You log into Twitter and visit a few author friends. One of them, let’s call her Jill, has 1000 followers. Another, let’s call him Jack, has 10,000 followers.
Your excitement grows.
Being new to Twitter, you wonder what it feels like to have 1000s of people following your page. You imagine your books selling left and right. Every time you post a new tweet, boom! Another book sale.
That’s Not How It Works
Quality of your followers is better than quantity. We’re going to revisit the idea of knowing your audience in this post. Yes, I talk about it a lot, but that’s because it’s the most important thing you must understand when selling a book and networking on social media.
When you dig into the profiles, you find that Jill has 500 followers who tweet about books they read. They read books in her genre. Jill engages with them, commenting on their posts, and having discussions.
Jack posts about how excited he is to hit 10,000 followers. His feed is filled with, “follow me and I’ll follow you.” He doesn’t engage much. Most of his posts are asking for people to buy books or follow him. When you dig into his followers, you find that most are writers, too.
What’s the Difference?
Jack and Jill both have a goal to reach more readers and sell books.
Jill is reaching out to people. She’s engaging readers, not writers, and learning about them. As time goes on, Jill will get to know those 500 readers and build relationships—relationships that sell books.
Jack feels like it’s a numbers game. He is constantly trying to increase his follower count, thinking the more followers he has, the more likely he is to sell books. To some degree that may be true, but he’s not building a relationship and he’s not focusing on his audience.
Jack can have 10,000 followers, but if nobody knows him, if they like his page and forget him in the fast paced Twitterverse, it does him absolutely no good. Jill, on the other hand, is working hard to build trust with her readers. Once they trust her, they’ll buy her book and become a reader for life. There’s a good chance they’ll become friends, too.
Once you have a loyal reader, that reader will recommend your book to others. You don’t have to sell those connections. Referrals are the easiest way to sell. People trust the opinions of their friends and influencers. They’ll buy Jill’s book in a heartbeat because her trusted readers are recommending it.
While people read Jill’s book, Jack’s follower count continues to increase, but his sales will be stagnant. His focus is on building a follower count, not building relationships with readers.
Building relationships doesn’t mean you become everyone’s friend. It means people get to see and know your personality. Are you kind? Do you help? Are you funny? Quirky? Or are you someone they wish to distance themselves with? Hopefully that’s not the case.
You build relationships by engaging with the same people over and over. Engage by commenting, not simply liking a tweet. Comment, ask questions, keep the conversation going.
Focus less on your follower number and more on building relationships.
In the long run, you’ll be much more successful with social media sales. Unless your famous, you probably won’t sell a lot of books on Twitter overnight. It takes time, patience, and the building of relationships.
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