Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Facebook and Twitter: The Social Marketing Maze

I've enjoyed a brief respite from my writing regimen as we move the boat north from Grenada to St. Martin.  We've had some great sailing, and I've had a bit of time to think about Bluewater Vengeance, my current project.  When we have had the luxury of Internet access in our occasional anchorages, I've spent some fragmented time trying to work my way through the social marketing maze.  While I write for the pure pleasure of it, it adds to the satisfaction to have people read my work, so I'm looking for ways to expand my audience. 

Every time I think I understand how Facebook works, it starts behaving differently.  I use it to stay in touch with friends and family, anyhow, so I don't really want to bombard them with promotional messages about my books.  I figure they know about the books, and the folks who are interested have bought them or will buy them in their own good time.  There's a small universe of potential readers there, and it's not expanding rapidly.  In an effort to separate my personal Facebook activity from selling books, I've set up fan pages, one for each book, and one for myself.  The challenge now is to get some exposure for those pages, but I'm expecting that will come slowly, from links in the eBooks themselves. 

I've invested some time in Twitter over the past few weeks.  To me, it appears much more commercially oriented, and I'm less reluctant to keep pumping advertising Tweets out.  It's interesting to see how many of my fellow writers are doing the same.  There are also some useful links that pop up on Twitter from time to time.  I've learned a good bit since I've been watching, and Twitter allows me to share what I've learned with folks who have interests similar to mine. 

I've discovered that I can generate traffic to my links using Twitter, as well.  Traffic on this blog has increased from around 100 visits per month to around 600 in the last 3 weeks, and it's still growing.  So far, I can't see a corresponding increase in downloads of my books, but visibility is the first step.  Now that I know people actually follow the links in my Tweets, I've begun to direct some traffic straight to links for the online bookstores.  That gives interested folks a shorter path to reading the book.  If they stop here first, they have to decide which online store to visit.  I'm not sure which is preferable to potential readers, so I'm experimenting with a mix to see what happens. 

Once we settle in our favorite St. Martin anchorage in a few days, I'll get back to the pleasure of writing Bluewater Vengeance, and watch what happens to my social marketing experiments.   

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