Social media marketing is a great book promotion tool, but be careful to avoid these common blunders:
1. Diving in without a plan. Before you begin your book promotion campaign, think through what you are trying to achieve and which websites and marketing methods will be most likely to reach your target audiences. A social media marketing plan can include social networking, microblogging (Twitter), online forums, virtual reader communities, expert sites, media sharing, interactive blogging, and more. Virtual reader communities such as GoodReads are particularly well suited to fiction authors. http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/communities.html
2. Focusing solely on attracting customers. Social marketing is a great place to meet potential customers and stay in touch with existing ones. But you may find it even more valuable for meeting and developing relationships with other authors and experts in your field or genre, as well as publishing and marketing professionals. For example, if you meet a blogger through social networking and that person reviews your book, writes a post mentioning you, or allows you to do a guest post on their blog, you gain exposure to their audience.
3. Trying to do too many things at once. Prioritize your book promotion plan and implement one thing at a time. Don't try to be active on too many social networks. Select a couple of sites as your primary networks, then develop profiles on several other sites that you will visit occasionally.
4. Spending too much time on social marketing while neglecting other tasks. It's easy to get sucked into social sites and spend way too much time there. It's best to set aside a specific amount of time each day for social marketing. If you budget half an hour a day, you might spend 10 minutes on social networking at mid-day, spend 10 minutes in the evening on other social sites, and do several Twitter sessions during the day.
5. Sending friend invitations with no introduction. To increase the chance of acceptance and make a good first impression, always introduce yourself and say why you want to befriend the other person. Just like you would when meeting someone in person, mention what you do, what you have in common with the other person, how you heard about them, etc.
6. Trying to "sell" on social sites. Book promotion is acceptable on social sites as long as you do it sparingly. You don't want to get a reputation as someone who just sends out sales pitches all the time. Add value to the community by making most of your communications about sharing knowledge, ideas, and resources. Fiction authors can talk about their favorite books and authors, discuss their writing process, share websites where readers can find reviews and book recommendations, and mention upcoming events like book signings.
7. Forgetting the "social" part of social networking. Remember to be courteous and to thank anyone who answers a question or does you a favor. Don't forget to inject some personality into your communications and make some personal posts. Share good news or ask for advice. Mention your hobbies, travels, kids, or pets, and link to a photo using a photo sharing site like Twitpic http://www.twitpic.com/ or Flickr http://www.flickr.com/.
If you keep these tips in mind, you'll find that social media sites are great tools for book promotion, building brand recognition and expert status, networking with peers and potential customers, and driving traffic to your website—all steps toward making sales.♥