J to tha M: On Marketing

Marketing Free or Free Marketing

medium_7869728560M:  You had a Release Day this past weekend – Yay!

that’s exciting-puking-scary-thrilling all at once

J:  well, it was part of an already crazy weekend, so I had no time for puking

mostly, I was nervous about formatting. that what I saw wasn’t what everyone else would see

but thank you. I’m so, so, so excited to finally get Going Under out there

now… marketing. (dun dun dunnnnn)

and, as you know, this is not much fun.

this is actually the scary pukey part for me

and I feel like I’m already failing

M:  Yes, not only a release day, which is exciting enough, but your first self-published release

J:  right

which may or may not have been a good idea. jury’s still out

M:  that’s got to be a little more like free-falling

still super exciting but super scary

J:  really, the whole publishing part was…cool. easier than I thought

but now… I sit and watch

will it catch on? will people like it? will I be crucified for not having a publisher?

it did well in its first few days. still in the top 100 for children’s urban fantasy

which is whoa

but the momentum is already slowing

and I’m thinking “too soon for free days?”

which seemed to do wonders for Wraith Enchanted

Miss Number One in Her Category

nice work

M:  Thank you! I was really pleased with the free days

J:  but there’s got to be a more…lucrative way to market

besides just giving away free things. Still, if all those people tell one person

it’s super worth it

M:  I’m still kind of not understanding how that’s not lucrative marketing

I mean, think about it

it doesn’t cost you one cent to give away kindle copies

and you reach thousands of people

isn’t that reaching beyond the goal of getting your name and work in the hands and minds of readers?

J:  oh no. I understand THAT part of it

it’s definitely lucrative in that way

M:  what way isn’t it lucrative?

J:  well, I guess that it’s thousands of people who won’t pay for that book

maybe your next one, yes

thousands who probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise

I’m on board with that

I see the marketing side of it

but the bank account side of it still stings a little

M:  but it doesn’t really

I look at it this way

My sales of both books were okay but not super stellar

and during the free days, and even after, I saw the best sales on my first book that I’ve seen since the first month it came out – even better for a few days

sales I would not have seen had the second book not been offered free

and it didn’t cost me anything

J:  now that I can see

M:  and now, I have a whole bunch of new people who have my books, who will hopefully like them and have some sort of name recognition for my next works

and not only did it not cost me anything, I gave something fun, and actually made something besides feeling good in sales on my first book, and hopefully through word of mouth on both books

J:  and I don’t want you to think I’m against free days

I’m NOT

I just try not to think about the royalties I might have earned if all those people actually paid for it and I can be hap-happy

M:  gonna be honest – you cannot think that way

J:  hahahaha

my husband makes me

i get dirty looks when I say “it’s not REALLY about the money”

M:  I’d venture a pure guess that probably most of those people who downloaded the book free would never have paid for it

so how can you count that as lost sales?

Count it as a huge positive, because now they have a chance to read your work, hopefully like it, buy more, and tell their friends

you didn’t lose sales

you gained a bunch

J:  and I know it’s not. It’s about getting it out there, getting some notice

I’m not arguing. Just lamenting. it’s a difficult balance

M:  it really is

here’s the other way I look at giving away free books or putting them on sale

I have a huge list of book and authors I want to read. I can’t afford to buy them all – no way

so I get excited when a book I find intriguing goes free or on sale

and I snatch it up, and I read it

and then, if I liked it, I go and buy all of their backlist I can afford and tell everyone I know to try them out

How many sales did they make there?

when before, I never would have had the chance to find them and try the stories and recommend

that’s a loss to everyone

I mean, some of my new fave authors I discovered that way

Kate SeRine, Kit Rocha, Kristen Ashley

J:  I’m afraid I sound whiny

M:  no, you just sound like the other side of the debate

a lot of people feel that way

J:  it’s not my intention to sound whiny

M:  probably more than feel my side

J:  because I fully understand the benefit

and can’t wait until it’s time to do free days for Oracles

M:  I think a lot of authors fall into only seeing lost sales on those thousands of downloads

but you can’t see them as lost sales – most of those people would never have paid full price in the first place

sure, some of them, maybe, but the few that might have are made up by the word of mouth and sales resulting from those reads that never otherwise would have happened

