You may have noticed that I rolled out a new website design over the last several days. That’s an egotistical assumption, of course. I would be genuinely surprised if anyone had noticed at all. But, it was a big deal for me.
Not long ago, I posted an article on Rethinking Author Branding where I largely derided social media as a marketing strategy. I dissected the pitfalls of each platform and decided to restrict my usage to event promos and big announcements. That still holds true today, but I wanted to take it one step further.
I have worked very hard to brand myself as a science fiction author. A large chunk of that strategy involved social media engagement, which ended up being less impactful than I had expected. In today’s online world, everything can be tracked and measured. I study my website analytics and know exactly how readers find me, be it through Google searches, Amazon links, or Facebook posts. As the data accumulated, one thing became abundantly clear: social media wasn’t doing much for my brand.
I asked all the pertinent questions and adjusted my strategy accordingly, but nothing I did made a difference. I compared notes with other brand-focused authors and they reported many of the same issues. I was left with the cold reality that social media marketing just does not work well for indie authors. There are exceptions to any rule, but the rule stood firm. As a result, I decided to rebuild my strategy from the ground up.
Part of this involved a notable website revision. Along with a cosmetic polish, I moved all of my social media icons to the bottom of the page (and shrank them). A minor tweak, but with major implications. You can still find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but I made the task a little bit harder.
I readily admit that this flies in the face of current marketing wisdom. Your social network should be front and center for all to see. Right? Well, not necessarily. The data says otherwise, at least in my world. I am willing to bet that a calculated restriction will result in the exact same engagement and click-through rates that I had before. Hell, they might even improve since I won’t be polluting my feeds with filler content.
In a basic sense, I decided to put my cred where my keyboard is. I deleted my automation accounts and wiped the docket clean. This post will serve as a catch-all explanation as to why I have restricted my social media presence. The goal is to prove a valuable point: that it will have zero impact my brand.
With all that said, I should clarify that I am not abandoning my duties as a writer. I will continue to market my books, promote events, and engage my audience, but I will approach these tasks in a much more thoughtful manner.
A big upside to this adjustment is that I will finally reclaim a large bolus of protected writing time, something that social media has constantly undermined. I would also like to secure more time for pleasure reading and use this blog to post some thoughtful reviews. In fact, I would like to rethink the blog entirely in order to revamp it as a proper author platform that offers more guides and interviews.
To quote Stephen King, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” After years of the peripheral grind, I am finally understanding just how true this is. Marketing is a necessary part of being a successful author, but the return on time investment needs to be substantial.