How to share posts with Buffer

Learn how to share posts with Buffer, a free tool that lets you schedule social media in advance. With these advanced (but easy) tips, you can queue interesting content right from the article you’re reading. Save time on your social media strategy and you’ll have more time to do what you love—writing! Being an author isn’t easy, but with Buffer, at least your social media can be.

Learn how to use Buffer:

1. Create a free Buffer account
2. Install the Buffer Google Chrome extension
3. Share or schedule content directly from your browser
4. Create original visual content right from the Buffer extension

Sell Books with Social Media Using a Commitment Curve

What is a Commitment Curve?

I first heard of the concept of a “commitment curve” in a talk by Airbnb‘s Global Head of Community Douglas Atkin. Atkin referenced this theory of community involvement, explaining that people scale up a commitment curve by starting with small actions and moving up to larger commitment.

For instance, if you asked someone to coordinate a meet-up in your very first interaction with them, the answer would almost certainly be no. But if your only ask was a social media “like,” you’d almost certainly do better. As a relationship deepens, people commit to larger and larger actions.

Why It Works

I’m no psychologist, but a possible explanation for this theory lies in the Ben Franklin effect. This phenomenon posits that once someone has done a very small favor, they are far more likely to agree to a larger favor in the future. The idea is that your mind believes that if you’ve done someone a kindness, you must like them—so you’re more inclined to do them a subsequent kindness, too. It’s a bit cyclical in nature, I know, but it seems to hold true in varied fields of sales.

Sell Books with Social Media—A Specialized Commitment Curve

Below, I’ve applied the theory of commitment curve psychology to author book sales. You’ll learn how to sell books with social media by scaling potential readers up a commitment curve.

sell books with social media

1. Social Media “Like”

Someone favorites, likes, or hearts one of your social media posts

2. Click through to a Website

The person clicks through to your website to read a blog post or a story excerpt

3. Social Media Follow

They liked your writing enough to follow you on social media—they want more!

4. Blog Comment

You’ve piqued their interest and they want to engage directly with you and start a conversation.

5. Newsletter Signup/Blog Subscription

They never want to miss an update from you.

6. Buy Your Book

They put their money where their interest is!

7. Buy More than One Book/Subscription

Your first book was fantastic, so they pick up more.

8. Market Your Book for You

They love your writing so much that they recommend it to all their friends, and spread the word for you online. Word of mouth is the highest influencer on purchasing decisions, so reaching this step is especially valuable.

How to Find Your Next Thousand Loyal Readers: Email Subscribers

Excerpted from How to Find Your Next Thousand Loyal Readers by Eva Gantz

Ever look at your colleague’s Twitter or Facebook page and wonder how exactly they got such a large following? Or maybe you’ve watched other authors effortlessly (or so it seems) sail to the top of Amazon’s top 100 books, and wondered, “How can I do that?” It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start comparing yourself to other authors, especially ones who have been around much longer. It can help to remember that some authors have marketing experience, and/or a PR firm backing their efforts. One of the reasons I’m so enthusiastic about social media is its potential to level the playing field. With the right tools and tactics, every author can grow a large, dedicated following.

Rule of 1000

There’s a school of thought in creative sales propounding the idea that if you can get one thousand “true” fans, you’ll be set. The idea is that a small(er) group of dedicated fans is far better than millions of readers who are sort-of or sometimes engaged. Think of it this way: what if one thousand people immediately and eagerly bought every single one of your new releases, and shared it with their network? Your income would be more steady, and the books would rise quickly to the status of best-seller, where even more folks would discover and buy them. One thousand fans probably still seems insurmountable, but if you approach it as a gradual process and through multiple channels, it looks a bit less terrifying.

How to find your next 1000 readers

First of all, you don’t just want numbers. You don’t need 1000 random followers, or people who happen to follow you. You want the right folks, and you want them to care about what you have to say. This requires creative thinking, targeted research, outreach, and lots of patience. Every online platform has different tactics for growth, so I’m going to break it down by each individual network/platform.

Email Subscribers

Email has the highest conversion rate of any platform. It’s also, in my experience, the hardest one to build. One of the unique benefits of an email list is that you, and you alone, own it. If you have one million followers on Facebook, that’s awesome, but ultimately Facebook owns those fans. As they’ve demonstrated in recent years, they can choose to make you pay every time you want to reach them. With email, you’ll never have to worry about paid advertising or shady social networks changing their policies.

If you don’t already have a newsletter system in place, I recommend Mailchimp. It’s a snap to create newsletters, and their designs for the emails themselves are beautiful and simple. You can start with one of their templates, or make your own from scratch; either way, you simply drag and drop boxes and elements like pictures and text around until you have something gorgeous. They also facilitate simple integration with Google Analytics. You can check where people are clicking in the email, and follow their actions onto your site (creepy, but cool).

