Category Archives: social media

Building Relationships with Bloggers

by Kelly Rynard, Literary Publicist

WARNING:  The referred link via Unmarketing contains harsh language that may be offensive to some.  We used this link as a literal example of what not to do when reaching out to fellow bloggers.

Scott Stratten of Unmarketing recently tweeted, “There are comment train wrecks, and then there is this bit.ly/hwK8Qa.” And “this” is an excellent example what NOT to do when commenting on a blog. Basically, this particular author was upset with a critics review and took matters into her own hands.

As a social media specialist, I train author’s everyday on how to use social media sites to their fullest potential. One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “how do I reach out to bloggers?” and “what am I suppose to say in a comment?”

As we work to build relationships with fellow bloggers, there are few simple rules we like to follow:

Be Selfless. If you want bloggers to promote you, you must first promote them. Think about building a relationship based on their perspective, what can I gain from this.

Comment on Comments. One of the greatest things about blogging is receiving comments. It makes you feel appreciated and respected. In return, your reader feels the same way when you take the time to respond to their comments and it keeps them coming back to read more.

Comment on your Reader’s Blogs. Leaving thoughtful comments on your reader’s blogs is all about giving back. You will begin to see your relationship grow when you take the time to engage and promote other bloggers.

Create Valuable Content. Create posts that have a subject matter that is of value to your readers. Find out what they want and then give it to them. Write to the people that actually read your blog.

I heard Stratten give a talk about month ago on social media and he gave some interesting tips. He calls people on the internet that have nothing better to do than say mean things, trolls. “Don’t feed into the troll,” he says.

So on that note, if someone posts a comment you don’t like, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and “feed the troll” just to make a point.  Stay positive, engage fellow bloggers that have common interests, be selfless and be patient.  It takes commitment and rock solid content to build a strong blog following.

To get started with our own blog, let AuthorHive help get you started.  Check out the following book for a comprehensive look to starting, maintaining and expanding your blog site:

Is Social Media Really An Effective Way to Promote Your Book?

by Megan Leiter, Events and Social Media Coordinator

As someone who fulfills social media setups for AuthorHive authors and is currently acting as the Social Media Services Coordinator, I can give you a big honest YES to this question! Many of the authors I talk to daily ask, “Will anyone really read my blog?” and, “How are people going to find my profiles on all these social networking sites?”

Here are five ways to make the most of your social media profiles to promote your book:

1) Tags, Tags, Tags! :  A “post tag” is a keyword you can attach to each new post you put on your blog and essentially how people are going to find your blog site. When you attach keywords to your blog’s content, it’s more likely someone searching for those same keywords will find your blog through a search engine. Key Tip: you should always attach your pen name and book title to each post along with any other relevant keywords associated with what you’re writing about in that particular post.

2) Reaching Out:  The whole point of social networking is to be social on the internet – crazy I know! That means you’ll have to put some work into reaching out and contacting people through your profiles by sending out messages, updating your statuses in Facebook and Twitter on a consistent basis, creating event invites for book signings or speeches you may be giving, and more.

3) Fresh Content:  For a lot of people within the “blogosphere” once someone finds a blog they like, they visit it daily to check out what the contributor has to say. There’s nothing more disappointing to a devoted blog reader than going to your favorite blog(s) to find the blog contributor hasn’t posted any new content in a week or more. Keeping readers engaged through fresh content means being committed to keeping that connection alive by making the time to continuously post new content which means more than once a week.

4) Gathering Friends:  Exposure is the key to publicity. The more people you can gather to follow you on Twitter and like your fan page on Facebook, the more exposure your messages will have.

5) Time:  It takes a lot of time and commitment to build a fan base for a book so please don’t expect to be an overnight social media sensation like Susan Boyle (the Scottish singing talent discovered on Britain’s Got Talent who became an overnight sensation on YouTube.com). Just as it took time to write and produce your book, it will also take time to create your social media fan base.

