May 21, 2011

Value of Social Media

Here’s a perfect example of how using Twitter and other social media tools pays off.

In reading the book Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or ReInvent Yourself, I was confused by a paragraph on blog templates. I tweeted my question to the authors via their Twitter contact info provided in the book. Within moments, I received an answer to my question, which generated a follow-up exchange.

At the end of that brief conversation, one of the authors, Erik Deckers, invited me to write a review of the book on Amazon.com. It was the least I could do considering how helpful they’d been in answering my question.

Not only have I written a positive review, but I intend to use the book as the text for my CUL203 class Communicating with Social Media. Between the review and adopting it as my course text, those actions account for potential sales of at least 60 additional copies of the book.

I should mention that our Twitter conversation occurred while Erik was otherwise occupied at the Indy 500! Although my question intruded on his day, his gracious response was timely and pertinent — proving the value of Twitter as a conversational tool and a way to immediately connect. He was able to continue with his activities while also responding to a reader (customer — I bought the book, it wasn’t a desk copy). Our tweets were broadcast to his network and to mine, making the conversation available to others who might be interested.

Remember the old days when contacting book authors required sending a letter to the publisher in hopes that it would eventually make its way to the author weeks or even months later? Not anymore. Through social media we have near-instant connection, as well as a real sense of both the author and the reader. This is marketing at its best. I am much more likely to buy other books by these authors and this publisher (Pearson, one of my favorite educational publishers anyway!). I am very likely to recommend this book to others, and I am already adjusting my social media strategies because of some new techniques I learned from my close reading of the book.

As Deckers and Lacy point out, the tools are just the beginning. How you use them to tell your story is what counts, and by example the authors have demonstrated that their story is authentic and valuable to anyone who wants to use social media for promotion.

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