This is a continuing series of interviews on how various book authors use social media successfully. This week, I interview Jackie Huba. She is the author of the new book, “Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force and “Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message. The book is an indepth look into how word of mouth can be used as a powerful marketing and communications tool. Her blog, Church of The Customer, is one of the leading blogs on word of mouth marketing and has well over 200,000 subscribers. Along with her business partner, Ben McConnell, she speaks to major corporations and businesses on the applications of word of mouth.
The goal of this series is to share best practices in social media and help other aspiring book authors learn to use this medium to increase book sales and exposure of their work. Let’s begin.
1. What do you think is the biggest challenge that most book authors face when trying to use social media successfully for their book?
Many authors think of social media tactically as a way to promote their book. The advantage of using social media is that these tools are a great way to strategically build an audience for the long term. But building an audience takes time and hard work. Authors should be thinking long before the book is even written how they can start to build that audience.
2. Care to tell us how much time you put into social media on weekly basis? Where is the time divided?
Probably 10 hours a week. My co-author, Ben McConnell, and I both write for our blog and we try to post 2-3 times a week. We also have started a new online community, the Society for Word of Mouth (SWOM) and I probably spend a hour a day care-taking for that site. Also I have Google and Twitter alerts set up so that I know when people are mentioning us or our books online. We try to respond to these mentions as much as possible.
3. Where can we find you online? Please list the urls of your profiles for these sites (or whichever you feel comfortable listing) (ie; twitter, your blog, Facebook, etc)
- Blog: CHurchoftheCustomer.com (currently at 196,000 RSS subscribers)
- Society for Word of Mouth Online Community: theSWOM.org
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/jackiehuba
- Facebook Profile
4. I know you¹re active on both Twitter and Facebook. How have those platforms helped you with the book?
One of the challenges that authors face is that after the initial book promotion is over, how do you keep buzz going for the book? By participating in social media, whether it is using Twitter, or commenting on blogs, people will click to your profile and find out more about you. This way, you will have people who may have missed the initial launch publicity find out about the book. Facebook and Twitter are two such examples of how to connect with people who can check your profile and learn about your book.
A word of warning: resist the urge to constantly Tweet or mention your book in your conversations in social media. No one likes a braggart.
5. What are some practical WOM strategies that you can suggest to book authors trying to use blogging as an online marketing tool?
Use a blog as the main website for the book. Share a sample chapter on the site. Upload a video summary of you talking about the book. Using polls or trivia questions related to the book to get readers involved. Give away copies of books to those who participate in discussion on your blog.
6. Any interesting story or benefit that you care to share from using social media successfully?
It’s important to track what is being said about your book online. Use Google Alerts on the title of your book. One day I received an alert about a blog post with a negative reviw of our book “Creating Customer
Evangelists.” The blogger outlined some of things he didn’t like about the book. I posted a comment to the blog post, thanking the blogger for posting his feedback and gently corrected a few of the inaccuracies he had assumed about the book. His next blog post was titled “Jackie Huba is my favorite author!” He was amazed that I had seen his comment and would take the time to respond. By participating in the blogosphere, authors can create positive word of mouth and turn detractors around.
7. What¹s the best advice that you could give to other book authors who want to explore how social media can help them and the promotion of their books?
Start building your audience with social media now. Don’t wait until you are ready to promote your new book.