How Authors Can Embrace Social Media Tools to Promote Their Work


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Presentation titled, How Authors Can Embrace Social Media Tools to Promote Their Work, given to the Central Florida Romance Writers Association by Amanda Forbes, APR on April 3, 2010.

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  • First let me tell you a little bit about myself… Amanda Forbes Senior Account Executive | Public Relations at Fry Hammond Barr – an ad/pr/interactive agency that’s been around for 54 years I work primarily with B2C and B2B brands in both the public relations and social media realm I’ve been tinkering around in what’s now known as social media since I was in High School (consider joking about 10 year HS reunion this year) Social Media – raise hands if you’re already playing in social media – whether you have a blog, are on twitter or Facebook? If you see hands – that’s what I assumed.
  • Create a plan – what platform; how often/frequency; integrate existing content Build your presence – try new things/experiment; see what others are doing; follow industry leaders to learn more Find your audience – tell friends to fan/follow; locate friends, fellow authors or mentors and follow them; etc.
  • Listening should be the first step each day, especially when starting to understand social media. This means: Reading blogs, twitter posts, etc. …find difference genres See what others are saying Read what posts get the most comments Check out the competition Monitor goes back to listening; what are others saying about you or your book(s)? …about topics you’re interested in? Engage – show that there’s a real person behind the pages Make connections before you need them – you can’t start a Twitter account the day your book launches and expect to be an instant success. You need to start developing your audience long before you have something to market to them. Join conversations
  • Make connections before you need them – you can’t start a Twitter account the day your book launches and expect to be an instant success. You need to start developing your audience long before you have something to market to them. Join conversations that aren’t about you – You can’t build meaningful connections with fans by just talking about yourself all the time. If you want to make authentic relationships, try joining in conversations about other topics that interest you. Use your social presence to support other promotions – it’s a great tool to build buzz and promote events (whether yours or something of interest) Use social media to feed your work – your social networking experiences can actually help you develop ideas, if you’re open to it. One author tweeted about his wife waking up in a bad mood after she had a dream about him flirting with another woman. After he sent the message several of his followers responded that they’d had similar experiences with their spouses. What seemed like a freak occurrence at first might actually be a common problem that he could explore in an article.
  • Tweet - Each of your Twitter posts or updates is known as a tweet. @ - The @ symbol is a way of referring to another Twitter user. For example, @Amanda4bes means you're either sending a message to Amanda Forbes or you're talking about me in your message. On your Twitter home page, you'll see mentions where you can find people mentioning your username with an @ before it. This is how you find other people's replies to you. Retweet - A retweet - or RT - is when you share the tweet of one user with all of your Twitter followers. If you happen to follow a Twitter news feed and they post a link to a story that you feel should be shared, you can "retweet" it. For instance, if I tweeted, "Twitter Tips - How To Tweet in 140 Characters or Less" you could retweet that as: "RT @Amanda4bes: Twitter Tips - How To Tweet in 140 Characters or Less" Something to be aware of - it's considered rude or just plain not nice to take someone else's Tweet and send it back out as your own. Give credit for the tweet where it's due. You will more than likely be thanked for the Retweet and you may gain new followers at the same time. Retweets are usually prefaced with "RT @username." Reply - Reply is when you respond to a tweet from a particular user. This is a public message to or about that person. Direct Message - Whereas replies are completely public, a direct message is similar to a private message that you send through a discussion board. You can only send a direct message to someone that is following your account. Follower - While Facebook requires that all relationships be reciprocal, Twitter allows for one-way relationships. If you find Twitter users who are interesting, you can "follow them" to subscribe to their tweets. They do not necessarily have to follow you back, though the more social users will want to follow you back. Tweeple - Twitter people, Twitter members, Twitter users. Twitterverse - The Twitter Universe ... it's big and it's expanding at a great rate! Hashtags or # - Hashtags are words or acronyms that begin with the number sign. They are used when many people are tweeting about the same topic or from the same event. At least one hashtag is often on Twitter's trending topics list. The best application for tracking what the different hashtags meanings is, which tracks tags by popularity over time. Before Twitter's search feature was useful, Hashtags provided a means to search tags. A popular hashtag is #FollowFriday. You'll see every Friday posts from different tweeple suggesting who they think you should follow. "#FollowFriday @Amanda4bes.
  • Search Google alerts for twitter Ratio doesn’t matter; don’t have to follow every one back; encouraged to monitor who follows you (get rid of the porn stars and spammers) Directories - Get your organization listed on relevant directories – join Mr. Tweet for suggestions on who to follow;; Seek out the media on directories and follow appropriate journalists as well (in the hopes that they will eventually follow back, but in the least you have a better idea of what’s going on with them day-to-day which may impact whether you pitch them a story or not…) Rankings – find out how you compare locally with other organizations and find others to follow in your area –;
  • Quick example of how you can utilize This is made up…but say you were promoting the Disney Marathon… One way you could monitor the conversation about the event is by searching for the term at Twitter Search Then engage with people talking about your brand, when appropriate Here you could congratulate a runner for meeting a goal or point another to a training schedule if they posted something about needing help…it’s all about a dialog Provide relevant content, share your expertise or passion Don’t be afraid to promote others along the way Be authentic…be human
  • A few romance authors recommended by Mashable that utilize Twitter to communicate about books, writing and the writing process, life, work, other writers, and the world in a way that connects them not only to fans but expands that base… And I’d be remiss not to mention Susan Orlean, a literary nonfiction writer who’s very well-known in the Twittersphere
  • Why a fan page? Facebook limits the number of friends you can have to 5,000. Facebook pages can have unlimited number of fans Plus you can use an image of your book cover, write a blurb about the book, and add other features that you might not want to do on a personal profile. Add Tabs and applications, extra testimonials from readers, links to sales pages and even offer your fans a free downloadable sample of your upcoming book… Get fans ask your friends to Become a Fan and suggest the page to their friends Include a link to your page in your e-mail signature, put a badge on your blog or website, etc. Start conversations It makes you more accessible and allows your readers to connect with you on a personal level Make sure you respond to comments and wall posts from fans; they’ll love hearing from you as much as you’ll love hearing from them
  • Insights allows you to track visitors and activity Best weekday and time to post based on your fan base to get the most response More “liked” type of content Etc. Utilize public search to see what others are saying about topics of interest to you or even about you/book (if they’re set to public)
  • Insert image of Facebook insights Insert image with link to Facebook search – searched for reading Twilight, but authors could use their pen name, title of book, etc. to reach out to new fans…
  • Fast-paced For an alternative perspective: some bloggers with experience working for daily or weekly news blogs claim that blogging can be like a minute-to-minute speed; whereas they felt when the wrote their first book that it was slower pace…needed a lot of patience Integrate Use twitter to drive traffic to your posts, etc. Blog to book deal Some bloggers have had success turning their work into book deal
  • Smartphone apps or mobile websites TweetDeck/Seesmic – real-time monitoring of what your friends are saying HootSuite - schedule tweets in advance - import a blog to post on FB/Twitter automatically - track clicks via shorten URL
  • How Authors Can Embrace Social Media Tools to Promote Their Work

