Authors have been urged to create social media accounts and work to increase their followers, but what is the next step when authors want to convert their followers into a book-buying following? How much is that conversion going to cost authors? Zack Bulygo tells us in his article How to Acquire Customers on a $0 Marketing Budget that converting your followers into customers costs you absolutely nothing.
If you have a product that people want, you don’t need a $100,000 marketing budget to acquire customers.
Bulygo begins by emphasizing the first step to recruiting customers is having a product that people want. Lucky for authors, the first step has been taken care of by the creation of their book. The next step is to connect and incentivize your followers to share and promote your work.
Remember, everybody likes free stuff
An author can encourage followers to share their content with a free sample of forthcoming work, free tickets to a book reading, a classroom reading appearance, or an upgrade to a signed copy of a new book.
Provide the content and let other platforms work for you
Another way to connect with potential customers is by guest blogging on blogs that share a similar target audience with your work. Guest blogging gives writers the opportunity to connect with their audience while soft selling their books. For example, writers can guest blog a piece giving general writing tips and add subtle examples of how those tips were used in the creation of their latest book.
Don’t forget “your people”
Bulygo also shares that your most loyal followers and potentially most valuable are your family and friends so, authors, reach out to “your people” and update them on what you’re doing. Most of the time, you won’t even have to ask them to share and promote your work. The trick is to make sure your people are aware of your material and that you’d love for them to spread the good news. If you’re excited about it, they’ll be excited for you.
Bulygo concludes his piece by telling us to get personal and Annie Stone emphasizes in her article, Author Annie Stone on Marketing: Just Be a Nice Person, that adding a personal touch to your social media followers is important. She describes her social media marketing style as “friendly marketing”. She tries to “like” her followers’ posts on Facebook and send birthday shout outs to her fans. She also candidly engages with her followers when they offer constructive criticism of her work, allowing them to participate in her writing process. Stone lets her followers in on her private life on social media and tries to respond to as many posts and comments as she can.
Even though there wasn’t a whole lot of interaction with fans in the beginning, it was very important for me to reply to every single comment and message received.
Other possible friendly marketing tactics include:
- Holding a contest for readers to win copies of your book
- Contributing to book forums and offer reading recommendations (of books that aren’t your own)
- Sharing photos that show followers that you’re not just a writer, you’re a person with other cool interests
We know most authors might not have the extra money to spend on marketing but, with these simple tips and tricks, authors can grow their current social media followers into loyal customers while spending little to no money and, most importantly, forge great connections.