Posted in book reviews, books, cover design, editing, giveaway, marketing, publishing, self publishing, social media, writing, writing advice, writing tips

Indie Author Basics: Marketing

Whether an author hires out marketing duties or takes them on personally, it’s important to understand the basics.

Word of Mouth

Achieving good word of mouth requires having a professional, high quality product.

Word of mouth is still the best way to sell anything because the recommendation is coming from someone the person likes and trusts.

To get good word or mouth for your books, you need a professional, high quality product. Make sure your editing is clean and the book cover does not look homemade.

You should also actively encourage readers to share your book and talk about it publicly. This can be accomplished through street teams, contests that require sharing a post or writing a review, or putting a reminder the back matter of the book.

Social Media

Post on your social media platforms regularly to keep people engaged. Utilize a mix of informational, funny, promotional, or talking point types of posts.

Utilize social media ads to sell directly to interested readers who already like/follow you. You can also target lookalike audiences of similar authors and unique to reach new customers.

Free/Paid advertising

Free advertising options including posting to book-related Facebook groups (there are tons of these), newsletter swaps, blogging, creating Pinterest boards for your books or characters, and adding books to book sites like My Book Cave and Goodreads.

Paid advertising options include social media ads (pretty much all platforms are willing to take your money in the form of ads hosting), Amazon ads, book-related paid newsletters like FreeBooksy or BookBub, print ads in literary magazines or your local newspaper or circular, sponsorships, and paid online takeovers and parties.

DON’T pay for reviews, ever! It’s against retailers’ terms of service and you can be penalized. Paying a fee to have your book listed in a review catalogue is okay because you are not paying for individual reviews, just the listing.

Networking/Collaborating

Collaborate with other authors to expand your reach.
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Get involved with group promos and events with other authors. You can usually find out about these by joining online authors groups like Alessandra Torre Inkers. These types of collaborations expands your reach and allows you to share fans with and of other authors.

Copywriting

Learn to write engaging ad copy and book cover copy in order to catch the interest of readers. Blurb writing is challenging, and can be hired out if you don’t feel comfortable writing in short form.

Test different ads through A/B testing and determine what type of wording and what styles work best with your audience. Update your ads often because tastes change frequently. Study blurbs for books in your genre to learn more about the style and conventions readers will look for.

Use professional graphics (Pixabay, Canva, Deposit Photos) in all promotional material. DO NOT pull images from a Google search, because the may be copyrighted and you could end up with legal action and fines. There are plenty of free options out there, like Pixabay, if you’re on a tight budget. The same rules apply to music if you post videos.

Planning

Plan according to the amount of time you can realistically put toward marketing.

Determine how much time you REALISTICALLY have each week to put toward marketing, and build your marketing plan around that. Set daily, weekly, monthly tasks AND stick to them. Good things to include are social media posts, submitting books to newsletters, reviewing and updating ads, and engaging with readers.

Plan major campaigns (new releases, holidays, etc.) at least a month in advance, more if possible. Holidays need advanced planning more than almost anything else because newsletter slots will fill up quickly and ad costs may be higher than usual. Bloggers are also much busier and so are readers.

Ideas for major campaigns include hosting virtual parties, running giveaways, participating in takeovers or having other authors takeover your pages (especially popular on Instagram lately), running sales on your books, or hosting a live or online event to celebrate new releases or writing milestones.

Host an online or in-person event to celebrate new releases or writing milestones.
Posted in marketing, social media

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing: Part 3

Ads on Twitter

Ad Types

Amerikaanse dollar Americk dolar AmerikanskThere are several different types of paid ads you can utilize on Twitter. Each one serves a specific purpose and should be chosen with a particular goal in mind.

  • Follow Ads: used to gain more followers. These ads show up in the “Who to Follow” suggestions. These are typically the most expensive type of ad, averaging $3 per follower added.
  • Awareness Ads: used to build brand awareness and get your content in front of more users. You will pay for every 1000 impressions rather than new followers. These tend to be more effective than Engagement ads.
  • Engagement Ads: used to get more likes, tweets, and retweets. You will pay for each action taken by a user. These can be helpful for getting a particular tweet noticed.
  • Clicks/Conversion Ads: used to get clicks on links that lead to conversations (email signup, purchase, etc.). You will pay for clicks, not impressions with these ads. These ads are optimized for clicks and have a specific/set bid.

