Friends in the Marketing Business ~ Part II

Last month we looked at some questions about our marketing. We asked,
            • Where are we marketing?
            • Who are we marketing to?
            • Do people really follow our marketing attempts?
            • Are we missing the point with our marketing?
            • How can we be social and still market?
If you didn't read part 1 you can read it here. I shared a catchy advertising jingle that first appeared in South Africa in 1970. It says, “You’ve got an uncle in the furniture business: Joshua Doore!” (Click on the link to enjoy the original version. 

I pointed out that although it has changed through the years, the original gimmicky statement remains and is a well-known catch phrase that is played virtually every day through our media—43 years later! Now that to me is a successful marketing device. When you want to buy furniture, the name Joshua Doore springs to mind. 

Surely, that's what we want of our marketing. When someone hears of a loved one diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I want that person to immediately think, Strength Renewed, by my friend Shirley Corder.

Today I want to look further at that final question. How can we be social and still market? How can we effectively use social media to market our books (or articles) while not losing the concept of social media?

Social media is what it says. It's meant to be social. We want to make friends or, at the very least, get to know a little about the writer of the post. The various social sites are places where we can talk, laugh, and share information of mutual interest.  Look at Facebook pages and see the number of "likes" posts receive when they are about topics that create an emotional reaction. (And in that connection, if you're an author, yes you do need an author page (a.k.a. "fan page"). There are plenty links that will walk you through this if you don't already have one.

So if we want to be effective with our marketing on social media, maybe we need to look at these three main elements:
  • Make friends
  • Talk, laugh, create emotion
  • Share information

1.   Making Friends:
I recently made friends through a social media site with a young woman way younger than me, who belongs to a different faith system. She lives in a foreign land that is at war with the countries most of us regard as “civilised” and safe. The other day she told me, “About 15 people die in our area every X days.”

We have very little in common as women. In the “real world” we would never be friends, but she has been following me on Facebook. She has read my book of Christian meditations for those doing battle with cancer. She has passed it on to family members. And she asks me to pray for her and for her family needs. We are friends. Does she follow my links? You betcha!

How do we make friends on social media? Well, how do we make friends in real life? The first thing we do is introduce ourselves.

    We share our names. These are our most important asset. Think of Max Lucado, Francine Rivers, Janette Oke, J.K.Rowling, C.S.Lewis, William Shakespeare, Stephen King, Ernest Hemmingway, William Faulkner . . . we know them all by name. So on social media, we need to use our names, and we need to introduce ourselves. Give a little about yourself in the profile or "about the author" section of the site.

    Use a photograph on your profile, showing you to be a real flesh and blood person. Cute icons of furry bunnies might look good on the cover of your book, but how many people want to be friends with a furry bunny? (Okay, don't all stick your hands up at once! You know what I mean. Look like who you are.)

HINT: For your author page on Facebook, use a photo with your book if possible. As soon as you log into Facebook, switch to the author page and use that to leave comments on other's posts. Whenever you post, that little picture shows up together with a link to your author page. If you say something clever or witty, they can hover their cursor over your name and they will see you're an author.

     Watch for your friends' birthdays and send a greeting. It doesn't have to be long, but it reminds them you're there, and your link will show up on their pageanother reason for using your real name and a suitable picture.

2.   Talking, Laughing, Showing Empathy:
    Engage others in conversation. 'Like' posts that interest you. Add the odd comment. Avoid always promoting your work. You are trying to build relationships, and again they will see your title and your picture. If all you do is promote your own work, you will quickly bore your readers and they will pass by your posts . You don't need to spend hours but do try to show an interest in them. If your friend posts a picture of her new baby, "Gorgeous!" will make her smile, and remind her of you. If she posts bad news, "So sorry" doesn't take you any time at all. But it shows that you read the post.

     Create emotion:
Every post or image has the power to create emotion. Don't waste time on this. When you see a picture, a post, or a video, that makes you laugh, click on share. Do the same if it is something thought-provoking or even sad (if there's a point to it!) Add a comment and make sure your link is clearly visible.

     Show empathy: Look for ways to relate to your readers to help them feel less isolated, especially in your niche area. For example, I make a point of connecting with those who are struggling with cancer. I have sold a number of books as a result of this policy.  People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. (John C. Maxwell.) 

