Okay, I’m going to show my age here and reminisce a bit about old time radio. Back in the 1980s, our local public radio station would broadcast classic radio shows in the afternoon. One of my favorites was The Bob and Ray Show, featuring comedy skits by veteran broadcast personalities Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding.
Lately, a slogan from one of their “sponsors” has stuck in my head.
“Einbinder Flypaper--the brand you gradually grow to trust over the course of three generations.”
Yes, anyone who has an inkling of how marketing works would know that’s a terrible way to sell anything. You don’t make a dime waiting through the course of three generations for people to grow to trust your brand. You want them to buy your flypaper (or in our case, books) right now.
And yet, as I think about it, I find myself admiring the Einbinder Flypaper Company. They’re in it for the long haul. They’re patient and steadfast. They are willing to stay the course to gain your trust. And that of your children and grandchildren.
I believe all authors should keep that concept of gradually building trust in mind when they market themselves through social media. Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest--they’re not platforms for promotion, they’re communities. Instead of logging on and posting endless links to five star reviews for your books, you need to become a contributing member of the community.
That means in Goodreads you post reviews and write comments and take part in group discussions. If you just set up an author page and go trolling members for reviews, you’ll end up alienating the people you want as readers.
In Twitter, you have to offer your followers something besides “Buy My Book” tweets. It may seem counterintuitive, but sending out an endless stream of tweets promoting your book will get you nowhere. Give your followers something interesting.
(And while I’m talking about Twitter, I have to say I’ve grown really tired of the X Meets Y promo. “James Bond meets Sherlock Holmes” for example. My twitter feed is full of them. If you’re doing those, stop. Just stop. I mean it.)
I send out a quotes that I find interesting, like this one from Jay Leno “You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you.” I expect there are apps that generate quotes on a daily basis, but I prefer ones I’ve chosen myself. I go to Brainyquote, but there are plenty of others. I also tweet about things going on in the world and my observations. And I do manage to sneak in a few links to buy my books on Amazon, but I try to be subtle about it.
Like Grandma always said, to have a friend, you have to be a friend. So tweet a thank you to people who follow you. Retweet anything you find interesting. Get into discussions. Yes, distilling everything you want to say into 140 characters or less can be a pain, but after a while you’ll look on it as a challenge. Even kind of fun.
These days Facebook is more for interacting with friends than marketing books, although I do use it for that purpose now and again. It’s one of those places where thanks to my friend J.D. Rhoades, I get into cyber arguments with people I've never met. Even so, I love a good political discussion and I confine my rants to Facebook.
I’ve just begun to use Pinterest, so I can’t really comment on that. Except to say I’ll be participating there too, once I get the hang of it. They all have a learning curve.
Keep in mind you only have so much time and you can’t maintain an online presence everywhere. Sure belonging to lots of reader sites like LibraryThing and Booklikes gives your more exposure to readers. But in the end, it’s easier to become very familiar with a few venues and stick with those.
So when you’re trying to build up your online reputation, think of Einbinder Flypaper. And here’s hoping you don’t have to wait three generations before customers grow to trust your brand.
If you'd like to listen to the Einbinder Flypaper ad, click here.
Judy Nichols is the author of several books available on Amazon/