Report Back- Monthly Meeting – 16th July 2016 – A presentation by FRED FELTON on Social Media Strategy

What Is Your Social Media Strategy?
A presentation by FRED FELTON on 16th July
Report by Patrick Coyne

Fred Felton is a Social Media specialist who enlightened us on the need and methods to make ourselves known in order to sell our writing.
Question: What percentage of SAWC members do not use Social Media? This is rather a mystery, though Fred tried by show of hands to find out. But the feeling was that this talk filled a definite need. This writer for one found the information he provided eye-opening if not mind-boggling!
Fred’s theme was simply that writers need to market their books better, and that using social media was an excellent way to do it. Publicity is the name of the game…
Starting with elementary ideas, Fred said using social media, you don’t simple say ‘hello’. To do this you must use the 80/20 formula. This means 20% to plug your book and 80% on how people can go about getting one.
Using TWITTER you must begin by providing a biography and presenting your book with a blurb or review but bear in mind that Twitter limits each post to 140 characters. However, “following” a celebrity may result in that person “retweeting” your post and thus reaching a far bigger audience than you may have at your own disposal.
A starting point to sell your book is to use a website or a blog. Experiment with WORDPRESS or TUMBLR if you’d like to set up your own site. Remember to keep this updated regularly or people will lose interest.
Then there’s FACEBOOK but Fred advised that you keep separate pages for your personal life and your books.
Merchandising: Fred used the example of how the books and subsequent TV series “Game of Thrones” were marketed to maximum effect. (For those unfamiliar with GOT as it is popularly known, the books by American author George R R Martin comprise a fantasy of love and lust, murder and mayhem, dragons and wildlings and ultimately good vs evil — Ed.)
Getting more ambitious, try INSTAGRAM, whereby you can share photos or videos online and which can be linked to other media as mentioned elsewhere. With a self-made video you can launch your book.
What about PINTEREST? This is a sort of ‘scrapbook-on-line’. In this one could put a picture of the cover of one’s book and include a link to other media.
Fred then asked us: ‘Do you have a marketing strategy?’ We should know who our potential clients are. Author Guy Kawasaki says: ‘Build up your community. Give a few copies of your book away first. Only then think about selling your book.’
With a media campaign you can plan a competition with your book as a prize. (NB: I fully agree with this tip as that was what I did with my book ‘A Guide to South Africa’s Mountain Passes and Poorts.’ A newspaper was delighted to offer my book as a prize in a competition, while giving it a fine review.)
It is possible to self-market your e-book on sites including Amazon, Sellfy and Gumroad. Again – give a few books away or offer a ‘social discount’.
At this point Fred branched out into what he called ‘2016 and beyond.’ Looking into the near future, he mentioned VR – Virtual Reality. Using this one could provide an enhanced view of a trailer of your book. Once again Fred used the example of Game of Thrones, whose marketers give away a Virtual Reality program.
Fred then digressed with some advice on how to use pictures.
SNAPCHAT is a program mainly for the youth and essentially a mixture of TWITTER And FACEBOOK. Fred said he had not used it – was he not young enough?
By means of MAILCHIMP one can send out a digital newsletter once a month. By building up a stock of e-mail addresses you can reach 7 million people. However, Fred emphasized the importance of obtaining recipients’ permission to have emails sent to them as well as giving them the opportunity to unsubscribe from any listing.
YOU TUBE allows you to upload a self-made video with a potential reach of thousands—the ideal is for the video to go “viral” ie. to be forwarded to other recipients via various social media methods. YouTube is costly in South Africa., in part due to our internet connectivity being relatively expensive and sometimes unreliable.
PODCASTS are a series of audio files that can be downloaded from the Internet, usually released on a regular schedule (daily or weekly). These can be played through your car radio system using a USB—an excellent way to break the monotony of long road journeys.
Fred stressed the need for a Content Schedule for one’s use of social media. In other words, a diary or day-by-day plan. Monday to Friday is enough. Don’t work at weekends!
BLOG TOURS create an awareness of your book. Send your book to bloggers and ask for a review.
Fred briefly mentioned literary festivals and book signings such as the Midlands Literary Festival and Time of the Writer. He mentioned the book APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepeneur) – How to Publish a Book. by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch.
He ended by introducing a bit of humour: the use of Anti-Trolls. Trolls are people who specialise in insulting comments and reviews. Anti-trolls could put them down in one sentence but it’s advisable to take a breath and don’t feed the trolls …
Fred’s slide show was clear and well-presented. It ended sensibly with his own contact details for people who wanted further advice:
E-mail: Twitter @ fredfelton