from

You can live on Facebook and ignore other social media.  Same with Twitter.  You can explore and experiment and find the tool that you like best.  Some may love YouTube while others prefer to blog and guest blog.  Ideally, if you can mix it up and have a foot in a few doors, you’ll be poised for accelerating because you give yourself a greater chance for something to catch on somewhere, as opposed to putting your eggs in one basket.

Social media takes time to build up.  It has taken me several years to build up my 10,000+ connections on LinkedIn.  But I only have about 1,400 followers on Twitter, and maybe 350 Facebook friends. I spend more time building up my LI following and downplay the others. I’m not on YouTube, Pinterest, or some other leading sites.  Nothing wrong with them, I just haven’t taken time to delve into them.  But I blog daily and network through social media.  For me, I am satisfied with my efforts and results, but for others, they need to do more.

You can measure results best by first measuring your efforts.  Take an assessment right now and see:

·         How many social media sites do you participate in?  Can you increase the number of sites?
·         How many minutes per day do you use social media? Can you increase your total?
·         How many people do you connect with daily? Can you expand that number?
·         How many Web clicks are you getting daily as a result of your social media? Can you increase it?
·         How many comments or emails are your blog posts or social media placements generating? Can you get that total to rise?
·         How many hits is your blog or video getting each day? What can you do to generate more views?
Don’t get caught up on bullshit such as the number of people who like or endorse you.  Instead, look at more important things, such as:
·         Are high-profile people retweeting your tweets?
·         Are other bloggers asking to repost your links?
·         Is mainstream media looking to interview you as a result of your social media communications?
·         Are you getting invitations to speak or join a group?
·         Are people ordering your book?

It’s easy to say one should be on social media, non-stop, as it’s a free means to reach the masses, with few filters or restraints.  There are no gatekeepers, no excuses.  You can find anyone and everyone and seek to impress them with your content, creativity, or images.  On the other hand, it’s tempting to dismiss the social media obsession because who has time to spend all day online where content is free and people just want to escape their lives?

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

So how do you measure your efforts and results?  You can employ any number of free and paid resources, including:

Deltina Hay, the author of Social Media Survival Guide, has recommended a number of sources to track social media trends, including:

For those who have not really ventured into social media or resist expanding their efforts in this area, I advise that you revisit this and see how you can make improvements without letting it consume you, compromise your values, or turn you into a slave to what should be an asset.

As you get going you’ll see you don’t have to measure your efforts.  You’ll see the fruits of them and then you’ll know you have made a dent.

Interview With Author Merry Jones

What type of books do you write?  I've written non-fiction and humor, but for the last several years, I've been writing suspense and thrillers. 

Currently, I have two series going--THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE is the first Elle Harrison novel. It features Elle, a soon-to-be-divorced woman, who finds her soon-to-be-ex-husband murdered in her house. In proving her innocence, she discovers secrets dark about him and herself and becomes the target of those who don't want those secrets revealed. At the same time, her husband's spirit seems to blame her for his murder, and he's not willing to leave his death unavenged. 

The other series stars Harper Jennings, a female Iraq war vet. The fourth book in that series comes out in July. Harper is on a dig (she's studied archeology) in the Middle East where she encounters a charismatic religious leader who has discovered secret Bible codes and terrorists trying to force a water shortage.

What inspired you to write it? I guess I'll talk about The Trouble with Charlie--I wanted to write about the shadowy part of life, the part where perception and reality become confusing. By creating Elle and having her struggle to sort out what's real and separate it from what she's perceiving as real was the challenge. Is Charlie's ghost actually haunting her? Or is she mourning his death so much that she's imagining him? This borderline territory is central to the book. It was a ball to write it.

What is the writing process like for you? I try to write daily, but let's face it, that's just not going to happen. So almost daily. I need to wear comfy loose clothes. No music, food or beverages around. The dog sits on my feet. I like to write in the mornings or early afternoon. I need long stretches of time--at least 3 hours; I can't write for a half hour at a time. I start by reading what I wrote the day before, tightening it, then proceeding for 3-5 pages.

What did you do before you became an author? I was in kindergarten, learning to play well with other children. Because really, I've been writing ever since. But books began twenty-ish years ago. Before that I was an independent video writer/director, working mostly for industrial clients.

How does it feel to be a published author? I don't think about it. I'm always worrying about the next book, or promoting the last--Writing is an ongoing process, never finished.

Any advice for struggling writers? Keep writing. Hear your own voice. Tell your stories. Don't give up.

Where do you see book publishing heading?  Oy. I guess self-publishing is skyrocketing. And the traditional publishers still seem to favor finding a few big bestsellers over many mid-list books. Because the big houses are doing that, I think small quality publishers will grow and do well, providing both ebooks and paper books by the mid-list authors no longer being published by the big guys. Self-publishing will need support (distribution, publicity, etc) to really succeed, unless it's being done by people who already have a following (like Stephen King,etc.)

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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