I know many authors are intimidated by social media because it’s a new beast in the world and perhaps out of their comfort zone. Many authors I speak to vow to forgo the social media aspect of promotions entirely and I think the only person this is a disservice to is the author themselves. Facebook currently serves over 300 million users (and is still growing) and Twitter serves 190 million users. To me, that’s an awfully big market to be left untouched just because you may be unfamiliar with using a computer or don’t want to put the time into keeping up a social media presence.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask a friend or family member for help or call AuthorHive and we will get you on your way!

Traditional Media vs Social Media

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

The past couple of years seem to have represented a long drawn out public funeral for traditional media. Scores of established newspapers and magazines have gone the way of the Dodo. Much of the advice someone seeking publicity gets these days is centered on the concept of social media.

To be sure, more people are getting their information from and conducting their business on the Web than ever before.  If that’s the case, why then is traditional media so important to include within a social media campaign?

The truth is, a sizeable portion of the stories you end up seeing from blogs, tweets and Facebook have an original source in some traditional media outlet in which case social media provides a series of filters, commentary and summarized version of this content, which is certainly valuable. Even though dissemination of information is Web based more than it’s not, the sources of that info still live in a traditional realm.

I think a better way to look at it is to consider who you’re speaking to when launching a social media campaign. Any effort that you launch online is going to follow a grass roots effort. While the ends can be more rewarding, in that you built up a fan base on your own, without the type of exposure you can get from traditional media, you can find yourself on the outside looking in. Employing traditional media in a campaign legitimizes the publicity effort in that if you can get someone in the media interested in your book, then potential readers online are apt to be more responsive to someone they may have never heard of before.

It’s also important to know that traditional and social media are basically two spokes on the same wheel. While they can certainly operate independently of one another, why would they? In a November 19, 2010 article on combining traditional and social media (http://www.suite101.com/content/using-traditional-and-social-media-for-integrated-marketing-a311102) writer Brandon Williams notes the symbiotic relationship between the two mediums:

“Mixing traditional media with social media creates an integrated marketing strategy. This utilizes all forms of media to create a synergistic strategy.”

Using buzzwords such as synergy may go over the heads of some who are looking for the best way to market their book, but it is true:  To create total brand awareness for an author and/or their book, it’s important to marry and utilize all forms of media cohesively in order to gain the maximum amount of exposure.

While it’s true that the media landscape that surrounds us is ever evolving, it’s important not to forget the more traditional methods of garnering media attention to maximize success now and into the future.

5 Reasons Why People Join Twitter

by Kelly Rynard, Literary Publicist

Recently a friend of mine joined Twitter, I found it ironic since for so long he dismissed everything I said about the social network site, calling it a “waste of time.”  Then I come to find a month later he joined only to follow members of the Indianapolis Colts, like Antoine Bethea, Robert Mathis, Jerraud Powers, Pierre Garcon and Jim Irsay just to name a few.   He stated, “If big Jim Irsay can Twitter guess I have to too.”  I’m still trying to get him to use ‘tweet’ as the verb for Twitter. 

Following a football team may not be the reason most people join Twitter, but for some it is.  So, for all you cynics, here are some reasons to start tweeting:

  1. Making Connections Twitter is an excellent marketing tool for any industry.  It enables you to build relationships with people you wouldn’t normally be able to reach.
  2. Share Knowledge There are experts on anything and everything.  Knowledge and expertise is spread constantly on Twitter through real life experiences, newspapers and magazine articles, photos and videos.  You can also learn endless information from followers.
  3. Traffic to Your Website Twitter is a brilliant way to promote yourself or your website to thousands of people at one time.  Posting a 140 character tease about your website or business is a terrific way to interest people in clicking through to your site.
  4. Word of Mouth Advertising Twitter is where people are.  There is no better way to reach your niche audience.  When you are actively engaging with your followers in your niche you will see your brand expand exponentially.
  5. Interact with others and get advice Everyone needs advice every once and while.  Twitter is a wonderful place to ask your followers questions about anything at all, whether it be what to do on a Saturday night to what to blog about for the week.  Keep in mind people love free stuff so try offering your readers a free product in return for a review.