Make sure you have an opt-in (as opposed to opt-out) list-building strategy. People should actively choose to sign up for your list, not be auto-subscribed. A wonderful example of organic (not-paid) growth of email subscribers can be seen in this article from Buffer. The key is awesome, incredible can’t-find-it-anywhere-else content, paired with gentle reminders with easy ways to sign up. Depending on what you use to build and host your site (i.e. WordPress or Blogger), you’ll be able to enable a newsletter signup in your sidebar, footer, as a popup, and/or at the bottom of every post. Your goal should be to “capture” every new person who visits your site, even if they only read one page. Make “newsletter signup” an entry for contests/giveaways, even on other people’s blogs.

Be sure to tell your audience why they should sign up. How often will the emails be? What kind of content can they expect? Are there freebies, sneak-peaks, or even exclusive content only for subscribers? Or maybe there are behind-the-scenes looks at your writing process. There has to be a special hook, because at this point, we’re all jaded. Think about it: you don’t give your email out without a good reason, so neither will your clever, discerning would-be readers. Do your absolute best to stick to those promises, and remain consistent in your emails. You can collect tidbits throughout the month/week to include in your emails, so it isn’t a mad dash to throw something together come newsletter day.

Want more? Get the whole ebook.FindYourNext1000LoyalReaders

How to Find Your Next Thousand Loyal Readers: The Zero-Budget Guide to Growing Your Audience is yours for free when you sign up for the newsletter. This ebook is exclusively for Giving Books a Voice subscribers, and covers email lists, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Tumblr, Google Plus, and going the extra mile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Practices (AKA Etiquette) for Authors on Social Media

At the suggestion of my lovely author friend Malin James, I’m writing a special article to focus exclusively on the do’s and don’ts of being polite, kind, and well-received on social media. For some of you, this may simply be common sense, but maybe you’ll pick up a trick or two or a new perspective on marketing.

Don’t sell to other authors

Actually, you should never sell to anyone. My cardinal rule of sales is to never hard-sell (ie, spamming out “buy my book!!!” to your followers). If you do insist on hard-selling, never, ever, ever sell to other authors.

It’s a rookie mistake. We have this wonderful community of other authors who are supportive, kind, and often willing to go the extra mile to help us, so we surround ourselves with them. But at the end of the day, other authors are not your target audience.

Why? First of all, as you probably know, authors don’t typically have a bunch of extra pocket money—this industry is tough!

Don't try to sell your book to other (1)

Furthermore, authors are busy with their own writing and reading lists. How many authors have you met who don’t have a to-be-read list a mile long?

But most importantly, the reason authors aren’t your target audience is that you want to build a platform that reaches your loyal readers, past, present, and future. For instance, let’s say you wrote a self help book. You want to reach people who want to improve themselves, not other authors of self-help books (though there may be some overlap, of course). Community-building with other authors is wonderful, but only as a support network. If you tap the rich resource of author community to simply sell to your colleagues, you will annoy and alienate them, and you likely won’t even see a bump in sales for your trouble.

Ask first

It’s all about consent. Before you put someone on an email list or subscribe them to your blog, you need to get their enthusiastic consent. But if I didn’t auto-subscribe people to my list, I’d only have half the number I have now!, I can hear some of you saying. Good! The other half probably doesn’t want to be there in the first place, so they won’t be engaged with your content or interested in what you have to say. Focus on growing an audience who gets excited when they see an email or new post from you. Your readers should be delighted by your writing, not seeing it as just another email in their inbox.

Automation vs personalization

If something is automated, chances are you should forgo it. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but it’s a good rule of thumb. An example of automation gone horribly wrong is the dreaded auto-dm, an automatic direct message that you can send to new followers on twitter. The trouble is that this message is, of necessity, not personalized. Worse yet, it often contains a “Buy my book!” sales pitch. Ugh. These messages are spam, plain and simple. If you have one, I suggest disabling it immediately. If you’d like to welcome new followers, you can do it manually and with a personal touch. If that’s too much time, I’d urge you to look at other means of engaging your new audience. The auto-dm isn’t working anyway (and never has), so you aren’t missing out by disabling it. I promise.

No drama

Sharing your opinions online is perfectly okay. In fact, having a distinct personality will likely garner you more loyal readers. However, engaging in heated arguments and/or attacks via social media is pointless, and ends up reflecting poorly on you.

Note: this does not apply to abuse and harassment. Hit block and/or report for truly abusive, discriminatory, and/or threatening items, and simply unfollow if the person is upsetting you in any other way.

