Advice for writers

Can you use social media to increase reader loyalty?

Loyalty us not as easy to define as people think.
 Godf
For me loyalty is a graduated thing. Yes, we can say we have loyal readers, but are we getting the maximum possible level of support from them?
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Are they buying all of our books, visiting our sites regularly and defending and promoting us? Are they as loyal as members of our family?
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If that is our goal, the maximum possible level of commitment, can social media help us to achieve this?
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Here are four ways you can use social media to build reader loyalty:
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1.            Listening and responding to negative sentiment or suggestions posted on all relevant social media channels. People who say negative things about you may have something valid to say. Why not listen to them, examine their issues, and answer them, if you can?
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2.            Ask people to recommend or retweet or re post something from you. People talk about “who promotes you scores” as a key metric for understanding loyalty, but the percentage who are willing to take action to recommend or retweet should be a reliable figure too, as it’s not about stating your intentions, it’s about taking action. People may say they will promote your book, but not actually do it. I suggest actions speak louder than words.
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3.            Offer real value, writing updates, background research  & special offers to people who visit your sites and those who sign up to receive posts or Tweets. By making people feel part of a community in some way you will increase engagement and loyalty. Highly engaged site visitors become advocates too. A high percentage of them will recommend you to others. Your Facebook page can provide special offers and your Twitter & Pinterest posts can show photographs of locations you are using. You can also make these offers and updates local by getting local bookshops to take part in this campaign, so that readers/site visitors build relationships with their nearest physical outlet.
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4.            You can track if readers are happy using social media too. You can do this buy asking them direct questions, via surveys/posts, and by monitoring any replies/posts they create on the subject. This is being proactively interested. You may not incorporate readers ideas in what you write next, but being open to ideas is a good thing. It shows respect for your readers. It also encourages engagement.
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Readers and writers being widely and deeply engaged with each other is probably the key cultural change that social media will bring to the writing process. But such engagement is not unprecedented. Dickens and Wilde both toured and read widely to audiences and experienced high levels of engagement with their readers.
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Engagement is a key metric for social media. How many retweets, posts, photographs and comments people contribute is one measure of engagement. How that compares to your overall number of visitors and followers is another.
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But there are deeper measures of engagement too. How often are people coming back to each social media channel? Are people using many aspects of your social media, for instance are they posting pictures to a Facebook wall?
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Some highly engaged people contribute in a truly significant way to sites, such as editors at Wikipedia, and contributors to self supporting literary forums. Can your site accommodate such highly engaged visitors?
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And do you want such high levels of engagement? It’s up to you to decide.
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Thankfully, you can change your mind too as the social media world develops around us.
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That’s one of the best things about social media. It’s not a world set in stone.
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You can test, retest, and change.
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I welcome any input to this article about using social media to increase reader loyalty.
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To support this site – over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore – please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or The Manhattan Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!
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