Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. –WhatIs.com
I’m running the book promotion race. Thus, I have spent a lot of time on social media lately. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: books don’t sell themselves. Not corporate-published books. Not indie-published books. Getting the word out requires marketing—lots of it.
It’s the only reason I got back on Facebook. And now I’m back to checking Facebook compulsively throughout the day. Because the more you post, the more you want to check to see if it “worked.”
But that’s not the only reason I hate social media marketing. The main reason I hate SMM (aside from the screen time involved) has become more apparent to me as I’ve been thinking strategically about how to promote Her Lost Year. As I put together my editorial calendar for the book promo blitz, I found myself thinking about “influencers.” In SMM, influencers are people/organizations on different social media platforms who have lots of avid followers. The goal is to ride these influencers’ coattails and hope to get the attention of some of their followers.
Big business does it (e.g. #GEInstaWalk), so I thought I’d try it as well.
However, as soon as I got into it, I started feeling completely sleazy. I started paying attention more to people’s number of followers than if they actually had something interesting to say. I unfollowed people with lower follower counts to maintain a good Twitter follower-to-following ratio. I tagged people whose work I referenced in my book, hoping they would pay attention.
And I realized, this is not much different than how the “real world” works. In the physical world, people with more money and connections have more power. In the virtual world, people with more followers and social engagement have the power.
I’m not sure I want to be part of this.
But SMM is the way to get the word out about books and ideas. These days, it’s even the way to get book deals. Publishers look for authors with a “platform.” They want authors who are already connected—who have a following.
And it’s really fun when you do create a piece of content—be it a poignant quote layered on a captivating image or a clever 140-character tweet—that people like and share.
Icing on the cake is when you make real connections (doesn’t happen often!).
I suppose that’s where I’m heading… I want to focus on creating great content that may brighten somebody’s day or make a light bulb go off. And concentrate on qualitative vs. quantitative connections.
Our brains aren’t wired to be able to have a real relationship with more than 150 people anyway, a.k.a. “Dunbar’s Number:”
…human beings can hold only about 150 meaningful relationships in their heads. [Robin] Dunbar has researched the idea so deeply, the number 150 has been dubbed “Dunbar’s Number.”
Ironically, the term was coined on Facebook, where 150 friends may seem like precious few.
I still have a lot to figure out on this topic. Curious what your thoughts are. Feel free to share in the comments below!
P.S. I only checked Facebook once while writing this post.
P.P.S. I admire Nilofer Merchant for logging off the Internet for two months to work on her third book. I look forward to doing this at some point!