Unit 4: Reader Acquisition
Part 4: Community Management
As an authorpreneur, it really is important to have a solid grasp on how you can make social media work for you in a positive way. We have already looked at the roles and differences of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and how you can grow your target audience with them. So, now that you have garnered a growing following on social media, it’s time to define the role of community manager within your business. An authorpreneur will probably start off doing their own community management, but once the community grows it can be a good move to hire someone to do this work for you on an ongoing basis.
While having a community manager will help drive growth in your target market, their main role is to consistently be on top of communication in your social media. This means curating awesome 140 character tweets, eliciting responses via social media posts and shares, answering questions, and even dealing with negative comments and feedback. The community manager is literally the voice and the face of your business and therefore needs to know your work and vision inside and out. They also need to be quick on the ball and able to respond fast! A great community manager will engage and involve your public regularly, naturally creating organic growth, and will also know the ins and outs of every available social platform. Not all social media is created equally, and not all platforms work for every business.
In addition to understanding different online platforms, it is important to ensure that the ones you use are the ones your target readers prefer, and also the ones that will work for you. Each platform has its assets and pitfalls, and a community manager will understand and use these to the benefit of the business. Pinterest and Instagram, for example, are mainly visual, while YouTube and Snapchat are geared towards videos. LinkedIn is more for professional and business use (If you’d like to export your contact list click HERE), while Facebook can be used to promote all types of content, and Twitter requires the ability to get a message across in 140 characters or less, on a regular basis. Each network can help you widen your market, but you don’t have to use all of them! Just choose the ones that work the best for you and focus on how you would like to communicate your brand effectively through them. These platforms also evolve on a regular basis, so constant interaction and research should also be part of a community manager’s role. For example, popular authors such as JK Rowling and Marian Keyes are very active on Twitter, and readers always feel very comfortable interacting with them on a regular basis – a little research into popular authors of your genre and how their community evolves can help you establish your own in a similar way.
Another part of community management is organizing and maintaining a feedback loop with your readers. This basically entails gathering reviews, questions, and opinions from your readers and using it to not only further your sphere of influence, but also to see what you can change in future publications. Readers love to feel involved in their favorite writers’ worlds, and there are several ways that you can keep this feedback loop moving. Customer surveys and interviews are great ways to stock up on quantitative and qualitative feedback, and you can manage these via mailing lists and social media, as well as online community forums. It’s up to you to figure out how you would like your feedback loop to work.
Using social media as your main platform for feedback is a good way for an author to track and analyze a general consensus straight after a release, to answer questions from fans, and also to address and navigate through any negative feedback. The important point is to establish your feedback gathering tactics upfront so that once you have released a publication you can unleash this feedback loop and keep it moving on an ongoing basis.
One of the pitfalls of social media is that it is in constant movement and requires businesses to continuously post content. This is never easy for a small business to do, as you can run out of content to promote quite rapidly. Your social media following can really help you solve this dilemma, and if you involve your followers wisely you will probably also find that your market will grow. What you want to do is encourage your fans to create content that you can use. This could be a mention in a book review on Goodreads, a picture with your book on Instagram, an article about your writing on Facebook, and so on. This is called User Generated Content (UGC), and is a great way to share information about your business and your products. As we have stated several times, readers really enjoy a shout out and a share on social media, so encouraging UGC is really a two-way street. This is why it is always important to engage your readers and to provide credit whenever sharing or commenting on someone else’s content. You can start off by creating a discussion, or a contest, with your readers and then go from there. There are many avid book fans on social media who devote their entire channels to reviewing and discussing books – imagine how your readership could grow if you partnered with these people organically!
In the end, this is what a community manager will be doing: creating a partnership with your public via different networks. And a successful partnership can really help grow and solidify your target market!
Growth Hacking Tip: Add an image to your Google+ profile for increased open rates
While you’re sending emails from a real person, you might as well add an image that will appear in the thumbnail of people’s inboxes as well. This will help reinforce that you are in fact a real person and can help boost open rates on your email mailouts.
Photo of the Week: Halloween! 🎃 👻
Meal of the Week: The ‘Whaleys’ burger at Ruby’s in Soho with tomato, lettuce, beet, pineapple, fried egg & ketchup. 🍔 🍅 🍍🍳
— Marquina (@Marquina) November 7, 2017
Also published on Medium.