What is a social media funnel and how do writers of fiction use it?
A social media marketing funnel is a system of platforms that direct people to you online. If you have a presence as a fiction writer on several platforms you have a better chance of someone finding you. But if you’re a fiction writer you’ve probably already discovered you don’t have time for all the social media people tell you that you need to do to sell your books, and still build a reputation as a published author as well. And as an indie author, you are the marketing team.
The Author Funnel
So how do you, as a fiction author, find a balance that gives you the much-needed time to create your literary masterpieces and still manage to tell everyone you’ve written them?
We’ve developed what we hope is a handy tool for you to not go crazy with the whole marketing funnel thing. First, remember that you are an author and not a salesperson. If you write nonfiction, such as teaching tools or courses, you may need to increase this method because you’re more of a business, but as a fiction author this method is sufficient to have a good presence and help your audience find you in the dense pile of books online, while still giving you the time you need to be creative.
First Create Your Permanent Platforms
Every author needs a permanent landing platform for their readers where they can read more about you and your work. Brand all of your platforms so your audience can easily find and recognize you. Have your bio on all of your permanent sites.
Blog or website are permanent platforms where the basic information changes only once in a while and you control your site. Make sure you’ve branded yourself as an author and you have a page for your books with a link to Amazon or other places where your readers can buy your books.
LinkedIn is another permanent platform. Again, post your bio and other information so your audience knows what you have to offer. You can also add your books and let people know if you’re available for speaking or workshops.
Facebook Business Page. Facebook is a platform where most people hang out so be sure to post about all your books and include a link to where visitors can purchase them by clicking on the ‘Buy Now’ button. If you have more than one book to offer, you might want to consider creating a landing page on your website that houses all your written work so that’s easy and organized for visitors. Use hashtags here as well.
Pinterest has recently become a huge platform for drawing an audience for fiction authors. You can treat it as a permanent platform now. Create a precise bio, create separate boards for all your books with a link to where to buy them, a board for your blog posts and link those to your website or blog, and other boards to offer information and tips. Remember that Pinterest is not a social media platform, it’s a search engine, so use keywords on there as well as hashtags.
Adding a humorous board about your genre or something else related to you will give pinners a reason to come back to you just because you made them laugh. Kittens and puppies, although extremely cute, have very little success at gaining you followers who will read your books. Sorry, they’re just adorable time-suckers.
Google+ is also a permanent platform and necessary for SEO. Unless you’re willing to put in a good chunk of time to create beneficial networks, it might not be the best place for you to spend your time. With that said, make sure it’s clear on your bio that you’re an author and in which genre.
Twitter changes in seconds so it’s not classed as a permanent platform but it can be a great tool to spread a quick word about your writing progress or the premise for a new release. Use specific one-or-two-word hashtags, and use three hashtags at most per tweet.
Check all of your analytics occasionally to see which platforms are sending you traffic and build them up. Once you brand yourself and get the Author Funnel working, you should find your analytics increase.
How the Author’s Social Media Funnel works
The introduction is where your audience finds you, your bio and your book list on your permanent sites listed below in Purchase Point.
Awareness is where your audience enters the funnel and checks you out more. Pique their interest in your work and in you personally.
Research is where your audience is gathering information about a topic they’re interested in. They need to know you can help them by answering questions they have about a topic they’ve already seen on one of your permanent platforms. Give visitors something of value such as free infographics and links to other information related to your writing. Become a go-to person by deciding what it is you want to be recommended for, this will be your niche.
Word of mouth is your reviews of your books or related work such as workshops and speaking engagements and comments on your blog posts and other platforms. Collect them and ask permission to use them on your sites.
Purchase point is where they can buy your books, so have multiple links across your platforms to where your book is available. For instance, your website can have a Bookstore page, your Facebook professional page can have a “Buy Now” button, your LinkedIn page can have a section to display your books with a link, your Twitter account bio can have a link to your Bookstore, your Pinterest can have a board for all your books. Wherever you have a platform, link back to where your book can be purchased. If that’s Amazon, link everything to your Amazon page.
Conversion is when they decide they want to follow you, read your book or otherwise engage with you and your work. Give them a way to do that. Make sure each of your platforms has a “Follow” button, and you may want to look into sending a newsletter once a month to those who follow your blog. They think you’re someone special if they share their email address with you. When you have a new book or an event or workshop etc., these are the people who will become faithful readers.
When you’re ready with all your platforms, here’s the schedule:
Awareness 20 mins a day total give an update on your work on one of your permanent platforms.
Word of mouth 10 mins a day post reviews on one of your permanent platforms.
All the other platforms are fast-paced so use them if you have a few minutes here and there.
If you decide on a newsletter (and we highly recommend it) start with a ‘drip’ or automated email sequence then send a new email once or twice a month to your subscribers and give them information before everyone else will get it, such as a pre-sale of a new book at a reduced price or a coupon for a ticket to your online workshop. If you’re in the process of writing a new book or you’ve just published one, share an excerpt with them.
You can see that this funnel will only take approximately 30 minutes most days and another 30 minutes per week updating a platform or sending an email. That’s only 3 hours a week! I can manage that. How about you?
Let us know if you follow this method and how it worked for you.
And if you need some help with your branding, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy writing 😊