At a local writer’s meeting, a member asked about the benefits of social marketing- what were the tangible benefits in terms of selling a book or closing a deal from social marketing. From what I gathered, most people in the group saw social marketing as a waste of time. And it can be- if you get sucked in for hours on end, using it as a tool for procrastination rather than a tool for a platform.
For me personally, I have seen many benefits from using social marketing. That doesn’t mean I’ve figured it all out, but we are building a community, and we have seen a buzz. When we are ready to publish and sell our memoir, we hope to reach many of these communities nationally and internationally.
This past year, Barton and I have been shifting our focus, from traditional marketing to using coaching and creative expression as a tool to enhance independence, growth, fulfillment, communication and connection with the community. While marketing and content writing will always be a base foundation, we’ve narrowed in on different markets and new branches, and we have to think about how we’re going to reach these new communities.
When we first began writing our Love Rolls On blog (www.loverollson.wordpress.com
), as novice blog writers, we could have ten readers in a week. Now we have about 60-100 readers a day, hitting some part of our blog. That in itself is huge. Recently, we’ve linked our blog to different social networking sites, and have also seen an increase in this regard. We’ve also seen a wider circle- now connecting not only with our family and friends but also with other inter-ability couples in Texas, Washington State and even as far as Italy. Not only are we reaching out to the community, but other individuals and communities are now reaching back out to us.
Our first You Tube Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lQX_irgy7A
) was an introduction to our blog. While it's been some time since it was posted, we've had over 21,000 hits and still receive comments. Who knew You Tube could be a social networking tool and create such an impact? Now yes, when you put it out there, you may receive positive and negative comments. But as writers and as being active leaders in the community, part of putting a message out there is providing discussion and learning how to navigate different view points.
I have also been commenting on other relevant blogs or websites, which has also increased visibility. I think about what issues are relevant, what angles, and how I could contribute in a positive way. Now when you search for my name, you might find a post on How to Survive the Recession as a Writer or a comment on a story about a couple whose child was taken away for two months because they were blind. This not only adds credibility, it shows clients, editors, etc. we are active and up to date on the latest news in our field.
Each social networking tool has its own nuances. And there is a lot of junk out there, but don’t discredit all of it. I scoffed at people who included what they ate for breakfast until I wrote a post about Barton giving me chocolate cake as a treat for breakfast. When I realized I crossed my own boundary line, I went back, explaining why it was so special. This gave a tangible connection that others could then relate to.
While I’m still figuring out how to utilize and balance all of the social marketing tools, I would say that the benefits are there- and they are real, but just as we send words to an editor's office or into cyber space, it’s not always visible as to who we are reaching and how it impacts them.