Social Media for Authors: The Funnel

The funnel is the most important concept in using social media. It’s the endgame. The funnel is how you obtain permission to directly contact your fans. It refers to the process of using social media to connect with your target audience, then draw them closer to you with great content that adds value (I’ll talk about that in my next post in this series) so that they want to give you their email list.

“Email? Isn’t that passe? I thought the whole point of social media was to get beyond email lists!”

You want email addresses. Why?

  1. Remember MySpace? Social media platforms go in and out of style. If someone loses interest in Facebook (or wherever) or the platform goes belly-up, you’ve lost contact.
  2.  Just because you’re in contact with someone on one of the platforms is no guarantee they’ll see your posts. The popularity of social media sites is also it’s biggest flaw. Feeds can become so crowded, posts spin by at the speed of light or they never show on feeds at all.
  3. Even the social media platforms have discovered they need email to keep members engaged. Which is why they send out notices for every little thing to their members.
  4. People check their email multiple times a day. It’s guaranteed they’ll see anything that winds up in their inbox.
  5. Even if they don’t open your email, they’ve seen your name and that keeps you in their mind. I may only open my LLBean emails a couple times a year, but seeing the name on a regular basis reminds me that I like to shop there.

It works like this: You connect with people via social media. You post new content from your web-site regularly (blogs are great for this). People go to your site to see this content. You have a prominent offer of special content if they sign up on your email list, including a specific (and attractive) gift for signing up, Then you keep that permission by sending out some form of relevant content once or twice a month (or even more often) .

I know this sounds a bit cold blooded. If you set it up properly, it’s an organic means to connect with the people who are most interested in what you have to share, and stay connected with them.

MailChimp is an excellent email service that allows you 2,000 subscribers free, with some limitations. You get great stats so you see who is opening your mail and clicking your links.  They have great tutorials. You cannot get the auto-responder with the free account, but the paid accounts start at $10 per month, if you want to go that route.

The key to all of this, the key to keeping this manageable for you and attractive to your target audience, is content. I’ll talk about that in my next post in this series.

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