J:  another benefit to self-publishing is setting my own price

M:  yes, price setting is a huge benefit

and being able to make changes at any time, when those pesky errors pop up

that’s probably not as big of a deal to you – heh

J:  I could have asked a lot more, but I thought the lowest possible price was still really fair

M:  yeah. I just want to get my stories into as many hands as possible. I’d love for everyone to be able to afford all the books they find interesting

and still allow the authors to make some sort of living

J:  now, I know how you feel about the Goodreads giveaways

like maybe you don’t see as much of a benefit

but since mine went live this morning, more people have added to the to-read lists

maybe they will, maybe they won’t buy it

but the giveaway at least put it on their radar

M:  that’s true. anything that gets the info out there is good

J:  but it gets the book in front of even more people

because those people who put it on their to-read lists are then seen by their friends

who might also find it interesting

does it translate to more sales?

no clue

but people know my name and my book

oh

do know what has helped me find books to buy?

the lists on goodreads

when I’m on my geeky hero kick, I search the lists

I’ve bought at least five that I found on those lists

it’s how I found Ruthie Knox and Delphine Dryden

M:  I find books by word of mouth or blog and publishers sites and reviewers I trust

J:  word of mouth is still definitely the most powerful

Tiff’s reading Red

and LOVING it

I feel accomplished

M:  see

I might still not have purchased Red off my want-to-read list if Kate hadn’t offered it for free, and then never rec’d to you or everyone else

J:  but Tiff wouldn’t have read it if we hadn’t talked about it

and I know two other people who bought the series after reading my rec on twitter

M:  right. but we wouldn’t have talked about it if I hadn’t read it

and I might not have read it if it hadn’t been free

J:  nope

but you can see how both worked

M:  so that whole chain reaction goes back to her offering the ebook free for a couple days

J:  perhaps, but if I hadn’t tweeted it, it would have stopped with me

M:  but I wouldn’t have started if it hadn’t been free. And boy, did I rec it after I was finished reading.

J:  and I discovered Charlotte Stein because Ruthie Knox told me on twitter to check her out

M:  and I only bought both Knox and Stein because they were on sale or free, no matter your rec

so it’s all intertwined

J:  one to spark, the other to fan the flame

M:  the best thing in the world is to get people talking

and offering your book on sale or free is a very lucrative way to do that

J:  Talking is good. I’ll start my plan for the Oracles free days

brb

photo credit: <a

Guest Post: Marketing Doohickeys

More Marketing Tips for Authors

author marketing tipsA librarian told me that writing the book is half the work; selling it makes up the other 50%. As a writer, how can you stand out in a world of other books? Try these personalized marketing tricks:

QR code.

Traditional marketing plans involve making postcards and bookmarks with your cover image and book information on them. (I’ve also heard of bracelets, necklaces, shirts, and cookies used for swag.) One way to make the bland postcard or bookmark more alluring (and to tie in new technology) is to use a QR code.

QR codes are those black and white fuzzy squares now appearing on posters, newsletters, and even cereal boxes. When somebody scans them with their smartphone, the code takes them to a web URL you set (the publisher’s site, the author website, Amazon.com, or even a secret download—like an extra short story).

There are free QR code generators, like http://www.free-qr-code.net/ or http://goqr.me/. Some printing companies like MOO.com offer the service when creating promotional materials. Sites like https://bitly.com/ can also track who’s been clicking on your code (but you have to sign up for a free account).

Customized goodies.

Giveaways are quite popular. Sometimes the prizes involve something monetary, like a Barnes and Noble gift card. One way to spark more interest, though, is to make a book-themed basket. Is your story set in the classic Hollywood era? Maybe a set of black and white films will entice potential readers.

Character-themed goodies also work. Silk, one of the main characters in my debut novel, has emotional memories tied to cherry blossoms. These flowers adorn the prizes in my gift giveaways.

author marketing tips

Autographed copies.

People enjoy getting free copies of your book. When you add a signature, though, it adds a sense of specialness to the receiver. Make sure to personalize the inscription to best reflect the reader. An inscribed copy is a way for people to show off their uniqueness and ensure that they’ll keep the copy in their library.

Which idea did you like? How have you made marketing more interesting and specific to your book?  

