Monday, March 30, 2009

Publicity on Facebook: A Case Study

For some time, I've been contemplating how to let my 150 or so Facebook friends know about my book. I resisted letting them know the first day it came out on Amazon. They would have come to an Amazon page with no customer reviews, a publisher description that needed tweeking, and no way to "Search Inside" the book. But after two weeks, I had six nice reviews (all five-star) from people who had read my manuscript before publication and everything looked great to welcome all my Facebook friends. I was excited!

Here were some of my strategic thoughts going into it:

1) Put my announcement into the correct slot, so that it actually goes to all my friends (not just a select few, not just published on my Facebook page.)

2) Be personal and non-pushy. Facebook is a gathering of people I care for. Don't abuse that.

3) Time the announcement. I decided to do it on a weekend, when people are more likely to catch up with their Facebook friends. Otherwise, if I did it during the week and they checked their home page two days later, my announcement would likely be buried down on a secondary page and they'd never see it.

4) Let them know, in a few sentences, what the book's about, why they might be interested in getting a copy, and how they could get it.

Here's what I wrote (including the image):

FINALLY! My book’s off the press and available at Amazon! It’s called, Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It. Lots of documented research, but presented in a fun, story form. Nice gift for high school or college graduation. If you like it, pass it on to your other Facebook friends! (btw, my author name is J. Steve Miller)

The result? As of the end of the first day, I had two "Congratulations!" comments. Today, I find three more. But I don't see any sales from yesterday (I can track my daily Amazon sales through Booksurge). Not one.

Ruminations on my underwhelming Facebook publicity campaign?

1) Glad I did it. Hey, they're my friends and I want to share my excitement with them.
2) Yes, these are people I know and care about.
3) No, the book's not for everyone. Never expected all my friends to go buy a copy.
4) I'm unsure how many actually follow their Facebook homepage each day. Of 150 friends, I've got to wonder if 15 even saw my announcement.
5) Sales often come over time. Perhaps when they need to purchase a graduation gift, they'll think of it. If I get more response later, I'll update this report.

In the end, it's one less thing to worry about. I have plenty of ways to market this book. Now I can go back to concentrating on them. Facebook will continue to be a place where I keep up with my friends, rejoice with their successes and pray for their needs. It's not for hard "marketing" of my "products."

UPDATE: The following day, I got a few more personal responses. Now it's becoming more of a conversation item that will come up naturally as people interact. One will post a note on Facebook to say they're ordering the book, which may give an occasion for another to see the post, etc. With this new info, let's say that the announcement started a conversation that will continue. My book is a part of my life, and friends are interested in that aspect of my life.

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