Both social media and email are essential elements in your author platform. They serve two different functions; however, so it depends on what you want to achieve as to which one you use. Only one, though, gives you control.
The Rules are Changing
You may have heard things are changing with Facebook. There’s talk they’re moving more towards the original model they launched with – a platform for friends to connect. That means it will get even more challenging for pages and posts to be seen; unless you pay.
Social media is an effective short-term solution. It’s great at connecting people and generating buzz, but you do need to do it regularly to keep you front of mind. The downside is you have very little control over who sees your post. There’s limited if any notification when you do post new content to a page, so your fans know to go check it out. You also don’t own the list of names of your followers. If Facebook decides you’ve breached their guidelines, they can shut your page or profile down quickly, and you’ve lost everything.
Unless you pay for a sponsored ad, your content can easily get lost in their feed. That makes it hard for your audience to catch up on anything they might have missed. Despite this, social media is still a viable option for authors to reach and connect with their readers. It’s just becoming more expensive to do so.
Like it or not, you do need to have some social media presence, even if you don’t pay to promote your posts. It’s a great way to help people discover who you are and what you have to offer. If you have no social media profiles, start with the big two – Facebook and Twitter. Where possible, choose the same handle to keep things consistent. For example, I am Leonie.Hope on Facebook and @leoniehope on Twitter. There’s a handy tool to check the availability of social media handles called Name Check.
Choose the Right Tool for the Job
Social media is terrible at getting people to take action, though. Sure, they can like, react to, share, comment, or click on your post, but that doesn’t sell books or allow you to communicate with them long-term.
This is where email comes in to play. It’s more of a long-term solution where you have control over the email list you build. Email is far better at helping your audience take the action you want them to. You can deliver valuable content directly to their inbox to view at their convenience. You can even track the open rate of your emails to see what your readers respond best too.
Consistently delivering valuable information is how you build a relationship with your readers. Before you can regularly communicate with them though, they need to find you and join your mailing list. The most effective way to do this is to use both social media and email in conjunction.
Create a free giveaway to offer your audience in exchange for their email address. This is called an opt-in or lead magnet. Make it something your audience highly values that also has a low production cost, so it doesn’t break the bank to create. Think short video series, whitepaper, eBook, special report, 7-day course etc.
Once your free giveaway is up, post a link to the opt-in page on all your social media platforms. You now have something of value to offer people who find you through their preferred channel and want to start building a relationship with you.
Cheers to your writing success!