3.   Sharing Information
     There is no need to spend hours on social media. Learn to use the scheduling facility that is available on most sites. Facebook recently simplified the scheduling process on the author (fan) page, and it really takes very little time. Here are the three steps:
  •      Author page - type or paste your message into the status box.
  •      Click on the little grey clock icon and select the date and time you want it to appear.
  •      Hit "Schedule". That's it!
For example, I spend about an hour once a month, copying and pasting sentences into my Facebook Author page. I then schedule posts so that twice a day a post appears on my page.

     Every odd day, I post a quote from my book, Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer. This is not an outright promotion. I use quotes that I believe have something to encourage my visitors, regardless of whether they have cancer or not. Nevertheless, it has the title of my book and of course a link to a sales page.

     Every even day, I post a quote from another famous writer. I collect these from Goodreads, where the quotes are easy to come by. At the same time I 'like' the quote on Goodreads, which draws attention from the writer of the quote.

     The second post varies. Alternate days I post "ENGLISH TRIVIA", using a statement that I've found on the Internet. If I'm not certain if it's accurate, I add "Do you agree with this?" and that almost always gets a response. During the ten days of world-wide mourning for Madiba, our past president, I posted a quote by Nelson Mandela, one of the world's greatest ever political leaders.

Two or three times a day I pop onto my Facebook profile and page and respond to any comments. They are my friends, after all.

Perhaps you're wondering what this has to do with marketing?
I believe it is building a network of cyber friends, who in turn will become part of your "tribe" as it's often called. These are the people who will watch out for your next book, read, like and maybe even share your next post, RT your tweets, and talk about what you've shared.

Instead of constantly promoting our own posts and links, we will have moved out there into the big bad world, making friends and chatting to readers. If we hang out in areas where we can fit in and add the occasional comment or post, people will get to know us. As we allow them limited access to our personal space, they will see us as real and come to see that we care about them. Then when we have something to share, they will be interested.

Let's truly try to be an “uncle (or aunt, or friend) in the marketing business”. Then when people need our products, they will know where to come knocking—because they know we care

Surely that is what social media is all about? Being social. Making friends. And then sharing information that our friends will be interested in.

SHIRLEY CORDER  lives in South Africa, with her husband Rob. She is author of Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer, the e-book of which is on special right now at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Shirley is also contributing author to eleven other books and has published hundreds of devotions and articles internationally. 

Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. Do pop onto 
her Author's page on Facebook and introduce yourself so she can be your friend. 


Karen Cioffi said...

Shirley, great advice on using social media effectively. Building a network of online friends is a major part of marketing. Boy, you do work Facebook strategically. Great job.

Magdalena Ball said...

A very succinct summary on how to use social media. Very clear and straightforward. That "tribe" is all important.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Karen. Yes, I try to work FB strategically although I never thought of it that way. Before I worked out a system I could go for days without even looking at my FB profile or page. I realised that wasn't going to work. You can't make a network of friends if you don't keep in contact.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Maggie. Yes, I do believe the tribe concept is important and I also know I have a lot to learn about building it more. (Any tips? Maybe a post on the topic?) Have a great Christmas!

Shirley Corder said...

Happy Christmas, by the way!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Thought provoking articles Shirley. Don't know how I missed the first one which I've just gone back to and enjoyed. Loved the jingle--perhaps not only the message but the rhythm of the message helps? And the happiness--it made me feel happy and that's what is important to people picking up the message.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great advice Shirley. Developing a tribe that supports you is an important part of marketing and being successful in anything you do.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Annie. Yes, I really love that jingle. The last phrase, "You've got an uncle in the furniture business--Joshua Doore, has been going for 43 years and we still hear it most days on the TV. And yet it's still fun. Now THAT'S huge marketing in my opinion!

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Mary Jo. As I said to Maggie, I'd love to read more about developing a tribe. I know the concept but mine isn't as effective as it could or should be.

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Shirley, As always your article is insightful and inspirational at the same time. Your advice will be invaluable to me as I stick a big toe in marketing. Thanks and Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Worthy post for sure.! Good one.

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