About the Author

Jennifer J. Chow, an Asian-American writer, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA. Her geriatric work experience has informed her stories.  She lives near Los Angeles, California.

Her fiction has appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, IdeaGems Magazine, and Mouse Tales Press.  Her Taiwanese-American novel, The 228 Legacy, made it to the second round of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and was published by Martin Sisters Publishing in July 2013.
photo credit: TMAB2003 via photopin cc

J to tha M: On Reviews

How Important Are They, Really?

buying book reviews

© Gryphonphoto | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

M: I was thinking about reviews

You know, how important are they versus how important we think they are.

J: Obviously, we like to know what people think

and if we don’t have a lot of reviews, we feel that either people aren’t buying or don’t care enough to review

M: But reviews have gone the way of so many things, it seems. All about the numbers

how many

how many 5 star

and I think they’re losing their effectiveness or purpose

the whole pay for reviews thing, or ask all your friends and relatives to give you five stars

promise something in return for reviews – money, prizes, whatever

that kind of defeats the purpose

so how do you get more reviews without diluting or invalidating them?

J: well, if you’re not promising cool stuff in return for the reviews, you gotta hope you’ve got something great that people want to talk about

M: yep

J: It’s really just a matter of abuse

taking a good system and exploiting it, twisting it to fit your needs

it’s kind of amazing that people go so far as to promise cool stuff in exchange for reviews. I don’t know if I could make myself do it. I mean, part of me doesn’t begrudge them the reviews. It’s hard enough as it is

but then I look at my small number of reviews and think “what could I do?”

and the answer is: write something better or promise cash and prizes

M: Some people probably really did feel the book deserved a high star rating and review, but how many felt pressured or thought it was expected, they either didn’t read the book at all or just wanted the reward or left an inflated review?

versus how many just needed the simple reminder or encouragement

J: well, you know my stance on offering prizes as opposed to flat out paying for reviews

offering a prize doesn’t guarantee a good review or even a review at all

while paying someone to write a bunch of different five-star reviews to post on amazon or goodreads is completely false

so I don’t exactly consider them the same level

even if, yes, people are more likely to review falsely or in an exaggerated manner to get a chance at the prize

it’s still not the same as having a bunch pre-prepared by a ghostwriter

M: I agree they’re not the same level, but anytime you offer something in exchange for a review, that’s where things start getting skeevy for me.

I know offering an incentive doesn’t guarantee a good review, but I think it influences one. Consciously or not

but my feeling is, to get thousands of reviews, people have to love your book. LOVE IT. talk about it all the time to everyone. And offering a contest or asking your friends for reviews isn’t going to get you to that level. Writing a book that appeals to a large number of people will.

J: as an author, the numbers would be great, but I’d just KNOW that they weren’t the real deal. How could I believe anything anyone said about my book?

it’s such a fluffy ego boost.

M: All these shenanigans have really undermined readers’ confidence and belief in reviews

J: the general consensus about anything anymore is “whatever it takes” and “laugh all the way to the bank”

M: there is that

I think there’s a lot of concentration on “how do I get more reviews for my book” and not “how do I get more readers.”

and while there is certainly a relationship, there is a difference

J: I think a lot of people look for shortcuts, whatever they may be

M: Absolutely.

J: I wonder sometimes if I’m just not cut out for the business side of it

and think if I’m going to keep writing, I need to just write, edit, publish

leave the rest out so I don’t get discouraged or angry

M: it’s a balancing act, for sure. Do what you can, what keeps you going, but know if you put something aside, you might have to change your goals

J: I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible to meet your goals without breaking some rules

M: It depends on your goals, doesn’t it?

J: It really does

What do you think about responding to reviews, even if it’s just to say thank you?

I’m kind of against it, even though I know the Internet changes rules all over the place

I think if people want a response, they should send a private message

do you think that’s ungrateful?

M: I don’t think it’s ungrateful.

The internet has changed so much. Some people want a separation between the author and the work, some don’t.

I’ve heard arguments on both sides, and I still don’t know

J: I’ve seen some people say in the same breath that it’s creepy the author can see their review but they don’t know why the author didn’t acknowledge it.

