This guest article from Dana Lynn Smith is part of the virtual book tour for her new book, The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing. You can see the complete tour schedule at http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/booktour/.
Marketing through social media can be a great way to promote yourself and your book, but you'll save time and be more effective if you do some planning before you dive in. Below are some steps for developing an effective social marketing plan.
1. Think about the other promotional tactics you are already using and how social media fits in with them.
2. Decide how high a priority should be placed on social marketing, compared with other your marketing activities. How many hours a week can you devote to it?
3. Determine what target audiences you want to reach through social marketing. For example:
• Potential new customers
• Key influencers (people who can introduce/recommend you)
• Peers and other experts in my field or genre
• Publishing and marketing professionals
4. Set objectives, describing what you hope to gain by marketing through social media. Here are a few examples:
• Increase visibility and name or brand recognition
• Establish myself as an expert in my field
• Develop relationships with others in my field or genre
• Drive traffic to my website (directly and through enhanced SEO)
• Sell books and other products and services
• Develop relationships with potential joint venture partners
5. Based on your objectives, set specific, achievable, and measurable goals for your social marketing activities. Here are some examples:
• Add five new incoming links to my website this month
• Double the traffic to my website within two months
• Increase my opt-in mailing list by twenty five percent within three months
• Increase book sales by ten percent within two months
6. Develop your branding
• Get a good quality headshot photo, in low-resolution format, to use in all online marketing activities.
• Decide what "user name" you want to be known by online. Nonfiction authors should also develop a short tagline that reflects their specific area of expertise, such as "The Book Marketing Maven."
• Write standard bios in several lengths.
• Create an online signature for emails and online forums. Include your book title, company name if appropriate, website and blog address, and one or two social networks.
7. Determine which social marketing tactics are the best fit for your book, your audiences, your objectives, and your available time. Social marketing activities can include:
• Social aspects of blogging (commenting on blogs, doing blog tours, etc.)
• Social networking (Facebook, MySpace, etc.)
• Microblogging (Twitter)
• Reader communities (Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc.)
• Online forums
• Expert sites and wikis (Squidoo, HubPages, etc.)
• Media and content sharing sites (video and photo sharing sites, etc.)
• Social news and bookmarking (StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc.)
8. Decide how you will measure the effectiveness of your social marketing efforts. What metrics will you track and what tools will you use to measure them. Below are some examples of metrics you might track:
• Friends or followers on social networks
• Articles or pages posted on expert sites or article sites
• Sales of books and other products and services
• Business contacts (peers, influencers, media, potential partners)
• Weekly unique visitors and return visitors to my website and blog
• Subscribers to my mailing list and blog
• Visitors to my website and blog
• Inbound links to my website and blog
9. Implement your chosen social marketing tactics, one at a time.
10. Evaluate your progress periodically. Can you tell which activities are generating the best results? Are some activities taking up too much of your time? Make adjustments to your strategy as necessary.
Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing, www.SavvyBookMarketer.com. To view other articles in the Successful Social Marketing book tour, visit