If you use social networking to market your book, it's possible to reach thousands of people with the click of a mouse. However, it's important to take the time to make a personal connection with those people when you can.
Here are a few examples:
LinkedIn: I meet a lot of people at events, and afterward I often receive generic requests to connect on LinkedIn. I will never understand this, as it takes only two seconds to delete the template invitation and write a personal note reminding me how we met. When I ask someone to connect, I always include a personalized message and follow up with an email if he or she accepts. You never know what opportunities might arise through a brief email exchange!
Facebook: See above if you have a Facebook page for your book or for yourself as an author. When people "like" your page, try to take the time to send them a note of thanks.
Twitter: If someone references you in a post, acknowledge it! It's easy to check for "@ mentions" on Twitter when you log in. If you only tweet about yourself, eventually people will get annoyed, so try to join in the conversation and provide value to your followers.
Newsletters: While this isn't your typical "social" channel, I've found it useful for my online networking. Anytime people sign up for my newsletter on my website, I reply with a personal email thanking them and asking how they found out about me and/or my novels. After they respond (usually shocked that I took the time to acknowledge them), I let them know I love hearing from readers (who doesn't?). I also send a link of easy ways to spread the word about my books. Then each person is off and running to help me market my novels and spreading positive word-of-mouth publicity - all because I took a moment to say thank you.
Social media is a great way to get the word out about your book. Just don't forget the power of a personal touch when you're reaching mass audiences through online marketing.
Maria Murnane writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2011 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.