Ad Campaign Tips

  • Target interests and keywords for the most effective results
  • DON’T use photos, links, or hashtags in Follow campaigns
  • DO use photos and links in Engagement campaigns – helps increase clicks
  • Trust the suggested bid from Twitter – they have detailed analytics the suggestions are based off
  • Follow ads should NOT be sales pitchy, but should instead describe your brand and tell people why they should follow

Twitter Analytics

Creating a Marketing PlanTwitter has in-depth analytics that can help you determine whether or not your everyday tweets and ad campaigns are effective. Studying the analytics can help you perfect what type of content works best for your followers and what types of ads will be most effective for your brand.

Using Analytics Effectively

Use Twitter Analytics to determine what content is performing the best and meeting your brand’s needs

  • Retweets show that followers value the content enough to share it
  • Likes show that they appreciate the content
  • Clicks show they are actively interested in the content and want to learn more

You can also use analytics to learn more about your followers and what they are interested in by reviewing the “Audience” section. This will tell you more about your organic audience.

  • Use demographic info of your organic followers to fine tune what types of new followers to target
  • Use information on your audience’s current interests to plan your content – check back often and adjust to any changes
  • Check out the Top Ten Interests of your followers and incorporate keywords and hashtags into your tweets

Marketing on Twitter starts with strong content curation and understanding your audience and their interests. Once you have a firm grasp on that, moving to paid advertising can help you improve brand awareness, grow your following, and increase engagement with customers.

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Posted in marketing, social media

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing: Part 2

Engaging on Twitter and Growing Your Following

Tweet BirdAs with other social media platforms, engaging with followers is key to growing your following and producing effective marketing campaigns. Hashtags and trending topics are a great starting point to engage with followers and potential followers, but you can’t stop there.

Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are organized via a specific hashtag. They are typically planned for a specific time, with a specific topic, and can be followed and joined by using the chat hashtag in a tweet. This is a great way to connect with followers and new users because it opens a dialogue and shows who and what your brand is about.

Ongoing Engagement

  • Follow conversations important to your brand or industry and join in regularly
  • Track “mentions” and comment or thank the person who engaged or shared your brand/name
  • Reply to retweets with a thank you or to continue the discussion
  • Follow industry authorities to learn from their examples and keep up on industry news
  • Comment often on tweets relevant to your brand or industry
  • Answer questions via mentions or tags in a timely manner – many users engage on Twitter to have questions answers or for customer service inquiries
  • Avoid Auto DMs as most Twitter users don’t like receiving them and often ignore them. Instead take the time to reach out to new followers with a quick thanks or welcome.

When to Engage

bb5f5-clock2balarm2bclockTwitter appears to be a nonstop, all-day conversation, but there are peak times to engage and tweet. Time plays an important role, and different times are better for different types of results. Results may be slightly different depending on your target audience, location, and industry, but in general many Twitter users tend to engage in the evening and late night/early morning.

  • Friday is the best day to post (9-10 a.m. specifically)
  • Everyday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. is a good time to post
  • Sunday morning has the least engagement
  • Most clicks are seen in the 2-4 a.m. time frame (except Mondays)
  • After 5 p.m. are when the most retweets happen

Engagement is one of the most important factors in building a community and dedicated followers. Take the time to make followers feel like they are a part of the community.

Posted in marketing, social media

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing: Part 1

Curating Strong Content

Specific Content

DeathtoStock_CreativeSpace3 11.45.06 AMBefore promoting a tweet on Twitter, it’s important to have strong content that will be effective to promote. Every social media platform is different and specific types of content work well on each platform. For Twitter, great content should:

  • Be informative and useful
  • Comment on trending news
  • Be related to highly searched keywords
  • Retweet other user’s useful content
  • Lead or begin a discussion on trending topics

Pinned Tweets

DeathtoStock_Desk5On Twitter, you have the opportunity to highlight your content with a pinned tweet. It’s important to choose a pinned tweet that shows followers who your company is, what your brand is about, and what is going on in your company’s world. Pinned tweets are great for:

  • Upcoming events
  • Announcements
  • Summarizing your company’s brand or mission
  • A tweet with a strong call to action that will further your goals (i.e. email signup, purchases)

Images and Video

Film ReelEnhancing your content with images and video is very effective on Twitter. Tweets with images or video are, on average, retweeted 150% more often than tweets that are text or links. Another benefit or images and videos are that they take up more space in the feed and grab the viewers attention.

  • Ideal image/video size for Twitter is 1024×512 pixels

Hashtags and Trends

Hashtags are a great way to increase the visibility of your content on Twitter. Hashtags operate as search keywords for users trying to find specific topics. Twitter tracks trending hashtags. These are important to pay attention to and incorporate into your tweets when they are relevant. Using trending hashtags will help your content get noticed more.

Trends are important topics being discussed on Twitter. Trends are also tracked on an ongoing basis. When trending topics are relevant to your brand or mission, join the conversation and lead a discussion.

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