It seems these days everyone and, literally, their dog have a presence on social media in one way or another. From Facebook to Twitter and a multitude of more niche networks in between, one observation is easy to make; Social Media is no longer an option for authors today who are interested in promoting their books and expanding their brand.

You may find yourself asking the question “What does being social have to do with writing and publishing my book?” the answer is simple – and it is everything.  For anyone who has ever written a book, you know that no one is ever going to be as vested in the promotion of your book as you are.  Therefore, it is extremely important for you to take advantage of as many promotional venue’s as possible. With over 600 million people on Facebook alone, it is easy to recognize the highly reachable group of people online every day.

Whether you opt to do your social media marketing yourself or, as many authors opt to do, outsource it – there are a few things you need to be prepared for; You must have a game plan, you need to know what realistic expectations you can have from your social media and/or your outsourcer, and you need to know the part you will be playing in all of this.

As with any marketing effort, no one ever dives in without a marketing plan of some sort. The same holds true for your social media marketing. In your game plan, it is important to create a schedule of sorts for your preparation, launch, and engagement. It is also extremely helpful to be clear on what overarching goals you want to accomplish before you begin. Do you want to attract more traffic to your website? Do you want to create more point-of sale-opportunities for your book? Do you want to become the go-to guru for your area of specialty and get featured in various media?

Begin with the end in mind and you will have a guiding hand to keep you from spending time on things that waste your time and do not fit in with your strategy.  If you go with an outsourced social media manager they should provide a game plan for you. If they do not, ASK! If they still do not, or act like they don’t know what you are talking about… get a new social media manager.

Everyone has heard stories of that “star” author who set up a Facebook page and over night attracted thousands of avid followers to their presences who engage non-stop and clamor for every ounce of new material the can produce.  These people do exist; however, they are the rarity or Internet-Urban-Myth that leads many authors to become disappointed with the results they garner from their social media efforts.  Rome was not built overnight, and neither will your social media empire. Having a realistic expectation of steady growth and knowing that social media is a marathon more than a sprint race will keep you in the proper attitude to launch and help your social media presence flourish.

People too often get caught up with the “Big numbers are best!” philosophy. It is not to say that you should not try to capture a good number of followers, but social media more and more is becoming a game of quality over quantity. No longer do people expect those with the largest number of followers to produce the best information – instead, they look to those who are ACTIVE and ENGAGING with their community as the true guru’s of their industry. Start slow, make sure your follower numbers are always going up versus down (or else you are putting out information people do not like), and engage with your followers. Create a comfortable place to encourage conversation on your profiles, and you will see your followers not only grow, but they will become loyal to you – and soon will be clamoring for every piece of material YOU can produce.

If you outsource your social media, you can expect your manager to set everything up for you and maintain the profiles day to day with regular updates and responses to questions your followers may pose. Outsourcing your social media removes much of the stress and “How will I have time for this?”  If they are writing for you, you need to make clear to them topics they can cover and what to avoid. If they are responding to people for you, be sure to work out how it will be handled. Even if they cover everything for you – it is in your best interest to have them provide you with some degree of education for engaging with your audience and put that education to work by logging in from time to time to post and respond to people YOURSELF.  The personal touch you can provide is necessary to your growing social media empire – your manager is there to take the “hard part” out of it by taking care of the day-to-day of growing your presence while leaving you with the option to partake in the fun-stuff whenever you choose.

-Andrew Jones
CEO, New Media Fluent
http://NewMediaFluent.com

New Media Fluent has been in the business of helping others capitalize on social media and internet marketing since 2009. They offer a full menu of services to clients ranging from Social Media Management and Search Engine Optimization, to Web Design and Social Customer Service.  Contact New Media Fluent at http://NewMediaFluent.com/contact-us.html