Lately there’s been lots of conversations, postings in forums and in social networks about whether or not Social Marketing is useful or a complete waste of time for authors.
As with any form of marketing you have to decide what is most beneficial to overall goals.
The fact is, Social Marketing works for some and fails miserably for others. It is not a one size fits all process.
I happen to be one it works for, but am very clear that there are only so many I should be involved with and only for a specified amount of time. Otherwise, I find myself going down the deep, dark rabbit hole of never ending “shiny objects”.
Track results
I have tracked business back to my involvement with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Granted, much of the business has been for my training courses, so perhaps my input does not apply to someone who strictly wants to promote a book.
However, when I track 30 – 40% of business back to my Social Marketing/Network involvement, I’m sold.

Social networks are a viable way to establish credibility and visibility.
People recommend what they like
Regarding book sales (which many authors find a very frustrating and ego deflating experience) readers often buy a book based on whether or not they have heard about an author, whether it be from some form of social marketing or by way of a recommendation from a friend or colleague.
Often recommendations are made on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and micro blogs like Twitter.
Social networks and social marketing allows for an incredible amount of visibility and credibility building for books and authors when done correctly.
They are great for encouraging followers and friends to visit a blog or website of an author through a posting by or about the author. From there, someone can opt into the author’s mailing list. The author can then share details about a current book or upcoming book.
I can’t even begin to count how many authors have said, “I don’t want to be a marketer, I just want to write and sell books.”
I have news for you, you don’t market (or have someone who markets for you) you don’t sell books.
Have your eye on the target
Social marketing is not a hit and miss proposition. The greatest value comes from having an integrated process that reduces the time spent with your social marketing and social networking and allows you to strategically position yourself as an author.
Again, I will be the first to admit this is not for everyone. However, for those of us who realize the power of social marketing we are going deeper and deeper into the process. And for many of us, getting incredible results.
A solution for some authors is to hire a VA to help with some of the “heavy lifting” such as getting your profiles set up, helping you to determine what are the best locations for you to put time into and helping to organize the process.
I can almost here the objection of, “I don’t have the money to hire someone to do this.” It’s a Catch 22; I don’t have the money to market my books, but until I market my books I may not sell more than a handful.
It’s interesting that during 2009 IPBA Publishing University (formally PMA) several breakout sessions deal with this topic specifically. To see for yourself how much Web 2.0 (which is all about social, social, social) go to and see how much is about the topic compared to years past.
If you attend Publishing University be sure to come to my Sessions. Both are listed on the web site for the University.
Something that can demystify the topic for some is to get some training in how it all really works. Often, when we don’t see the true benefit of something we can quickly discount it. Or not.
Right use of social networking allows for minimal marketing costs with very high return on investment.
In success
Kathleen Gage