Cindy shares real-time, tested, social media strategy advice from that you can implement now!
Cindy Ratzlaff the “Queen of Brand New, Brand You” has worked with hundreds of authors and developed the campaigns behind more than 200 New York Times bestselling books. She is a fantastic keynote speaker and marketing strategist, who has created award-winning marketing campaigns for publishers, authors, entrepreneurs, and businesses for her entire career. I’ve long admired her work and her Book Expo speeches, so I knew it would be fun (and it was!) to talk about what new strategies and trends she recommends for clients now.
So what is the biggest game-changer that you’ve seen for authors? What’s changed in social for your clients?
Just recently there was a big change on Facebook with their algorithm. Here’s what I tell people, “Take a deep breath. Facebook changes things all the time.” If you’ve seen your reach diminish with the changes there are a few things you can do to get those numbers back up. We may never see the reach we used to have, but it’s still a remarkable (free) way to reach your audience without advertising.
Today Facebook cares about comments and conversation on your posts.
This is how I do it: I will post something about my personal experience; sharing that I’ve found when I use video my reach is better. Then I’ll incorporate a “call to action” to engage in an authentic conversation. I might say something like “have you noticed the same sort of results with video?”
I am always mindful about serving my audience as well – so I’ll always add that I’m happy to share tips, provide feedback or answer any questions around what the post references.
(Minute 8:50) Cindy shares her specific example of how she saw her reach go from 5000+ likes to less than 1000+ and how she used her conversation strategy to see them go back up. It’s a great real-life example.
(Minute 12:30) How to get the most from boosting a post to reignite your audience engagement.
What is your favorite social media platform? I realize it may differ for yourself and what you might recommend for clients but what do you like most, and why?
I started on Twitter before Facebook and it’s still my favorite platform. I use it more for news and information gathering rather than promoting things. I have lists that I check so I can see what type of information my favorite authors, or journalists or influencers are sharing and decide if I want to check it out, comment or share it.
It’s almost become a trend finder for me, and a place to keep tabs on breaking news. I want to be mindful of what’s happening. I’m don’t want to be promoting a new program if there’s something cataclysmic going on in the world.
Let’s talk about Instagram. Writers sometimes don’t understand why or how that platform can help them and I know you have some thoughts about that. How do you use it?
Instagram is changing, too. They are encouraging people to turn their accounts into business accounts. That will give you access to some new tools that are in the works that will allow you to be able to sell with one click from Instagram.
For my site, Instagram and Pinterest are my two biggest sources of referral traffic. Instagram surpassed Facebook when they made the recent changes.
Instagram gives your followers a great behind-the-scenes look that people find interesting. It also helps people feel like they know you, because they’ve seen photos of your dog, your home, things you like to eat. It’s an intimate way to create real connection.
Instagram lets you invite your fans into a world with you.
What are you doing differently?
We are seeing new social norms. While social media allows for great authenticity, there is also the chance that you may mis-speak or offend people with a phrase that wasn’t intended to be offensive.
I now see that leaders on social media (authors, thought leaders, influencers) have a chance to calm the conversation and create a safe space for others. We can give people what they want; helpful, meaningful information, and curate the conversation, as well. That may also mean blocking people who have a different agenda than you do. That’s part of being on social media today and that’s new. I have not had to do that in the past.
What are your secrets for connecting with your tribe? What do you do to support your authentic approach to engagement?
I post on Facebook every morning at 6:00 AM Eastern time and have “conversations” with my followers until 7:00 AM. A few have been “chatting” with me for so long that I can ask about them specific things in their life. I always reply to comments using their name, acknowledging them personally, anytime I comment or reply to someone who has taken time to engage. It’s important to acknowledge them as a person.
My page is about happiness, and there are people who come there because they need “some happy” in their life. I really want them to get what they need, and feel good about that.
At the end of the day, your audience also wants to be seen and heard.
(Minute 34:00) LinkedIn Publishing Strategy
You can put a long-form post on their publishing network, and if they like it, they may share it with their “weekend reads” section which reaches 8 or 9 million people. It must be 1000 words or more. If you have something interesting to say putting it on that platform is a good way to potentially be seen by millions.
If your audience is on LinkedIn and you feel like you are fighting to be seen on Facebook, posting articles there may be a better option.
Let’s talk about stats. I know we both agree that it’s about “quality over quantity”. But authors looking to be published tell me the first question that they get when shopping their books around to publishing houses is “how big is your platform”? How do you address that?
Publishers want to see that you have a following—but there are more ways to demonstrate that than your number of Facebook or Instagram followers.
Think of other ways to do that. Here are some ideas:
- Do a blog tour. If you’ve been interviewed by 15 bloggers in the past year, those posts live on forever and you can show them that reach. Show them how you can do that again – list new contacts and demonstrate the reach they have.
- Podcasts give you the same opportunity and publishers are paying attention to that right now (either as a guest or by doing your own podcast, to gain reach).
- Publishers like knowing that you already have 500 books sold. What corporate contacts can you reach out to for commitments to buy your book for employees or clients?
- Speaking engagements and their reach can demonstrate your platform too.
These strategies make publishers take notice because they’ll see that you are motivated, and you understand how to engage your audience so that they’ll be eager to buy your book. Again, social media stats alone don’t always translate into book sales.
What do you think about the trend to messenger, bots and text messages instead of email. What advice are you giving?
As a consumer, I have signed up to get text messages from companies that I buy from often. They send a text occasionally when they have a sale, and I’m fine with that. I have also received unsolicited messages from other Facebook pages I follow, and my response was to unfollow them.
Because it’s a one-way form of communication, I feel that it’s going to have limited effectiveness. For some, it may be their preferred way to get their weekly tips or sale notifications. It all comes down to knowing your audience, what they want, and how they want to receive it.
What’s next for you? What do you do when you aren’t engaging on Facebook or helping your clients?
I’m focusing more on speaking these days, and that’s going well. I’ve also been traveling a lot, and when I travel, I unplug. I want to be with the people I’m with as part of my travel experience.
Where can people find you and stay in touch with you?