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4 social media lessons from the world of book publishing

This post is by Becky Robinson, director of social media marketing and community building at The Kevin Eikenberry Group.

Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris launched their new book, “From Bud to Boss,” in February. I had joined their team only a couple of months before the scheduled launch, but together we created strategy for using social media to launch the book and build buzz.

Eikenberry had launched books before; he released his last big title, “Remarkable Leadership,” in 2007, before the wide use of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Through the launch of this new book, we learned a few important lessons about using social media to launch a product.

  1. Build a network first. Authors will often use the release of a new book as impetus for getting involved in social media. They set up a fan page for their book, sign up for Twitter and begin blogging. While I applaud that effort, I also think those last-minute forays into social media will not have the impact they could have if the author had gotten involved sooner. Far better to cultivate fans, friends and followers long before you think about the launch of a book or product. Eikenberry has been blogging for more than seven years and has a strong Twitter following. Harris has been blogging since April 2008 and uses Twitter as well. I have been involved in the leadership blogging community for two years and brought my own network to our launch efforts.
    The strength of our combined networks allowed us to mobilize a much larger network of fans, friends and followers.
  2. Look for ways to give. It’s fine to ask for help with the launch of a book or product. People will be happy to support your launch if they believe in your product and if they are compelled by their connection with you. One reason that our launch worked well is that we looked for ways to add value to our fans, friends and followers. We offered ready-made content for their blogs; we found ways to cross-promote their blogs, books and products; and we gave them visibility in our community. We found ways to give first. The bloggers we reached out to for help appreciated the value we offered to them.
  3. Make it easy. People are busy, so we suggested tweets, ready-made blog posts and suggested text for Facebook and LinkedIn to allow people to help us without a lot of effort. We posted that material daily on our community blog, sending out links via Twitter and Facebook to keep our fans informed about how they could help.
  4. It’s all about relationships. People will get involved and help out with a book or product launch for many reasons. The most important motivation will always be their relationship with you. If you take care to build real connections with others, asking for and receiving help will seem natural and expected.

Mobilizing fans, friends and followers for a book or product launch works best when you build your network first, look for ways to give and make involvement easy. Your efforts will be most successful when you have invested time in building relationships with others.

Image Credit: ajt, via iStockphoto

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