Be actively nice

The other side of the “no drama” coin is to make a concerted effort to be sweet. Try to reach out to people who might need help, whether you know them well or not. Give compliments, with no expectation of benefit to yourself, and frequently. Another actively nice gesture on social media is to give someone else’s work a boost, even if you don’t know them personally.

Posting frequency

If you share ten tweets in the span of five minutes, your social streams may read like spam. But who has time or patience to remember to post at different times throughout the day? Save time and make sure your audience stays engaged by using tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and the Tumblr queue (all free).

Begging for It

Asking for the support of others can actually be a good thing, but it’s all in how you do it. Begging for retweets, followers, and/or likes makes you sound desperate, and again, will alienate your followers rather than spur them to action.

An example of doing this oh-so-right is the wonderful Alison Tyler. In an effort to promote her new erotic anthology Twisted, she posted a free excerpt on her site, something I’m willing to wager all of you have done. Ms. Tyler wanted to maximize the readership of that story, so she tried something new on social media: she transparently asked for help, and explained why it was important to her.

Readers are charmed by transparency, and will likely empathize with you far more than if you simply said “please RT!”

Key takeaways: don’t spam people, target the right audience, always ask first, be transparent, and play nice. Any questions? No, really, if you have questions, or disagree with anything, please leave a comment! After all, who better to decide what proper author etiquette looks like than authors themselves? 

Want more? Join the new Giving Books a Voice community on Facebook, where we talk tips & tricks to grow your readership on social media. The group is free, and always will be, for all authors, writers, and other creative folks.



Social Media Is Like Dating: How to be a Hot Date

I was briefly a dating coach, and have been noticing the crossover between good practices for dating and social media. Yes, really. We’re doing this: social media is like dating, so let’s go through what it means to be a hot date.

1. First Impressions

If you walked up to a ldxkluhza-980x2000ady dressed in sweats and sneakers for your first date at a fancy restaurant, you probably wouldn’t be particularly impressed. It isn’t necessarily about being shallow or looks-obsessed; it simply indicates that even on date number one, in which she is putting her best foot forward, she seems a bit disheveled. The same goes for your social media presence. Those descriptions/about pages/profiles? Fill them out IMMEDIATELY. Get some sort of profile picture, even if it’s just a placeholder, up as soon as you join. Nobody is going to follow/like/take an interest in a profile that has a boring bio and the default picture. So, spruce yourself up a little for the first impression! Create a custom background for your Twitter page, and make a nice cover photo for Facebook.

2. Good Listeners Get All the Play

Being a good listener is actually just important for life in general. It becomes especially important when you want to establish actual two-way relationships with your social communities. Watch for trending topics and join in the conversation. Someone says they’re having a bad day? Ask them what’s going on. Twitter is an excellent example of how to make yourself a good date through engaging conversation. So many accounts tweet 24/7, but rarely pause to respond to mentions, retweet other accounts, or engage with any tweets in their stream. This is the equivalent of talking solely about yourself all night without so much as asking your date where she’s from. Luckily, this is super easy to remedy. Just take a genuine interest in your fans and followers, and extend to them the same level of human compassion that you would to somebody you met in person.

 4. Ms. Manners

A little courtesy goes a long way on a date, and on the internet, it practically makes you look like a saint. This should probably go without saying, but play nice. See some drama happening? Do your best to stay out of it. It’s fine to disagree with people, of course, but there’s a way to do it that doesn’t make you look like a 13-year-old, I promise. It really does make you look unprofessional and unlikable if you are constantly engaging in flame wars. If someone is truly upsetting you, spouting bigotry, or otherwise making you uncomfortable, use that block button and move on. Sweet people on the internet are rare enough that they stand out and shine.

5. Keep it Short and Sweet

Ever have a date that just drags on and on? This is why the optimal first date is coffee, and the most successful posts tend to be short and to the point. There are definitely exceptions to this; Google Plus, for instance, favors in-depth and comprehensive text posts. But on the whole, the easier it is to digest, the more attention it will garner. There’s a reason that short form social media has taken off in recent years (Twitter, Vine, Tumblr, Pinterest). Don’t be that guy who spends three hours yammering on about his exciting new project at work while his date slowly backs away. Just don’t.

6. Play the Field

Why stick with just one (or two or three … ) social platforms, when there is a whole host of them just waiting to be explored? Don’t be afraid to play around and experiment with your social sites. You wouldn’t get married after just one date, right? … Right? So don’t tie yourself down to one platform just because you’re used to it.

