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Be the leader (photo by Svilen Milev)

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If you’re going to use social media to promote your book, you should know your goals and have reasonable expectations. You must keep in mind that social media is not designed to serve direct sales. It’s about brand awareness and building credibility which ultimately will lead to sales.

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If I look at my authors and pick out the best selling books, I find that the best selling books are the ones that have a “brand” behind them. That sometimes is a literal brand-name like a magazine that has put out a book or it can be an author who has established himself/herself as a brand either through continuously putting out good books or becoming an authoritative figure on their topic in the real world and online. That’s what it means to be a brand–someone with some credibility that people will return to again and again. Once people trust you, then they’ll buy your book.

When you think of brand names, you can usually associate words and feelings with them. Let’s try. What do you think of when you hear “Wal-Mart”? What about “Cheetos?” “Nintendo.” “Gucci.” Now think about what words you want people to associate with your name-as-brand. Dependable? Informative? Fun? You decide. Now you know your goal. To make people think of those words when they think of you.

That said, social media can affect sales in a nearly direct way if you position your social media strategy so that your main goal is to collect emails for your mailing list. Mailing lists are still the best and most direct ways to get your customers to buy from you.

Useful Links:
Is brand awareness the number one social media goal? (Small Business Trends)
The difference between social media and traditional marketing in 2 sentences (Your Social Media Marketing Resource)

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