Recently I have been involved in a book launch (as a co-author) where the publishers employed a marketer, whose expertise was social networks and in particular, on line retail stores. Her particular skills were in making the best use of existing social networking tools and online storefronts to give the book more than a fighting chance of being noticed above the rest. This particular book was something of an oddity as it was more of a compendium of contributions, there being over 37 authors in all.

Social Networking

The potential for making the most of digital marketing tools such as Facebook and Twitter did not escape our expert where detailed instructions of how to ‘like’ and ‘tag’ each other’s comments and articles were sent through. Each author would also have an existing email list so a further output channel was identified and capitalised upon.

As an observer of marketing techniques in this arena there is certainly a methodology emerging and it is not difficult to see where Facebook and Twitter (for example) are looking to add revenue streams to maximise their extensive membership lists.

Maximising Online Storefronts

For this particular publication there were a number of online bookstores that would be handling the sales, primarily, but also a specially created storefront which authors could link to that would provide an affiliate link (and therefore a share in the sale).

Again our advice was to log onto the sites and create tags and other links to ensure the book entered into the top 10 listings for its category during the launch weeks, thereby making it possible to legitimately tag our book a ‘best seller’.

As sites like Amazon are creating an environment that is very similar to the Facebook experience (where reviews can be posted, and products ‘liked’) there does seem to be a crossover appearing in the social aspects of product selling and marketing, particularly where feedback is encouraged. Facebook are also mimicking Amazon with their products pages and marketplace ideas.

Killing the hen that lays the golden egg?

One of the key lessons from the experience was that there is a limit as to how social networking can be used for ‘marketing’ activities. If, for example, I were to receive 10 tweets on the same subject (thinly disguised to make them appear different) how long would it be before I stop following that person or organisation as they are now invading what was my private space? There is a frequently cited digital marketing example ‘Managing Your Social Media ‘Dinner Party’. i.e. you wouldn’t shout at your friends at a dinner party, so why repeatedly push marketing at them on twitter.

How long too before I stop following the same company or individual on Facebook as my daily diet of adverts about a multitude of authors of books I’m unlikely to read has just reached my ‘too many’ threshold?

This experience also links to our earlier blogs about understanding the dynamics of these social channels and being careful to only use them where there is a ‘permission’ that is very quickly removed if organisations overstep that very subtle tolerance line. (see The Rise of Social Commerce: Re-designing the shopping experience)

We must remember that we are moving into people’s ‘personal space’, however public that may seem.