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This blog was featured on 07/08/2018
Gain Independence from the Marketing Slog By Doing What You're Good At
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
July 2018
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
July 2018

When we teach social media marketing classes for authors, one of the most common problems we find them facing is overwhelm.  And who could blame you!

There are a million pieces of advice out there telling you to be in all places, follow all hashtags, run all ads and generally burn the midnight oil casting a marketing net far and wide. And while we teach just about every author marketing subject you could want to utilize, what we don’t talk about often is how to select what tactics to employ.

If you’re feeling bogged down, overwhelmed, and just generally unhappy with the demands of marketing, there is one piece of advice that ALL authors can follow.

Stick to What You’re Good At (and Enjoy)

It really is that simple. Stick to what you are good at and better yet, stick with the aspects of marketing you enjoy.

  • If you are HATING Twitter, leave the platform and never look back.
  • If you have don’t have a budget for running Facebook ads, don’t scrape to make it happen.
  • If Instagram makes you want to Insta-scream, stop taking pictures.

The truth is. If you are unhappily operating out of obligation, not only will it suck all the joy from your life, you will also likely never turn that tool into a viable source for connecting with readers. People can feel it when a social media platform is just there to check a box. And rarely does a platform like that find an active audience.

Anything Other Than Nothing is Acceptable

There is not an exact perfect recipe for reaching readers. Really the only way an author can go wrong with marketing is by doing nothing at all. At a minimum, having a website or a Facebook page or some other domain where you can be found when searched is recommended.

That’s it though. Make sure you are findable in some way, and then go from there.

The more layers you add and the more you’re able to reasonably do, the more likely you are to reach people. However, if the slog of marketing is dragging down your writing career, start cutting back.

It’s important to not be invisible. It’s also important to not go insane.

Identifying What You’re Good At

A lot of authors who are just beginning to approach marketing either think:

  • They aren’t good at any marketing tactics
  • Or they don’t like anything to do with marketing

But identifying your marketing strengths is not about whether you like social media or not.

If you like getting in face time with people, you might be the perfect candidate for Facebook Live events or a YouTube channel.

If you are strictly all about writing (and staying safely tucked behind your computer) then blogging and newsletters might be your magical combination.

If you have an artsy side, Pinterest and Instagram could give you the chance to share your visual skills.

Even if you’ve never been a “marketer” surely you can think of the things you like to do and find a way to apply them to getting the word out about your book.

There are bestselling authors who have never stepped foot in a writing conference. There are #1 New York Times greats who only have Twitter.

The writing is ALWAYS going to be the most important part of what you do. Marketing can also be hugely important. However, few will succeed at doing something they despise, so step back from the things causing you angst and evaluate the pieces that bring you delight.

How can you build on those elements? How can those elements apply to other platforms?

Go Where Your Audience Is, And Do What You Do Best There

Now, there is a slight exception to the above rule.

What if the platform you love best isn’t where your audience is?

I recently had a conversation with an author that is a member of our Social Media Bootcamp Membership group who really loves Instagram, but recognized that her readers are baby boomers and that that demographic, isn’t as present on Instagram.

First off, kudos to that author for knowing her audience and the audience of the social media platform she is interested in.

Secondly, my advice to her was this:

The easiest way to grow an audience on social media is to go where your people already are. In her case, Facebook is the social media platform much more likely to house boomers.

So focusing on Facebook would make the most sense. But if she loves Instagram, she shouldn’t abandon the platform, she’ll just have to dig deeper to find what she is looking for there.

In this case, Facebook can become a cascade of gorgeous Instagram-esque shots with some Facebook-specific tactics also applied. Remember, there is no wrong way to do anything! She can implement the skills she has and the enjoyment she gets from Instagram on Facebook and she can also seek out those who are on Instagram and build a community there too (understanding it could be smaller).

Don’t dump things you enjoy to do what you think you have to be doing, but if you recognize there’s more potential somewhere else, split your time and see if you can’t make both options work for your platform.

The place where you feel natural and engaged is the most likely place to find success. 

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