How Internet Body-Snatched Marketing and Changed Writers’ Lives Forever — II/III

This is the second installment of a three-part post on Internet marketing for authors.

The Web Is a Hotline to the World’s Readers

It’s cheap and easy to reach the people you need on the World Wide Web.  There are several routes in, and when you cover enough of them they create an effective “spider’s web” of communications. For openers there’s the website, or better yet, a series of interlinked mini-sites dedicated to each of your books. Then there are blogs, which permit ebook marketers to address their prospective readers in a friendly, informal, let’s-talk-shop manner, as well as making it possible for them to receive feedback, something that was unheard of in the days of OFM. If you’re not an expert website designer and you don’t want to pay one, consider putting all your websites on one of the popular blog platforms. The most popular ones are Blogspot and WordPress. They offer dozens of attractive, professional design templates to choose from, and building your site there is just as easy as creating a blog.

For visuals it’s not just YouTube and Flickr. You have more than 300 different photo and video websites where you can upload your images and videos. Before you dismiss these audio-visual communications media too quickly, there’s something you should know: After Google, YouTube is the most important search engine on Internet.

Social Networking Is Big; How Well Does It Work?

The Web 2.0 social networks are all the rage in recent years. A recent glance at The Wikipedia “List of Social Networks” article revealed some 180 sites, and that list is not exhaustive. According to the Nielsen Wire site (http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/global/facebook-and-twitter-post-large-year-over-year-gains-in-unique-users/), the total minutes spent on social networking sites doubled in the year 2010, up to six hours per month. The same media site reports that Facebook and Twitter posted gains of 69% and 45% respectively in the U.S. MySpace, though declining steadily over the past three years, is still significantly bigger than Twitter, with more than double Twitter’s 20 million unique users monthly. Facebook is heading (if it hasn’t gotten there already) towards half a billion members.

Internet offers wonderful opportunities in social networking, as well as in research and marketing applications, but we must never lose sight of the fact that it offers the same opportunities to everyone. So, in order not to be lost in the flood, your stuff must be outstandingly professional. Second best will not do. So get good at it. Consider getting some professional help, at least in the beginning.

Just accumulating a lot of friends and followers on the social networks is not proper networking. In order for your activity on the social sites to be productive you must attract the right people, people in your sector, potential clients and partners. The path to these people is paved with good, relevant content.

Another mistake to avoid when getting into social networking is trying to do too much. Your presence on the social sites should probably be limited to no more than three. With more than that you’re not going to be able to attend them properly and your pages will look thin and poor. Which two or three? People usually choose Facebook, Twitter and one other, often MySpace or LinkedIn. Another Web 2.0 site, which is hard to categorize but could be useful to you, is Squidoo, created by Seth Godin, one of the online world’s certified geniuses. YouTube must also be included in this list of Web 2 resources. It’s interactive and, properly used, really makes things happen. “Proper use” means uploading not just one video, but several, featuring different aspects of your book. Should the social networking sites be a top priority for an ebook publisher? That’s up to you to decide. The truth is that nobody seems to be able to calculate the return on investment (ROI) which social networking yields. The investment here is clearly more time than money, but your time is valuable.

Here’s the Secret of Abject Failure on the Networking Sites

The kiss of death on the networking sites is commercialism. People don’t spend their free time online to read sales pitches. So keep your content on subject, but off the hard sell.

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About Miguel Booth

Michael Booth, the creator of SomosPineros.com, is a US-born expatriate journalist, publicist, author and online publisher who has lived in a Spanish village in the foothills of Sierra Nevada for the past four decades. Though better known abroad for his fine-art printmaking sites and online magazine, Booth's day job for the past decade and a half, until recently, was his communications agency, Gabinete de Prensa.net, dedicated principally to designing and implementing Internet strategies for Spanish companies and institutions. His latest project is a photographic homage site to the Spanish village that adopted him many years ago: http://somospineros.com.
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