M: I like to be able to comment or review or whatever without that perceived pressure

but I also love hearing from people, whether they’re readers or writers, so…

I don’t know

J: well, I do make a point of answering personal messages

we put our contact info out there

I think if people want a response, they should contact me privately

M: oh, yes, absolutely. I always answer messages or notes

Even the “like” thing I’m kind of debating – I mean, what are the rules for that? Should we like every review, good and bad, because the person did take the time to read and comment, even if, as the author, we might not “like” the content

which brings up the subject of bad reviews. Not everyone is going to like what you write, and you have to accept that

J: and if you haven’t paid them to say they like it, you can better trust them, too

M: not everyone who leaves a bad review is an idiot, jealous ex-lover/writer/reader/birdwatcher who doesn’t know anything about anything ever and should just keep their opinions to themselves and not say anything if they can’t say anything nice.

Some, maybe, but really. Not all.

J: Word. I’m going to go do some birdwatching, I think.

brb

J to tha M: Twitter for Marketing?

Oh, the Twitter Woes

J: Twitter is kind of driving me bonkers

M: Twitter always drives me bonkers

J:  my irritation is with authors who schedule twitter posts and then spam the hell out of people all day long with nothing but advertisements for themselves

or maybe even for others

but have zero engagement

M: some people only use it for that – promotion and marketing.

J:  and the >.< isn’t so much about scheduling posts

that’s all well and good

I use it for marketing, too

the >.< is when I open my twitter and the first 20 tweets are from the same author about various things

four times a day? fabulous!

every second? I hate you.

M: I don’t even know how to schedule tweets

J: you do use the auto post buttons from blogs

the “tweet this” feature

I actually pay attention to those

and find new books through yours

M: Oh, yeah, I do that for things I think are interesting to share or to help other people spread the word

J:  I think you’re doing it right

not only are you not posting 1,000,000 times per day about yourself

you’re using twitter to spread the word about others

M: I’m all about that

I know I “should” use it more, but I don’t enjoy it

I tried to get into it, I really did. You’re so active and in a good way on facebook, twitter

but I just can’t

J:  I do miss silly tweeting with you sometimes, but you’re not filling my timeline with auto-tweets, so we’re cool

M: what’s the point of auto tweets? Just to sell stuff?

J:  yes

M: I mean, isn’t the point of twitter to be interactive?

J:  yes

now you get me

M: well, that’s why I don’t use it so much. I don’t feel interactive enough. I like sharing cool things, or things that interest me

that might interest others

J:  but that is interactive, see? the sharing information

that’s what it’s about

YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT!

M: but here’s my thing – I hate things only being about numbers, and that’s what twitter has kind of turned into. How many followers, who unfollowed. It’s too much like cliques in high school or something sometimes

J: It doesn’t have to be that way

M: Here’s the other thing – I can’t read all the tweets. So what’s the point of having followers or being followed if no one reads them?

this is what baffles me about Twitter

I have blah-de-blah number of followers. Great.

but what good is it if no one reads my tweets?

J:  I do try to track certain people who interact with me, but I also find it rewarding to scroll through the last hour or so of my full list of follows just to see things I might have otherwise missed

but this is where I get my >.<

M: can you really read tweets of the multiple thousands of people you follow?

J:  I DO actually pay attention to all that I follow

not all the time, which is why social media experts suggest tweeting at least four times per day

to reach the optimal number of people

M: that’s the finding a balance thing, isn’t it?

what twitter and other social media were maybe originally intended for and what they’ve ended up being

I don’t like the hypocritical “I hate twitter, but I’ll use it to sell my stuff”

to me that just seems wrong

it should be about interacting with people, but it seems to be all about gaining numbers and not really caring about people behind those numbers

J:  we both use Twitter for the same reasons, which are to engage and inform. I’m more comfy sharing personal stuff than you are, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Most of my personal stuff is just making fun of Liam

and I’m cool with people tweeting about their lives, too

that’s interesting

well, those who tweet everything they do are also on my list

please don’t tell me you’re folding laundry on twitter

unless it’s part of a conversation, which is a whole other story

M:   if you’re just telling people you’re folding laundry, that’s not interacting

connecting, catching up, I can totally see that

but otherwise… I don’t know

J: but I do know a lot of my followers would be interested in some of the stuff I do. probably not all of them

I mean, if you tweeted pics of your dogs, I’d look at them

because it’s you

and your dogs

M: it does go back to your original point – oversharing whether it’s personal or professional

there’s an author in my list of people I follow that is auto tweeting the exact same thing from over a year ago

the exact same marketing/promotion message for the book

o.O

that’s not only annoying, it’s lazy

J:  there!

that’s exactly what I’m talking about

M: i don’t get it. as a reader, writer, or sometimes twitter user

J:  and chances are that’s the only damn thing she/he posts

that’s where I was going with it

M: and that goes back to my question: how does that help anyone if no one actually reads it?

