6 ways to capitalize the noise on the internet and in the world right now and why it’s a great time to be an author online!
I recently saw a tweet under the #writingcommunity hashtag (a good one btw!) on twitter from a user named Barbara Avon, it read: “I’m lost. Can someone point me in the direction of the #writingcommunity? Because I rarely see anything writing related anymore. Book promos and ads get little engagement including mine. Have pointless question tweets become more popular now? Is anyone out there?”
Social media posts with pointless questions, polls, and easy-to-digest memes have always been popular. This isn’t new but yes, perhaps recently rampant for a few reasons including user mental and emotional burnout.
I don’t think these trends are necessarily a sign of the intellectual end of civilization (not quite yet anyway). Simple social media posts might even be a form of self care, a way of hiding from the many controversial conversations happening online these days.
That silly Keanu Reeves meme with profound life wisdom might be a cleansing breath.
What does this mean for authors though, with social media being a valuable method of getting the word out about our books and brand?
Barbara made a valid point in her tweet, about traditional book promos and ads getting little engagement. I would imagine that a lot of traditional marketing techniques are flailing right now.
Here are 6 ways to capitalize on the noise right now:
#1: Read the Room
Be aware of the native tone and content style of each platform. Twitter in particular resembles more of an online cocktail party with lots of real time, organic, human conversations happening – and quickly.
Like any conversation at a cocktail party, the best ones usually have at least some sort of jumping off point from something that’s happening in the room. If you barge into a cocktail party with a copy of your book, bust into a circle of people talking, hold your book up and say – “have you heard about my book… it’s about xyz… you should buy it” – how do you think that would go?
Sure, there are times when this is absolutely the right decision – #writerslift threads on Twitter, and similar invitations on other social networks. Read the room, engage accordingly.
#2: Blend In to Stand Out
But if your general book promos aren’t getting the engagement you’re looking for, ask yourself what you can do to blend into existing conversations better. And yes, this might take a little time, searching hashtags related to your book, finding those conversations, finding the right circles of people in the room, and then blending into the conversation. But if what you’ve been doing isn’t working – what do you have to lose?
#3: Life Moves Fast – So Does Twitter
Also keep in mind that of all the social media platforms, Twitter moves the fastest, posts have the shortest shelf life. Therefore if that’s the platform you’re looking to promote on, you’re looking at a decent time investment.
My personal strategy on Twitter is less about trying to talk to the whole room at once, and more about seeking out building one-on-one relationships by consistently engaging with people I enjoy. Really, that’s how I approach life so it almost seems impersonal to refer to it as a “strategy.”
#4: Have Faith – People ARE Reading!
According to Publisher’s Weekly print book sales rose dramatically in 2020, likely related to shutdowns, but then that increase continued through the first half of 2021. People are still buying, reading, and talking about books.
Want proof? Do a post (anywhere) asking people for book recommendations and watch the comment thread grow. It might take some more work to fish through all the noise to find your readers. But really…with social media, has that ever NOT been the case?
#5: Strategy is Dynamic
With any strategy, including social, if you find yourself doing the same thing that you’ve always done, over and over, for a decent period of time, and it’s not working – it’s likely time to reevaluate, regroup, and do something different. Strategy is dynamic, not fixed. Read the room, be a real person, and build real relationships. Those have always been core success principles of social media. All the noise in the world hasn’t changed that.
#6: The Author Advantage
Finally, remember the HUGE advantage we have as authors – possibly more so than any other group of people on social media: We’re writers. We can express our thoughts with clarity, personality, and impact. We’re not stuck at the copy/paste/share photocopy machine, relying on others to put our thoughts into words.
This is the time, when the world is loud, especially with similar or cloned thoughts, to remember your power as a writer and let it shine! The famous adages about opportunities in times of chaos, remind us of this.
So it’s loud online – great! Because it’s loud with people screaming the same things over and over. You get to be a voice saying something different, authentic, entertaining, personal, inspirational, needle shifting … something 100% YOU.
Really… what better time is there to be an author, than now?