Social Media Advertising for Publishers and Independent Authors

Advertising on social media helps you to build your audience and also gives your products more exposure. With the huge amount content published each year, it can be difficult for your audience to discover your products among the myriad other products fighting for their attention.

As you build your brand, you also build your credibility and reputation online. The increased exposure draws more individuals to your website so you sell your products. Also, because of the available statistics on some social media platforms, you can quickly determine which marketing techniques and social media platforms work best for your particular audience.

It is important however, to weigh the possible increase in website traffic and brand building with the time and financial commitments required to successfully achieve these goals. If you are not consistent with managing your social media accounts you will not improve your bottom line, and will expend a great amount of time without benefit.

Before you consider which social media platform is best for your company or products, it is important to consider your marketing budget. The small business administration recommends a marketing budget of 7-8% of your overall budget allocated toward marketing. This allocation should be split between developmental costs including website and blogs, and promotional costs which are actual costs for advertising.  Independent authors should carefully consider these costs in their publishing budget and include them along with professional editing costs, a obtaining a professionally created book cover. independent authors should absolutely consider themselves as a business

If you chose to promote your business using social media, it is  imperative that you create a social media strategy and commit to a regular social media posting schedule for best results.

Facebook is an online social networking site that allows individuals to keep up to date on the events of their friends’ daily lives, and allows companies to develop a strong following of fans.

The first step in advertising on Facebook is to build your page. Use your logo or other unique cover photo and begin posting information that your audience will find relevant or interesting. Post regularly and on a consistent basis to keep your information available to your followers.

While there is no exact amount of material that should be posted each day, or each week, it is important to note that typically if you post fewer than two posts per week you will not engage your audience enough for them to maintain a social media connection with  you, and you will lose engagement. The ideal number of posts per week is between five and ten times. This requires a significant time commitment and the ability to come up with interesting and relevant posts and topics of discussion.

The next step is to connect to your fans and potential fans with ads. It is recommended that you create multiple ads to help build your audience. Use available targeting options so that you are showing your ads only to people who would be interested in your product through targeted marketing. As data becomes available you will be able to see which version of your ads work best. It is important to carefully design your ad since they will show up on the walls of your target audience.

The cost of advertising on Facebook is flexible. You have the option of choosing a daily or total overall budget, as well as a cost per click option where you will only pay for the clicks or impressions you receive, up to the maximum amount you set as your budget. You also have the ability to view the cost of your ads in real time from Facebook’s ads manager. This can be a low cost, effective way to advertise.

Vine is a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables users to create and post short looping video clips. These short (six second) looping videos are viewable on Twitter’s timeline or can be embedded into a web page. Posting short video clips on Vine can potentially create interest in your products and drive traffic to your website. These posts also link back to your website and improve your search rankings.

There are some downsides to Vine. For example, it can’t access your Facebook friends so it can’t automatically connect you to those followers who area also on Vine. Vine also has no social sharing buttons, and there is no way to share directly to other popular social networks like Tumblr. Vine may be useful for your bottom line, but be selective about what social media sites you are using to ensure you get the biggest bang for your marketing time and budget. Creating a social media platform for marketing is a substantial time commitment.

YouTube is a video sharing website and there are a couple ways to use YouTube for advertising. You can create your own channel and upload relevant videos about your products, or interviews about your products, or create creative and interesting videos that you believe people will like, but these may not be specifically designed as advertising. Your goal is to create dynamic videos that people will like in order to drive traffic to your website. These videos can help you build a following, especially as people subscribe to your channel. YouTube videos do have the potential of going viral but there is no secret formula to make this happen. All you can do is make the best possible video.

The other way to advertise on YouTube is to create actual video advertising specifically designed for one of  your products. Once the video is created, you upload it to YouTube, then create a Google AdWords account since YouTube video ads are powered by Google. YouTube then targets your ad by placing with other videos that are being watched by your targeted audience. You only pay a fee when people watch your video so you don’t waste money advertising to people who aren’t interested. The pricing policy is the same as Google AdWords.

You do have the ability to target your audience since YouTube tracks their users with Google (and we all know that Google know everything about you; what you like to eat, what you read, what you watch on TV, if you want to go on a diet, etc…). You can specify that you want to reach men aged 18-34 in Boston who enjoy travel and only those individuals who match that criteria will see your advertisement. This targeted marketing potentially may boost sales and drive traffic to your website.

Instagram is a photo sharing site that also allows you to share photos with Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. However, Instagram is not yet ready to expand their advertising to allow additional marketing. There may be better platform options available to you that you may wish to consider.

Pinterest is like an online bulletin board. You add items, images, text, which help you collect ideas on specific projects. Many people use Pinterest when they are browsing online and don’t want to forget what they have seen. Pinterest allows you to pin these items to your bulletin board. People can follow your account and you can follow theirs.

Pinterest is currently experimenting with promoting pins, but this concept of advertising is not yet available. This means that Pinterest’s main purpose for advertising is to promote your brand and product by getting followers rather than using targeted marketing. You would need to create an account and pin information about your company and products to your account. This is a way to drive customers to your website and hopefully make a sale.  Pinterest is another social media option available which will allow new customers to discover your products.

Twitter is a social media networking and microblogging site that allows users to send and read short 140-character text messages, pictures, links, and videos.  There are a few ways to use Twitter. You can regularly send out interesting tweets about your products. If people find your tweets interesting they may follow you to receive regular updates. This potentially could drive traffic to your website and generate sales.

Another way to advertise on Twitter is to sign up for Twitter Ads. You create an account, set a budget, and only pay when people follow your promoted account or retweet, reply, favorite or click on your promoted tweets. Twitter then tweets your ads to a targeted audience based on metadata.  There are some marketing campaigns that have been successful, but keep in mind that gathering followers, and consistently tweeting to keep those followers requires a regular schedule and time commitment.

There are apps that tie your social media accounts together, and these allows you to generate one piece of social media but post in multiple locations. These kinds of apps are helpful for saving time when managing your social media calendar. If you wish to begin a social media advertising campaign, I would recommend you do some research to locate the best app for you.

Social media is a reflection of your company so you need to ensure that your brand is accurately portrayed. You will need to create a social media marketing strategy that takes into account your marketing budget and the amount of time and staffing necessary to maintain a regular online presence.

Create new, consistent, and high-quality content to keep your company fresh and in the minds of your customers and potential customers. Use social media to increase the number of times your products are exposed. People generally need to see your brand and product multiple times before they develop an emotional connection.  Cultivate a loyal following by posting engaging content so that your fans can interact with your company. Your social media presence places you as an industry expert. Share your expertise as this establishes trust between you and your fans. Don’t tell your fans you are an expert. Let your content prove it to them.

Remember that the purpose of social media, and the goal of using social media, is to develop relationships. People want to do business with other people. Social media allows you to humanize your brand and gets potential customers interested, engaged and connected with you. Be authentic with your content. Be yourself.  Be professional. Be nice.


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