J:  it doesn’t

it does nothing but annoy me

so this chat is my PSA to anyone who does that

STOP

the ones in your timeline really are probably pre-scheduled

which means that author opened twitter, scheduled tweets, and then never opened twitter again

so what they’re really doing is alienating potential readers

M: well, I’m not a big Twitter user, but that’s just my weirdness, so I’m not the best judge

J:  just for that, we should tweet-read another book together

M: it’d have to be a really spectacular book to get me on Twitter. Let me go find one.

brb

J to tha M on Reviews, Marketing, and Cheese

What We’re Reading…or Not Reading

book reviews and author marketing

© Sutashiku | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J: I read a book! Well, I read a couple, but my recent history suggests this is a rare thing. Of course, there was Ben Monopoli’s The Cranberry Hush. Loved. I think I might have a reader-crush on him.

M: I thought you’d like that one. Vince is very Holden-esque

J: Holden, yes. Vince, yes. But mostly the authors who created them. Also, our stalking has paid off once more. Interview with Mr. Monopoli coming soon! (We should maybe clarify that our stalking is in no way shady and almost always welcomed by the authors in question…)

M: Read his books and prepare to ask questions. There may be spoilers in the interview, but we’ll be sure to warn everyone.

J: I have The Painting of Porcupine City queued and ready to go soon. I’m also reading Elizabeth Hunter’s A Hidden Fire.

I’m only half done, but I do not hate

not even a little bit

in fact, I think I’ll love and have to order the next three immediately

M:  I love that

finding something you like and being able to read more

J:  I think you would like this one

but I’ll wait to rec until I finish

M:  I’m not a huge YA fan

they have to be pretty good

J:  it’s a vampire one

but I did not know that when I started. It doesn’t necessarily read like a YA, either.

M:  I read the beginning of an erotica BDSM trilogy by Lila Dubois. The first book was free – Undone Rebel – not sure if it still is. It was good. Not annoying, sexy

but I like a well-written, sexy story

J: it looks kind of cute, actually

M: it was

I liked both hero and heroine

cute, sexy, and free

J: one of the reviews says geek-turned-dom

tell me it’s the hero

please

M: it is

computer geek 😉

J: *dances*

i have such a soft spot for the geeks

M: geek dom

and fun

J: siiiiigh

M: I was very pleasantly surprised.

J:  I’ve got it but haven’t started it

but I will

M:  it’s definitely BDSM-y

good, though

Started a romantic suspense – jury is still out. Started pretty well, but then…

got kinda draggy and now looks like it will succumb to the Silly Romance Overreaction and Misunderstanding

I need to catch up on my reviews

which makes a good segue

I’ve gotten a few emails from authors patrolling reviews of books similar to theirs on Amazon

Sending the emails to the reviewers and asking them to read and review their book. This last one actually sent the book as a pdf attachment.

J:  I actually got a review request to my email, too

I didn’t connect the two until you said something

M:  I find this annoying.

I mean, I understand coming up with new and creative ways to get your book put there. All authors struggle with marketing.

But I’m pretty uncomfortable with people picking up my contact info from Amazon and

using it like that

And it likely violates a number of Amazon policies, not that that means much anymore

Something like that would never occur to me.

Maybe that’s why I suck at marketing myself

But I could never do anything like that, something that I find so annoying and, well, just uncomfortable

J: liam and I had a discussion about marketing the other night

I want to try a few new things in the future

M: I’d love to hear. Honestly, the only thing I’ve found that really helps is write a better book

“better” in terms of something that really connects with readers

J: we had visual aids and stuff

M: haha – omg

would have loved to see that

J: it was actually pretty funny

over dinner

a container of romano cheese

there may have been a mess to clean up

“this container of cheese represents my sphere of influence. I have reached them all. This piece of lonely cheese out here represents someone who would love my book but has no idea it exists. how do I reach that piece of cheese?”

