Book Promotion, Networking, Social Media

How to Approach & Pitch Social Media Influencers

Photo from WikiMediaCommons

It’s a problem that many social media admins and page owners complain about all the time and that is complete strangers wanting favors. Don’t think it’s a problem? Just go to Twitter and type the words Please RT or Help Me into the search engine and you’ll find an endless feed of begging. Now, I’m not shaming anyone because I used to do it too thinking that was the way social media worked.  Unfortunately, I listened to the social media experts who told people to ask, ask, ask which got me absolutely nowhere.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I lost a few followers because of it!

The Inherent Problem With Social Media

The biggest problem most indie authors have is that their following on social media is small to nonexistent.  I mean, who follows an unknown author?  With no little or no money, we can’t buy ads or promote posts which naturally puts us in a pickle.  However what most indie authors don’t know is that they can borrow somebody else’s network.  So how do you get someone to lend you their audience?

Whatever You Do, Don’t Skip This Step!

If you really want to get on someone’s radar, you’ll need to join the community you’d like to target. And you’re going to have to be a good community member, which means sharing, and commenting on the page whenever you can.  If you’re friendly as well as helpful, you’ll get noticed in no time.  If not, you might want to consider moving on.

Now keep in mind, you’re building a relationship so this will take time.  For example, when I joined Red River Writers, I was a member of their community for nearly a year when they announced they needed a virtual assistant.  Of course I applied, and didn’t need to feel anxious about approaching them because I was already acquainted with them.

A Cautionary Tale:

In a previous post, I mentioned a viral incident where a young woman approached a job recruiter on LinkedIn who ended up berating her for her poor etiquette.  She was called, entitled and tacky by the recruiter and despite everyone’s outrage, I understand the hostility.  Now I’m not agreeing with how the recruiter behaved but I do know this could’ve been easily avoided if the young woman had simply introduced herself and expressed interest in becoming a part of the recruiter’s community.

Your Angle, You Do Have One Right?

As long as you view this as a business proposition and not a handout, then you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable pitching to a social media influencer or any influencer for that matter. However you first need to ask yourself, what do you bring to the table? Can you offer a free book, tee-shirt or a gift card? As a marketer, you’re going to need an angle.

Things You Need Before You Pitch:

  • A familiarity with the page admin and the community.
  • An appropriate book.  Don’t pitch a romance novel to a sci-fi page.
  • A bribe or special offer.

With Facebook’s Crappy Algorithm Come Many Opportunities

Since Facebook has limited the reach of most pages, page owners are scrambling to hang on to their following. It sucks for them because many of them can’t afford to advertise but you can easily bring a bit of buzz to their page with gifts and bribes.  I believe now that Facebook is an easy target for indie authors looking to promote their work.

On the Reading Between the Wines’ Facebook page (You need to be logged in to see the link) they occasionally offer author takeovers. A takeover is just like it sounds, an author takes complete control of the page in order to hold contests, answer questions and even interact with readers.  Believe it or not, these types of pages aren’t hard to find.

Tip of the day: You can find author friendly pages on Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ by typing, Author Takeover in the search engine and investigate which authors are doing takeovers and where.

Because I Care, Here Are More Resources

Here’s a Google spreadsheet listing Facebook groups that are promotional friendly.
Bloggers who Interview Authors by Lisa Kalner William (You must be logged into Google)
A list of 80 Book Reviewers on Twitter Compiled by Yours Truly @WritingPants

There you go, more tips that can help, you promote your book successfully on social media.  Next week, I’m talking about author assistants and why you’ll need one if you’re going to do a promotional blitz.