A popular phrase in marketing is “Return On Investment” or ROI. Everyone wants to know the ROI of their marketing tactics and sometimes this is easy to determine. Social media is where it gets murky. There isn’t a way to monitor social media impact at present because social media is not meant to be a marketing or sales channel. The true value in social media is building relationships with present and future readers, build your brand and create a positive reputation. This can’t be quantified.
In my opinion the best practices in social media include:
1. Building relationships. Posting a tweet or Facebook Fan Page status update a couple of times a week isn’t going to build relationships. You need to monitor your accounts for visitor response at least twice a week if you’re just starting out and more often when you become more experienced. Ask and answer questions, “like” responses and thank people for commenting.
2. Stay out of flame wars. Build your reputation by responding positively and constructively to criticism. Show enthusiasm for suggestions even if they aren’t perfect. Move potentially destructive conversations off social media and on to e-mail or telephone. Remove comments that are spammy or inappropriate and report people who continuously spam you. Building your reputation doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat.
3. Monitor conversations about you or your company. People may be talking about you or your book in a positive or negative manner on their own social media accounts. Setup Google Alerts to monitor this but you can also manually search social media sites on your own. You’ll be surprised at what you learn and much of it will be positive.
4. Use social media to promote but not sell. No one wants to follow someone on Twitter just to hear over and over again “Buy my book. Buy my book. Buy my book.” You can provide discreet links to your book excerpts or sample chapters but do it infrequently.
Social media is a great place to meet potential and current readers but be sure to use it wisely.