“well, all of this cheese–” he dumps a handful on the table “–has to go tell that cheese.”

“but they don’t know that cheese. no one I know knows that cheese.”

M: mmm, cheese

word of mouth is so powerful. that’s the best way to reach people

figuring out how to get them to talk is the thing

J: that was another point. “this cheese may EVENTUALLY reach that cheese, but do we want to wait that long? how do I go directly to THAT cheese?”

J: I guess the most important thing is for people to just keep spreading the word if they find a book they like. Goodreads helps, but not everyone is on Goodreads. Same with Facebook and Twitter. You think?

M: I do. That’s why I love talking about books I enjoyed. I want other people to have a chance to enjoy, too, and help spread the word for the author.

J: So, who do we stalk this week for the blog? Whose amazing skills do we want to learn about next? Suggestions? Maybe Elizabeth Hunter?

M: Sounds good. I’m off to spread the stalk–I mean love.

brb

How to Create an Irresistible Author Brand in 3 Steps

Branding: First Step to Successful Marketing

Guest Post by Nando Rodriguez

successful author brandingAs an author, your personal brand should be enticing and as rich in character as your book topic. But we fail to brand or market ourselves with gusto because it means we have to label ourselves and categorize our worth within a genre—and you’re so much more than that, right? Are you funny, mysterious, helpful, or maybe even inspiring? And even if you could pinpoint your USP (unique selling point), how can the world possibly ask you to stick to just one heading? Think of your personal brand as an identity that incorporates you at a 360-degree level versus just one-dimensional and you’re already ahead of the game. Here are 3 tips to creating your personal brand.

1. You vs. Your Genre: How Do You Want to Be Seen?

Realize that you have hypnotized your audience with your words and subject matter, and they feel connected to you. Whether you penned a how-to or a memoir, your readers want more of you—and that’s a great thing, so give them more. It’s your chance to come out of the editing room dungeon and into the public light.  You’ve struggled in finding your writing voice, but now it’s time to find your personal brand’s voice. This is the tone, image and voice you want people to recognize when they see you at a book signing, visit your website, or listen to you in a podcast. And feel free to step outside of your genre for this, as it’s your time to shine as the author, or you can fully be an extension of your book’s brand. Ann Rice did this well when she was recognized as the queen of the vampire genre and would attend public affairs cloaked in darkness and mystery. Personally, I think it’s great marketing, but I’m not sure how long I’d be able to keep that persona going.

2. Identify Your USPs (Unique Selling Points)

When you go into business and you’re successful, it’s because you’re the solution to someone’s problem. UPS solves logistic problems, Applebee’s solves hunger problems and the Miami Tourism Board solves my yearly burn out problems. What problems are you solving? What are your unique selling points? Will your personal brand be seen as a leader in children’s genre, the self-help king, or possibly the quirky author whose humorous observations have sold millions of books, like David Sedaris? David solves problems. He helps people escape their personal lives as he involves his readers in his world for an entire book, and if you listen to David in a podcast, he’s 100% genuine in that he doesn’t do well with attention. It makes for an awkward listen, but you know what you’re getting when you tune in. His unique selling points are his idiosyncrasies, his quirkiness, and his powers of observation, which he then converts into humor.

Once you have explored the three items above, you will be able to establish your personal author brand and conquer the world, or at least Twitter. Be proud of your voice and expertise but make sure it aligns throughout. And don’t worry about being left behind once you have branded yourself, you can always rebrand at a later time and upgrade. Look what happened to Sofia.

3. Align Your Social Media Platforms & Everything Else

Once you’ve found an identity that resonates with you, “I’m an author who happens to be funny and writes about corn,” align all your social media platforms to that persona as well as your business card, website, and anything else that represents you, your book and your brand. This will further your brand by establishing trust and cultivating loyalty with your readers. On my way to work this morning, I looked up and noticed that Beyonce’s image was now gracing New York’s Times Square. Just last week it was Sofia Vergara plastered over three billboards sipping on a Pepsi. But as I was trapped in what felt like a “can you spot the differences” with my memory, Pepsi’s strong branding shone through. No matter whose image was on the billboard, Beyonce or Sofia, they aligned their branding across the board, literally.

