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Guest post by Adria Saracino:

It’s finally over. You sat at your desk every day, plugging away at your manuscript. You got every one of those tens of thousands of words on the page. After endless tinkering, you even got most of them in the right order. Now all you need is a publisher.

Social Media Outposts

The problem is that the traditional publishing model isn’t working, and publishers don’t want to spend time and money on something they aren’t sure will sell. That’s why Snooki was published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster and your lovingly crafted tale has been left behind.

That’s changing, though. You can build up an audience and bring the publishers to you – or end up leaving them out altogether – with social media marketing. The key is to have a plan. Simply Business made this interactive visualization that takes businesses through the process of creating a social media campaign. You can take notes from some of the most successful companies and utilize them to create your own campaign with the goal of getting published.

Click to launch interactive version

Setting up a social media campaign

First, you must become aware of the benefits and limitations of social media and the different platforms available. Many blogs and sites write about social media from a business perspective, but with a bit of creative thinking (which by now you should be used to), you can apply those methods to your own ends.

Image representing Ning as depicted in CrunchBase

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the concept of social media marketing, you must decide which platforms you need to use. You can talk to authors, publishers, agents and editors instantly through Twitter and Facebook. To build up your audience, join sites like Reddit or Ning, where groups of people with very specific tastes and interests congregate. Set up accounts that show you are genuine and interesting. Then start chatting to people you think will like your book. Networking is the game here – social media just lets you meet people that aren’t in your social circle.

Preparing to run the campaign

Preparing to run a social media campaign is all about planning. You will want to establish some goals and objectives, since like narratives, social media campaigns need to be set up as a path to success in order to be compelling. Setting and hitting measurable targets helps achieve the goal. Your goal might be building a relationship with your audience. In that case, your targets might include getting a number of comments on a post and a number of followers from a certain group.

English: Graph of social media activities

Once you have set measurable targets, you need to plan a social media policy. You need to decide with whom you want to socialize, the kinds of things you want to talk about and how you talk about them. This ensures your social media activity will always move toward your goals and targets.

While the policy covers the big picture view of the campaign, you need social and content strategies to map out the specific steps you will take to reach your targets. The content strategy determines what kind of content you publish on your blog or website, while the social strategy covers how you promote that work. For inspiration, look at authors like John Scalzi and Scott Stigler. They release much of their work online, and then use social media to market it.

Running the campaign

Running a social media campaign is a never-ending affair, so prepare to go in for the long haul. Even famous authors have to work to maintain their audiences’ interest, and so do you.

Google Analytics

When running your campaign, you need to monitor your analytics. If you have a website, add Google Analytics to the code. It will show you what brings people to your site, what keeps them there and what they do when they are there. You then should be able to put some hard readership figures on your work, which traditional publishers will love. With a bit of work, the analytics will also show you which social media sites and which kinds of posts are the most effective. Once you know that, you can refine your campaign to reach your goals.

publish #01

You also need to have processes in place to determine what kinds of posts should be published and when. With processes, you can easily categorize each kind of post, so you can see which ones your audience likes the best. It also means you will have planned how to act in almost every situation. From when you start building relationships to when you have a fully engaged audience, you will always have something worth saying.

Participating in social media does bring some risks. When you put yourself up in front of people, you open yourself up to criticism. Little will hurt more than a bad review, but you must try to accept that not everyone will love your writing. If you end up yelling at a reviewer, you could undo a lot of the goodwill you have worked so hard to build.

Still, when your book is in the hands of people who love reading it, all this effort and risk will be worth it.

Adria Saracino is a marketer and blogger. When not creating marketing strategies for businesses or connecting with interesting people on the web, you can find her writing about style at her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet

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