Chris Bucci’s recent post, Some Social Networking Pros and Cons, offers an important reminder that social media, while an intriguing and useful tool, is not a panacea. I am delighted to guest post on the Anne McDermid & Associates blog and offer additional perspective sparked by Chris’ insights.
Today’s excitement about social media reminds me of the dot-com bubble in the 90’s (yes, I’m old enough to have lived through that) and the excitement about e-commerce several years later. Hype upon hype, traditional business models threatened, get in while it’s hot, the allure of easy money followed by toppled careers and lost fortunes.
Early in my business career I worked for IBM, a paragon of sales and marketing, and recall attending a lecture on the buying cycle as part of sales training. According to our instructor, the cycle consists of five steps: (1) awareness, (2) knowledge, (3) liking, (4) commitment and (5) buy. In other words, there are many steps before someone buys and each step requires deliberate planning and execution to prepare for success. I believe this cycle applies to books just as it applies to computers or laundry detergent.
As Chris points out, social media is only one part of a complex equation the variables of which are the strategies and tactics of positioning, marketing, promotion and sales applied not once but consistently over time.
As I explore the business of writing, I am beginning to see myself as an entrepreneur with products to sell. From that vantage point, writers – myself included – need to consider a host of questions related to marketing and sales:
- how are you positioning your book(s) and in what market segments?
- what differentiates you from your competition?
- what are the key messages you wish to convey through the buying cycle?
- what type of media, including social media, will you use to promote your work?
- what is your plan in terms of timing, frequency and people involved?
- how will you use PR to assist your efforts?
- what will you do, what will others do on your behalf, how will you integrate their efforts with yours?
- how will you build a community of potential readers and interact with them?
- what channels will you use to distribute your works and how will they affect the marketing you do?
- will you form any alliances to help you reach your target markets?
These questions stem from materials I’ve used to help clients build a sound business plan. Imagine convincing investors to put money into your writing business. Before securing their endorsement, they would want answers to questions like these and many more. Wouldn’t you?
Mary Tod blogs about writing at One Writer’s Voice and is currently at work revising her first two novels, Lies Told in Silence and While the Secret Sits.