7. Size Matters Less than You Think

It’s not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean. It’s not the amount of followers that counts, but how you’re engaging with them. I know people with over 100k followers on Twitter who get almost zero actual interaction with their multitude of “fans.” There’s a common misconception in social media marketing that the best thing for every account is to grow followers. While this is true to a certain extent, since you don’t want to be posting statuses for nobody to see, it’s arguably more important to form relationships with your current audience than to constantly grow it. After all, even if a million people like your Facebook page, if they all skip over your statuses without so much as a quick read, you aren’t actually spreading your message to anyone.

8. Looks Do Matter (at Least a Little)

No, not your looks, silly. Visual content is consistently shared more than any other form, and also tends to elicit more emotion than text alone. Part of the reason for this is that they require far less time to process than, say, a wall of text. People like to instantly “get” something. Try sharing some pictures, either original content or found online, and I can promise you’ll see an increase in engagement.

Questions? Comments? Want to know more about how you can improve your social strategy? Leave a comment, and sign up for my social media newsletter.

How to Find Fresh Content to Share on Social Media

eukibjpzI frequently say that a social media presence should be only 10% self promotion, and 90% interesting content. So, what exactly should you be posting for that extra 90%, and where do you find it?

PS – if you’re too busy to read an article right now, or you’d like a more detailed explanation, listen to episode three of Giving Books a Voice.

Reddit

It’s called the “front page of the internet” for a reason. Despite its (well-earned) reputation as a hotbed of controversy, racism, and sexism, Reddit is also a treasure trove of brand new content. Beat the crowds and find the hottest content before anyone else sees it by browsing “subreddits,” subsections of the site based around specific topics, for stories and content related to your interests. For generally bookish content, r/books is a goldmine, andr/news consistently links important stories before they hit mainstream media.

Phone a Friend

Okay, maybe you don’t need to actually call them, but do take a look at their social media accounts. Find your peers, colleagues, and even your competitors, and see who’s posting interesting articles and photos. Retweet them, share from their page, or at least tag them to give them finder’s credit, and it’s all kosher. For an example of a go-to social media account for bookish folks, head on over to Books Rock My World, a wildly popular Facebook page that shares mainly images.

Tumblr

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I do talk an awful lot about tumblr, but there’s a reason—it’s awesome. Tumblr is an incredibly rich resource, especially for visual content. It’s also incredibly easy to use and navigate. For bookish material, I check the “literature” tag frequently, as well as “books” and “reading.”

Scoop It

Scoop.It will deliver a hand-picked (okay, it’s algorithm-picked) selection of content directly to your inbox. The daily email gathers that day’s most interesting articles on topics of your choice, including books, business, and technology. There are also Android and iOS apps available for Scoop.it, if you’re more mobile-inclined.  You can just stick around for the content suggestions, or you can create your own channel and build a following of your own around a specific topic—essentially, you’re curating an online magazine that takes just a few minutes to create.

Buffer

Though Bufferapp is mostly thought of as a social media management tool, it’s also great for discovering shareable content. Simply navigate to the “suggestions” section, and find five ready-to-go pieces of content, including quotes, images, and articles. Personally, I prefer to write my own tweets so they sounds like “me,” but the pre-written suggestions are still a helpful start, and often inspire me to find more interesting content on my own.

Never miss a post—subscribe to the Giving Books a Voice newsletter to stay in the social loop.

5 Foolproof Social Media Strategies for the New Year

1. When in Doubt, Post Pictures of Cute Baby Animals

See? Works every time. I bet you already want to buy my goods and/or service just based on this adorable bear.

2. Share Other People’s Content

Out of ideas? Promote other people. Not only is this a nice thing to do, but it will also keep your audience entertained. Authors are usually already pretty good at this, what with guest posts and blog hops, but what about on social media? The retweet, share, repin, etc. buttons are your friends!

3. Get Personal

Share what’s going on in your life, not just what’s happening with your books. Do I want to know what sandwich my favorite author is eating for lunch? Perhaps not, but I’d love to know what’s on her nightstand right now, and what her favorite song is. A good ratio to remember is 1 part self promo to 9 parts personal/general interest.

4. Picture This

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: image-based posts are almost always the most effective and popular, across almost every social network. Does that mean you should only post pictures? Nah, but chances are you could stand to post a few more. These can be pics of yourself, an infographic, a beautifully designed quote—the possibilities are endless.

5. Keep it Real

If you’re always sunny and chipper 100% of the time, and don’t let your followers see your human side, you might lose a bit of their trust. Even Elle Woods has a bad day every now and again, you know? That said, don’t turn your social channels into a therapy couch, but a “today wasn’t the best” or “God I could use some coffee” tweet can actually make your readers connect with you more.