• Rahull Ravi

Writers on Social Media, Ditch the Hard Sell

We vaguely touched upon this topic on our article about Twitter, but we felt it’s appropriate to expand on this a little further. The book market is an undeniably tough market to work in, it’s saturated to the high heavens. When you add to the equation, self-published authors who are desperate to make their mark and sell their books, you get a whole load of self-promotion on Twitter and Instagram, it almost feels like walking into a busy floor in Wall Street. A whole load of promotions and pitching and not a lot of conversations happening.

There are several reasons why self-published authors must avoid the hard sell:

It Damages Your Personal Brand:

Have you ever spoken to someone in real life and all they did was talk about themselves and how great they are? Of course, you have. Now ask yourself, did you feel like speaking to that person again? The chances are you didn’t, and if you did, then you must be a very nice and patient individual.

This same theory applies to social media, you need to focus on bringing value to the conversation you’re involved in. Whether that value arrives in the form of humour, intuition or insightful advice it doesn’t matter. By providing value that other people appreciate, you help yourself to build meaningful relationships on social media. When you finally have that relationship on social media, you can begin to promote your product, but keep your content ratio at 80% value and 20% promotion.

The Algorithm Will Punish You:

The social media applications we use today have been developed by extremely talented individuals out in Silicon Valley, nothing really gets by them. They’ve developed an algorithm, a code if you will, which determines which content is valuable to its users and which content isn’t. Self-promoted content is often determined as in-valuable to social media, primarily because it generates very low engagement rates and even when it does generate high engagement, it’s often an anomaly and the algorithm will recognise that. The algorithm on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram primarily prioritises content which generates reactions of laughter and joy, because this is the content which generates the most engagement on a consistent basis from real followers and not bot accounts.

Once you’ve developed a pattern of providing poor content to your followers, it will be difficult to regain the trust of the algorithm and regaining that organic growth. So once again, make sure your content ratio is 80% value provision and 20% self-promotion.

The Solution?

The solution is clear for authors. Remember to provide value to your audience in the form of either humour, insightful advice or intuition, or all three! It doesn’t have to be all three, you can decide on your own brand, just remember to stick to it and be consistent. Social media is a long-term game.

In addition, you should wait to develop some relationships with your followers before you start unloading your self-promotion content. There’s nothing bad about offering your products to people who trust you and have forged relationships with you. In-fact, you’re more likely to gain sales off of those people than strangers who you’ve never spoken to before!

Maintain your content ratio. 80/20 is the generally accepted practice but there’s room for adjustment depending on your audience’s patience and tolerance when it comes to self-promoted content.

Yours truly,

Rahull Ravi

Marketing Director


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