I sat through a Twitter workshop with “Twitter Guru” Kyle Lacy yesterday and he suggested sending new Twitter users to YouTube for quick and basic Twitter tutorials.  I searched YouTube this morning and thought I would share a couple links I thought might be helpful as you get started:

For more information about getting started with Twitter, check out the following books:

Earning Trust with Social Media: How to Use Social Media Beyond “Hawking Wares”

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

Anyone who has ever been a social media skeptic—particularly in relation to marketing products and building brand awareness—is now painfully aware of the powerful impact that an online presence can have. Through social media, users are finding jobs, products are finding fans and media members are even finding stories (a national survey conducted earlier this year by Cision found that an “overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories”).

In all of the aforementioned cases, networkers have gained interest, trust and loyalty through social media—which is no easy feat.  A rookie mistake is to just set up social media sites and desperately hope on a wing and a prayer it will take off on its own.  Another mistake is to send into cyberspace repetitive and impersonal posts that boast “Check out Billy Bob’s (insert product here) –It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

Imagine yourself as a consumer:  Would you take an interest in this person or product?  In order to generate interest, you must put effort and work into the relationship-building aspect of social media beyond simply “hawking wares.”

The Enlightened Consumer
In part due to social media and the age of instant communication and information sharing, businesses are quickly adopting an even stronger customer-centric approach in order to be recognized among all the noise and build a fan base. Consumers today have the power to spread support for or veto products instantaneously; therefore, it’s more common now for the consumer’s interests to be represented and feedback listened to.

After all, if every consumer’s opinion is broadcasted to a forum of millions of potential readers, wouldn’t you want comments to be positive rather than negative?

Converting Visitors to Followers
Let’s assume you have a finished product and you’re ready to promote it online. Your Twitter page, Facebook Fan page, official blog, and other sites have been set up, but now what? Before you dive into social media, consider things from the average consumer’s vantage:

 –“And WHY should I care?”  Your focus is on your product, but resist the urge to post about it only. Give visitors a reason to be interested beyond your own product, and you’ll reach a wider audience and earn followers. Keep posts personal and varied—more people will become engaged if they know the sites aren’t maintained by a single-focused robot.

 –“You’ve got to give love to get love.”  As cliché as it may sound, you must give due attention to other products and related services to receive attention in return. If you’re an author, support other authors when possible. When interacting with potential followers, take an interest in and comment on what they are reading, writing or involved with.

 —What Can I Get Out of This?  Providing posts of value to consumers is a must. Make it a priority to dispense valuable tips, previews, photos and thought-provoking questions as often as possible. Research and share interesting statistics, articles or videos related to your genre, and make sure to supply interactive options like email subscriptions and applications.  

By taking the consumer into consideration, you’re more likely to build relationships that yield positive results (a win-win situation). As a consumer, what would you like to see done more often with social media?

Check out the books below to learn more about social media marketing:

6 Reasons You Need a Facebook Fan Page

by Maggie Hames, Social Media Specialist

When Mark Zuckerburg said Facebook was ‘almost guaranteed’ to reach 1 billion users, few doubted him. After all, there are only four countries in the world that have yet to join the social network (Russia, Japan, China and Korea). Facebook has become such an integral part of web use, “many would argue that it’s second only to Google in its importance to online marketers.”(via Mashable)  So how can you use this opportunity to promote your book? Facebook Fan Pages. And here’s why:

  1. It’s free and easy. You can create a fan page in just a few minutes with your book cover and website URL. This quickly gives you a platform for promoting your book online and leveraging your already developed network of friends. They key to being successful is staying engaged.  
  2. Keep your fans updated. Most fans won’t visit your website everyday, but they will be on Facebook daily. Keep them up-to-date about new blog posts, book signings, book reviews and media hits.
  3. Become searchable. Facebook fan pages are public, which means they can be indexed by search engines and will often show up in results first. They can also link back to your website, adding SEO (search engine optimization) value to your site.
  4. Interact with fans. While Twitter only allows for 140 characters a tweet, Facebook conversations have no limit. Talk with readers about their favorite chapters, interesting characters and more. Passionate and active fans become great advocates for your book. 
  5. Customize. You can create customized tabs featuring your book cover, video trailer and other content specific to your book.  After fans ‘like’ your page, they will be directed to the ‘wall’ each time they visit. But you can also create a welcome tab for new visitors to land on.
  6. Facebook pages are measurable. When you manage a fan page, Facebook installs ‘Insights’ tracking everything from ‘likes’ to ‘mentions.’ This allows you to track your growth in Facebook fans down to a multiple of demographics. It is a great tool for tracking your successes and failures, allowing you to constantly grow your fan base.

Twitter “Noobs”: 5 Things You Can Learn from @50Cent

 by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

In my eyes, the introduction of @50Cent and @OprahTheDog has to be the most interesting (and educational) development in the Twitterverse since…well, Twitter itself.

For those of you who are still in the dark, platinum-selling rapper 50 Cent—who once left his Twitter account to his PR team—suddenly became active in the Twitter world, slinging grammar-challenged tweets rife with controversy into cyberspace. Since then, 50 Cent has been experimenting with fan engagement while gaining footing with a new medium to spread his message. He tweeted that he was looking for love online, which started an avalanche of responses and Twitter photos. He also recently created an account for his dog “Oprah,” garnering over 8,000 followers in two days, and his hints at the dog’s abusive “master” enflamed the animal advocate group PETA. 50 Cent’s garbled tweets even inspired a mock “Queen’s English” 50 Cent translation Twitter page (@English50Cent).

 I’d argue there are a few lessons to be learned from 50 Cent for those who are new to Twitter, both on what to do and what NOT to do (who would have ever thought 50 Cent could be educational?):

  1. Be Active:  At first, 50 Cent was leery of Twitter as a medium to reach his fans—much like many who still are unsure of the value of the popular social media site. But, once he jumped in and began tweeting regularly, he saw a quick response from his followers (now numbering over 3 million). Now, he tweets several times an hour and has mastered the art of links, attachments and replies.
  2. Be Personal:  When his account was maintained by his team, 50 Cent’s tweets lacked the singeing personality and pizzazz that they have now. Now, we can peek into his whirlwind life as a famous rapper (which, if you judged merely by his tweets, consists mostly of sex, money and “hustling”). By being humorous, personal and newsworthy, he’s given followers a reason to pay attention to him (besides his obvious fame factor).
  3. Engage!:  Inspired by the immediate buzz he made, 50 Cent created ways to engage his fans. His quest to find a girlfriend online started an impromptu contest, and even celebrities like Perez Hilton joined in for fun (although 50 Cents resulting homophobic tweets caused a stir in the gay community). While I wouldn’t suggest mimicking his behavior entirely, he has the right idea of using creative methods to engage your followers and keep them interested. If you’re an author, for example, offer a free chapter to your followers.
  4. Be Responsible:  A warning: exercise your power responsibly. I think most would agree that 50 Cent has been abusing his influence and his 3-million-follower soapbox by causing unnecessary controversy. Twitter is a great tool to use to your advantage, but be aware of the consequences.
  5. Be Professional:  It would be safe to say that if 50 Cent’s mother was next to him when he tweeted, he’d be getting soap in that mouth of his! Remember that Twitter is a very public platform, and if your account is public anyone can read what you write. Tweet as if your mother, child, teacher AND employer have access to your Twitter page. That means cutting out profanity, writing legibly, and not tweeting about anything you would deem embarrassing.

What are your thoughts about 50 Cent’s sudden arrival to Twitter? Does it inspire you to become more involved?