Yesterday’s Author Blog Challenge blog post dealt discussed the esoteric aspects behind platform building. Today’s post delves deeper into the where of platform-building, and asks “how are you using social media to boost your message?”
My answer? Poorly.
And not “poorly” because of lack of consistency, or poor presence, or general suck-ass-ness. I’m saying “I’m not paying Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr to boost my page.”
Why? Because of this…
You watch… I’ll wait.
Ok, now that you’re sitting there with your mouth agape, I’ll continue.
I’ll just throw that right on out there: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr… they’re not your friends, and they’re not your business partners. They are free services; they make their money in one way — advertising. Once you create a business page, you become a potential revenue stream for them. And they play very psychological and underhanded games to get you to give them money.
For example, in the week that follows your business page creation on Facebook, you’ll find that your message travels far and wide. Anyone and everyone who follows your page receives every update you post. You’ll get messages stating that your page is performing “97% better than other pages in the same market!” When you click those messages, it takes you to a “boost your post” link to connect with “even more” followers.
So you throw $10 at Facebook and let them boost your post. It goes out to all your followers. Then they tempt you further — get more engagement for just a few more dollars! Again… see the video above.
As time goes on, less and less people see your posts. Where you had 80% engagement the first week, by week three, you’ll have 10% engagement…. if you’re lucky. If your followers engage with a post by liking, commenting and/or sharing, that number goes up… slightly.
And then every once in a while, Facebook throws you a bone and sends a post semi-viral to your followers. You’ll get the “97% better” message, and the link to boost your posts and pay for likes.
Dear Facebook: I’m smarter than your head-games. Sincerely, Me.
Now… that’s not to say that Facebook, Twitter and other social media engagement isn’t important. It is… in fact, it’s critical.
But… the likes and follows have to grow organically, otherwise, you run the risk of paying for a completely unengaged audience.
Successful business owners and writers that I’ve talked to… those who’ve had the most success with social media… grow their audience in exactly this order:
- Create a kick-ass product (i.e., write a really good book)
- Promote the Facebook or Twitter page for said book (or author page) inside the book, on bookmarks handed out at festivals, on your business cards, on your blog, etc.
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
The moral of this story is… I don’t have a lot of followers yet, and I’m not sweating it. I’m working on building my email list first, because that provides for direct, active engagement. Second, I’m looking at Facebook — because that’s where I personally spend my online time. Lastly, I’m looking at all the rest.
But the one place I’m not looking is into my wallet. From everything I’ve seen, read and experienced, the return on investment just isn’t there. I’ll let my list grow organically, and understand that it takes time.
Instead, I’ll use my marketing dollars to put myself – in the flesh – in the path of as many readers as I can, and I’ll direct them back to my social sites at those venues. But the long and short is… if you write good fiction, and you sell books, your social sites will grow. And the people who come to your sites will be there because they want to engage with you and your followers.
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