Monday, May 26, 2014

We are visual creatures...and so is Social Media!

People who know me know how much I struggle with marketing, but it's a necessary part of being an author, so I've been learning more about it. One aspect I've come to realize is how import is the visual aspect of marketing is. Take the picture to the side. It grabs your attention more than the title alone, right? 


Now, I'm not talking about book covers. We all know how important having a professional, eye-catching book cover is. Let's take that concept and apply it to our marketing efforts. 

Pintrest/Blogs

Many of us are addicted to Pintrest. 70 Million of us, in fact. Pintrest is a digital scrapbook/pin board where you can store your favorite websites. It's come to replace my bookmarks in my browser because it's easier to organize and navigate. 

What to consider when marketing

Put pictures in your blog posts! If your blog post doesn't have pictures, readers can't pin it to their boards

Don't use your book cover as your only graphic. Spice it up. You should be pinning your posts and book promotions onto your Pintrest boards as well. If it's just your book cover over and over again, it's tough to differentiate the links, and it's boring. 

Vertical Images are best on Pintrest. The boards are arranged in vertical rows, so your pins will display better if there made to fit the layout. 


Twitter

Twitter now allows you to post pictures along with your tweets. You can't schedule a picture post, however, so make sure you're popping in every once in a while to post your pictures, and not just relying on scheduled posts through TweetDeck or Hootesuite. 

What to consider when marketing

Twitter recently changed the homepage layout, making it more important that pictures posted post on Twitter are rectangular. They should be about a 2:4 ratio with the long side being the the horizontal side. 

Tweets with pictures get significantly more retweets and clickthroughs. I've seen a range of percentages reported from 3x to 10x. Either way, it pays to use pictures on Twitter. 

Facebook

Posting pictures on Facebook is nothing new, but it is a newer feature that you can post pictures in comments. Use that to your advantage if someone asks for book suggestions, etc. 

What to consider when marketing

Remember, posts that include a picture get more "Likes," "Shares," and clickthroughs. Formatting pictures for Facebook is similar to Twitter. They should be rectangular in shape so the preview doesn't get distorted. Readers may miss something important!

Now, if you're like me and devote some time to posting promotional links for your books on Facebook groups meant for that purpose, don't just post the link and let it show a preview of your book cover. If you let Facebook choose your preview, the models on your cover might get their heads chopped off, like what happens when I post a link for Date Shark. Control what readers see by creating an image to share that contains all the pertinent info for your promo in the right format. 

Instagram

I don't use Instagram...yet. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. What I do know is that it only posts square images

What to consider when marketing

This one's pretty simple. Make some square images that contain info about your book/promo. 




What if I'm not artistic?

For those authors who aren't particularly artistic, and don't have artistic friends or funds to have them created, have no fear! There are some great, easy to use sites like Canva.com and Picmonkey

Canva even has templates ready-made for all the different social media sites, which is pretty awesome! 

Picmonkey also has lots of stock photos you can incorporate into your designs. 

If you are artistic, but don't want to shell out money for Photoshop, download a copy of GIMP. It's free and can do pretty much whatever a graphic artist needs.