What are your struggles with personal branding? Do you have problems narrowing down your particular USP? We want to know. Ask questions here, and we’ll do our best to answer!

Nando spends the majority of his time primping his hair and admiring his keratin treatments, but he also likes to help people brand themselves. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or visit his websites http://nandoism.com and http://www.interviewingU.com.

 

 

How to Market Yourself on Twitter without Pissing People Off

Here Comes the Social Media Police

Twitter marketing tipsI’d like to start this blog post by saying that Twitter is necessary for the average (or above average) social media fanatic. So if you don’t have an account, you better get one—fast.  Twitter is a great tool to market yourself, whether it’s professionally or personally. If you’re an artist, a writer, or whatever you choose to do with your life, you should have one.

I will admit to you all that I didn’t even start using Twitter until about a year and a half ago because a friend of mine (let’s just call her “Sweet T”) told me how great it was.  I always love to see what my friends and colleagues are up to, especially if I don’t keep in regular contact with them.

Twitter is a simple way to share important information in 140 characters or less. What could be better, write? (See what I did there, y’all?) So anyway, I wanted to share with you 5 simple steps to market yourself on this little gem of a tool…without pissing people off.

1)     Keep it updated.

Don’t tweet for one day and then leave it alone for a year. Just don’t.  Not sure what to say? Perhaps mention some of the work you’re doing, links to an article you wrote (I use bitly to shorten articles), pictures of restaurants, concerts, or events you’re at, and so on and so forth. People like to know what you’re doing (and what I mean by that is, people like to creep.)  Also have a profile picture of yourself—no, not your favorite beanie baby or a photo of Snooki. YOU.

2)     Make it entertaining.

I always love it when those I’m following post things that I get a good laugh out of, even if it’s a retweet.  Love retweets. Be fearless when it comes to starting dialogue. Maybe someone will reply. Definitely don’t be rude or ignorant, because that will probably help you to lose a follower or four. Just don’t be an asshole, okay? For instance, the whole Justin Bieber/Patrick Carney incident that went down a couple weeks ago—not cool. J. Biebs, you’re a little shit. (For the record, I never liked him anyway, but now I like him even less. Patrick Carney is forever my fave, and I respect him more because of how he reacted.) More on this raging lunacy here.

3)     Post relevant content.

Keep your followers engaged in what you have to say. Depending on your occupation and interests, post content you find useful and important. I always love it when those I follow post links to articles where I may learn something new and exciting. It keeps me wanting more.

4)     Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way for people to search for tweets that relate to a common topic and to create a community on Twitter. Now, some people take this a little too far. Please, don’t hashtag #every #single #word. That does no one any good and completely goes against the whole point of the hashtag. If you hashtag every word you tweet, I’m pretty sure 80% of your followers will unfollow. You look like an idiot. And you should most definitely not turn what was supposed to be one sentence into one word.  Fortunately, @OhHashtagAbuse is policing Twitter for us. Don’t get caught.

social media police

5)     Do not spam your followers.

This is for your own good. If you’re one of those people who constantly posts multiple unrelated updates to a trending topic, stop it. That gets annoying real quick. Don’t set up auto-tweets to market your book/album/brand new invention and then never log in again. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t spread hate via Twitter, especially if you want to keep your followers—and perhaps convince them to buy your products.

So there you have it, folks. Five steps to market yourself via Twitter without pissing people off. I do hope that has helped you in your quest to have people not hate you or unfollow you. Peace out.

Katie Marcario is a recent Nashville transplant who loves brewing beer and drinking that beer. She works at Kaleidoscope Media as the Director of Social Media and Web Content, but loves the chance to really speak her mind when asked. You can follow Katie @KaleidoscopePR or attempt to follow her personal account @kmarcario. It’s private, though, and she might be selective about her followers. She learned that trick from Jen’s husband.

(Jen would like to add that she no longer goes by the nickname Sweet T, and hasn’t since she left the black gospel choir in Brooklyn. She won’t answer to it; don’t even try.)