What does 2016 hold for online marketing for authors? Here is my roundup of what worked for us in 2015 and what I anticipate 2016 has in store for us:
Facebook continues to be one of the most connected places for authors and readers. Readers continue to engage with authors on Facebook despite complaints from authors about reduced organic traffic. The reality is that authors now need to spend money on Facebook in concert with maintaining a business page that engages readers with personal stories, book and character updates, and visual content. Your goal is for engagement and connection, not sales centric. No one wants to be bombarded with ‘Buy Me, Buy Me’ messages every day!
FB is making it easier than ever to connect with readers through solutions connected to their ads. Yes, you do need to spend money ($200 – $300 a month) to benefit from what Facebook can offer you, however the return on investment is high. For example, by including a FB pixel on your website, you can target ads to specific audiences such as ‘hot’ audiences who have visited your website and know who you are. You can also target ads to audiences who follow other authors in your specific genre, but have not discovered your books yet.
My Prediction for 2016
Connection remains high with readers. Readers want to connect with their favourite authors and get to know their authors as people. Continue to engage with readers on your social media accounts. This can be done at set times so that you don’t lose writing momentum. Set a regular schedule for yourself to not only engage, but so you also are productive. We all know how addictive it can be online. Before you know it, you look up to find hours have passed whilst you have been watching videos and reading updates. Facebook content that is geared to engaging your readers is essential from asking questions, sharing funny things and visual content.
Embrace Facebook ads – but keep in mind this is not a learn-once system. Facebook continually update their system so you need to factor in time to be continually learning how best to maximize your spend on Facebook ads.
Keep an eye out for changes to Facebook Messenger. It currently has 800 million users and once it hits 1 billion users, I expect to see Facebook add additional features to Messenger including monetizing it. This will open up additional ways for authors to reach readers. Don’t use Messenger? It’s time to get familiar with it!
I have found Twitter to be a mixed offering for authors in 2015. From my perspective, Twitter ads have not seen the ROI that other services were able to provide. At the same time, tweets about new releases were a good source of book sales in 2015.
My Prediction for 2016
Twitter will continue to play an important role in authors connecting with readers. Building relationships on Twitter is important and this includes retweeting and responding to tweets.
I am looking with interest at the rumor doing the rounds that Twitter will be increasing the character length of its tweets to 10,000 characters. If this rumor proves true, then it will change how we use Twitter and engage with others, and not necessarily for the better. Twitter’s microblogging format is what makes it so unique. I grapple with why Twitter would change what makes them unique.
Building your email list will continue to be an essential activity so that you are able to connect directly with your readers. As always, you need to ask yourself the question, what would happen if your social media accounts disappeared? How would you connect with your readers? Your email list is one way you can do this.
Content is king and publishing regularly not only on your website, but across a variety of platforms is another essential activity in 2016. Look at ways you can repurpose your content so you can maximize both your time and expertise. For example, a blog post can be made into a video, tweets, FB posts, memes, podcast, etc.
Ensure you have your website connected to other platforms as no one platform operates separate from another. Do an audit of your website and social media accounts and other platforms. For example, is your website linked to your social media accounts so it is easy for readers to follow you and share your content?
Visual media is a vital component of your online marketing. Services such as Canva, Designyr and PicMonkey make creating memes easy. It also helps that the free versions of these services are incredibly robust. Check out Buffer’s Pablo; another simple way to create beautiful images with the added bonus of being linked to a powerful social media scheduling system.
Mobile will continue to comprise the majority of how readers engage with you which makes having a responsive website all that more important. Not sure how your website stacks up? Check it here at ResponsiveDesignChecker.
Video will continue to be big in 2016 especially live streaming video on services such as Blab and Periscope.
If you are not already doing video, now is the time to start. Concerned about doing live streaming video? Start with quick 1-2 minute pre-recorded videos. Get comfortable in front of the camera and then branch out from there. The most important thing is to start!
It is essential you test and measure your marketing efforts. At a minimum, I recommend you have Google Analytics and a Facebook pixel on your website. In order to know what marketing strategies are working best for you, you need to know where your sales and website traffic is coming from. If you are not doing this already, chances are you are making decisions based on assumptions and hear-say. Know your facts and your return on investment.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Now is the time to plan out your marketing strategies for 2016 to ensure you have the focus, strategies and money to help you reach your goals for 2016. Review your marketing from 2015 and list what gems worked for you. Add to that one or two ideas from my list above and start implementing your 2016 plan. As always, monitor and adapt because the one thing that online marketing never does, is stay the same.
Narelle Todd is a marketing strategist and speaker who has a knack for using the latest digital marketing strategies to help authors and solopreneurs connect with their ideal readers and clients. Click here to download her free “40 To-Dos for Marketing Your Books on Facebook”.
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Reprinted from Get My Book Out There, a digital marketing service for authors and solopreneurs. Find out more at http://www.GetMyBookOutThere.com where you can download the free “40 To-Dos for Marketing Your Books on Facebook”.