Recently, UNICEF Sweden released a video geared towards “slacktivists” people who like their page but never cut a check. UNICEF isn’t the only group to notice the apathy of social media users. Indie authors as well have complained about people liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter only to receive no engagement whatsoever.
On Twitter I have around 2,200 followers and 1,300 Facebook likes but did I sell 5,500 books? Ah, nope. That’s because these people may have simply stumbled upon my page/account and found me interesting. Some of them may not even be readers, let alone, fans. The amount of followers, subscribers or likes a person has is considered vanity metrics and is often confused with social proof.
You can have the biggest following on Twitter, and millions of subscribers on your blog, but if no one isn’t buying your book or helping you promote it, then, it’s pointless. You win at social media by leveraging your connections, that’s means finding out what can you get from these likes, follows and pluses. Recently, I was offered a discount on book marketing services just for being a Twitter follower of a particular agency. Now that’s way better than a like, in my book.
Incest or a Relationship?
It’s been preached for a while that authors shouldn’t follow other authors on social media, in fact, it’s been called incestuous but that’s total nonsense. Social media is about mingling, sharing news, and asking questions. For example, this week, an author in one of my Facebook groups asked, about free images she could use for her book. Immediately, several of us gave our input which ended up saving her big money. If all you want to do is sell, sell, sell then social media isn’t going to work for you.
Social media can he helpful for promoting, but you have to connect with the right people. I started networking online almost 5 years ago, without even realizing it. I started joining groups and asking questions about writing but most importantly, I listened. Many authors are under the impression that they can sell books to a complete stranger. When in fact, people who don’t know you have no obligation to help you let alone give you their money. So in closing, if it feels weird asking for help, you may not be as well connected as you thought. Asking for help only feels weird when you’re asking complete strangers like UNICEF.