Monday, October 10, 2011

Field-Tested Marketing: Twitter and Facebook

Field-Tested Marketing is a new series focusing on my own experiences replicating common marketing advice seen on writing forums and in marketing books.

The Advice: Provide a daily link to your book on Twitter and Facebook. Try doing it several times a day, to ensure that you cover all of your followers who visit Twitter at different times.

In action: I've discovered two issues with this approach. First, I stop following people only send out links to their books, especially if it is several times a day. It gets even more annoying when it's just the same tag line over and over. It doesn't make me want to read the book, when it's being repeated so many times.

I used to follow a person who only talked about how many sales they'd made that day and link saying "let's make it a round dozen" or whatever. I don't mind the occasional tweet like this. But daily? No thanks. And worse, many other Tweeters started talking about the person in code, making fun of them. I don't want to be that person!

The exception to this is when there is a special promotion or contest happening. In those cases, such as Read an Ebook Week, I expect to see a lot more links going on around social networking sites. Oftentimes, these tweets and facebook messages contain sale information, free codes, and specials. These are time-sensitive events, so it makes complete sense to have them tweeted often.

The interesting thing that I've found is that people tend to retweet or share these special events far more frequently than the general "buy my stuff" messages.

I tweet a link to one of my books whenever I think about it: once or twice a week, on average. I have an Amazon Affiliates account, as I use it frequently on ebook review site. The side benefit to this is having very easy "Share" links available to me for Amazon pages. I generally use this buttons to share my book link, plus include a special message.

I personally see Twitter as a chance to chat with people, like a chat channel. A Facebook fan page has a great potential as a modified forum. I love asking research questions, opinions, and generally silliness on my Facebook page.

Bottom line: Many of the people who follow me on social media have either purchased my work. Others  have stated that it isn't either in their genre of interest, or don't like to read ebooks (and are waiting for the print copy); they stay because I entertain them. 

Yet, whenever I do my occasional new release or sale link, all of these folks retweet or share my links to their followers. I've gained several new follows this way, which helps spread name recognition and word-of-mouth potential.

My Recommendation:  Do link your work a couple times a week, or whenever you remember. New releases, sales, and contests are short-term enough to allow for much more frequent linkage. Try changing up the book titles and the tag lines you use.  

And remember: social media is about being social, not about bombarding people with commercials.

What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?

Krista D. Ball is a Canadian science fiction and fantasy author. She's currently hiding from necromancers. Better safe than undead.


  1. If I know someone is active on twitter in other ways, I don't mind a "buy my book" tweet now and then. But I think most people on twitter can also spot a "poser." Someone who is only there to sell and product and is just pretending to "be part of the conversation."

  2. *nod*

    I totally agree. What's more, I find myself more inclined to tweet and retweet about the books of other Twitter folks when I have engaged in lots of conversations with them.

    Same thing with Facebook and even blogging.

  3. Nine times out of ten, a buy-my-book tweet or (shudder) Goodreads recommendation will make me run in the opposite direction.

    Then there's that tenth time when something about the tweet will make me go "ooooo" and sometimes, maybe one time in a hundred, I will actually check out the book.

    So the odds are, what, a thousand to one? (I'm no good at math. Throw things at the screen if you like.) that I'll take a look at your book. Then whether I'll buy it depends on so many things.

    I'm far more likely to buy your book if it's recommended by SOMEONE ELSE. Someone I trust.

    - don't tweet about your book all that much. Make me like you first.
    - concentrate on building your tribe of people who will like your book and handsell it to others
    - first and foremost, write a really good book. Quality sells.