Although most of us use the terms interchangeably, there is a difference between social media and social networking. For me, understanding the distinctions was a big aha moment. To develop a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy, it is helpful (even crucial) to understand the differences.
Social media is the media (content) that you upload -- whether that's a blog, video, slideshow, podcast, newsletter or an eBook. Consider social media as a one-to-many communication method. Although people can respond and comment, you own the content and have to produce (write/record/create) the media yourself.
Your social media goal and strategy: Decide if you want to connect with your audience in the form of a blog, video, newsletter, podcast or eBook. Blogs are a great way to get started, particularly if you are a non-fiction author as you already have your book to re-purpose content into a blog or to use your book as an idea generator for your blogs. Or you can create blogs from scratch that eventually can be the framework for your next book. Blogs help brand authors, increase exposure, and can easily be shared, helping consistently to increase your following and enhance your promotional efforts. Plus, you can always include links in your blog directly to your book, driving traffic to your book.
Once you decide what media you are going to use, begin with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage with your audience. Having a Facebook business page for you and your brand is essential because, as you know, people on Facebook read books and will tell their friends and colleagues about your book. Facebook and Twitter also provide you with numerous opportunities to connect with your prospective audience through web links, posts, news stories, notes, photo sharing, blog posts, direct messages, questions and comments. Eventually you may want to branch out with other social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Social networking is all about engagement -- creating relationships, communicating with your readers, building your following and connecting with your online audience. If you treat social networking like social media, you will come off as someone using a bullhorn. It's important to listen as much as talk with social networking.
Your social networking goal and strategy: Your social networking goal is to interact, converse and create conversation: search conversations, begin new conversations, set alerts to monitor your name, find new ways to connect. Realize social networking is a marathon and not a race as it will take time to build relationships and grow your following. Work for buzz and excitement on your book, product or service. Remember that people naturally gravitate towards people who they find relatable and who have similar experiences and interests. Investing in relationships can build loyal fans.
There is some overlap and integration with social media and social networking. Social media experts at SocialMediaExaminer.com, say that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are whole package platforms -- and are considered both social media (tools) and social networking (a way to engage). YouTube, on the other hand, is a tool for video, so it's social media. Chatting with other colleagues on LinkedIn? That's social networking. Both work together for your overall social media strategy.
To develop your digital strategy, decide what types of media you want to create and use social networking to build up your following so you can brand yourself as an author.
Once you successfully have your social media and social networking strategies working in harmony, you will be more connected with your audience and be able to more effectively promote not only your books, but also your apps, conferences, videos, webinars, websites and more. You will be actively increasing the value of your personal brand as an author, and reaching the right people with your unique message.
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.