    1. 1. Social Media How Authors Can Embrace Social Media Tools to Promote Their Work Amanda Forbes, APR
    2. 2. What is Social Media? <ul><li>Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction + the construction of words, pictures, video + audio (Wikipedia 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Online applications, platforms and media that aim to facilitate interaction, collaboration and the sharing of content. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media = Conversation </li></ul>
    3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Getting Started / Best Practices / Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Dive into specific platforms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul>
    4. 4. Getting Started <ul><li>Create a plan </li></ul><ul><li>Build your presence </li></ul><ul><li>Find your audience </li></ul><ul><li>…be social </li></ul>
    5. 5. Best Practices <ul><li>Listen </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor </li></ul><ul><li>Engage </li></ul>
    6. 6. Best Practices <ul><li>Make connections before you need them </li></ul><ul><li>Join conversations that aren’t about you </li></ul><ul><li>Use social media to support other promotions </li></ul><ul><li>Use social media to feed your work </li></ul>
    7. 8. Twitter <ul><li>140 character “mini-blog” </li></ul><ul><li>75M Twitter users </li></ul><ul><li>Hyperlink to events, pictures, news, Web sites, podcasts, online videos and other “tweets” </li></ul><ul><li>Track and become part of the conversation </li></ul>
    8. 9. Twitter <ul><li>Understand Terminology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tweet and ReTweet (RT) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>@Reply or @Mention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>follow vs. following </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li># </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tweeple or twitterverse </li></ul></ul>
    9. 10. Twitter <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>follow/following </li></ul><ul><li>directories/rankings </li></ul>
    10. 12. Twitter Romance Authors <ul><li>@Annewhitfield </li></ul><ul><li>@DebraMullins </li></ul><ul><li>@jennablack </li></ul><ul><li>@kimlenox </li></ul><ul><li>@Patti_OShea </li></ul><ul><li>@TinaGerow </li></ul><ul><li>@victoriajanssen </li></ul><ul><li>@susanorlean * </li></ul>
    11. 13. Facebook <ul><li>Word of mouth, grow your support network and influencers; extension of your corporate Web site </li></ul><ul><li>More than 400M active Facebook users </li></ul><ul><li>50 percent of active users log on to Facebook in any given day </li></ul><ul><li>Types of profiles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal profile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook Page (+ new Community Pages) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group </li></ul></ul>
    12. 14. Facebook <ul><li>Create a fan page </li></ul><ul><li>Get fans </li></ul><ul><li>Use your Facebook Page to promote book signings, readings, events, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Start conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Promote your page (buttons, FB ads, etc.) </li></ul>
    13. 15. Facebook <ul><li>Facebook Page Insights </li></ul><ul><li>Public search </li></ul>
    14. 17. Blogs <ul><li>Can even utilize free platforms (Blogger, Wordpress, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Faster-paced </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate with other social presence </li></ul><ul><li>Blog to book deal? </li></ul>
    15. 18. Management Tools <ul><li>Smartphone apps </li></ul><ul><li>HootSuite </li></ul><ul><li>TweetDeck or Seesmic </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>…ultimately find what works best for YOU </li></ul>
    16. 19. Amanda Forbes, APR @amanda4bes