As a company currently working on a product launch, we’re taking the time now to slowly and organically build and establish our presence online (we’ve previously discussed the merits of this method versus the faster method of purchasing followers). Incidentally, this is something we recommend that authors do for any book launch - start early.
On a daily basis, this means: following new writers or industry personalities, engaging with followers, checking up on relevant hashtags, and sharing and creating useful content.
One thing that we encounter a lot is automatic messaging on Twitter using external services. Such services (courtesy of apps like Crowdfire and Socialoomph) allow any Twitter user to automatically send messages to new followers. A typical message goes something like this:
“Thanks for the follow @PubLaunch! It’s great to connect with you on Twitter! Check out my brand new book My First Book at www.myfirstbook.com”
These kind of tweets feel a bit like being duped. For the first two sentences, you get to feel surprise and delight that someone would take the time to write a personal message to welcome you as a follower only to have those good feelings dashed when you realize it’s all an attempt to sell more books. Knowing that the message likely came out of an auto service makes it feel even more cold.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a promising service that can open the doors to start meaningful connections with people online. There’s something really wonderful about receiving a friendly message from someone new in the often impersonal online world.
The problem is that, too often, people are using it to simply sell more books. To the point that our direct message (DM) folder on Twitter often feels like Gmail’s spam folder.
Don’t use welcome messages to sell yourself. Period.
As we’ve mentioned previously, nowadays people don’t like being sold to. Potential readers need to be engaged. They’ll buy your book if they care about the subject matter, like the author, and find the topic and themes genuinely interesting. The DM should be your chance to start your relationship with a reader, a chance to build a foundation of positive feelings and interest that will, down the road, likely lead to a sale.
This is the challenge with content and social media marketing: to truly pull it off effectively, you need to be focused on the relationship instead of the sale.
There is no reason for a new follower to be interested in buying your book simply because you put the link in front of them. More than likely, you’ll simply annoy that follower who doubtlessly has 50 other similar messages in their inbox. Take a look at this picture of ours if you don’t believe me (personal information removed):
Much like a dating app, when you see all the similar messages grouped together, it can really make the people who are sending them blend together as well.
The lesson to be learned from this is to be friendly and genuine. Don’t try to sell new followers on something before they’ve gotten to know you and your brand.