Bigger Ear Marketing for Authors

Hey, published authors looking for more readers: Want to have some fun? Use FourSquare and Twitter to make a few potential new relationships happen. Here’s what I did:

  1. I searched at search.twitter.com for the following text: “I’m at Barnes & Noble” , which came from a FourSquare check-in.
  2. Here are the results.
  3. I then checked the users’ Twitter profiles to see if my book would make sense to them.
  4. I then tweeted a few people to ask if they saw my book in the marketing section.
  5. Then, a little dialogue, because hey, it’s weird that an author is directing you around a store.

Did I sell a few thousand more books? No. But did I start a story for someone else to tell other people? Yes.

And I did it by growing bigger ears.

This isn’t a very efficient use of your time, but it was fun, and it gives you a new way to think about services like Twitter and FourSquare.

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  • http://www.hanelly.com hanelly

    I think this is a great example of providing a blow-away experience for one person who, as you pointed out, is likely to tell this story several times over to friends. Maybe not the most efficient use of time, as you also pointed out, but not necessarily a waste either. We buy from who we like, and we like who we know. You just introduced yourself – personally – to someone, and increased your odds. Sure, it’s not going to make it rain in a financial sense, but you’ve got another agent working for you on the street now. You probably sold a couple books, too. This is a great *practical* example of how listening can turn into action.

    Sidenote: I do fear this type of thing becoming automated though. Imagine if scripts could comb mentions and potentially send Tweets to people encouraging behavior based on their current location and activity. If enough marketers were doing that, it’d make going to Barnes and Noble a very confusing endeavor.

    • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

      Good point on it becoming automated. I guess some people might try it but like every automated or spammy effort it is up to us to make it lose effectiveness.

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    While in the greater sense this may not seem like the greatest use of time, I’d say you took a very important step in creating a story for your fans. If this had happened to me (oh wait, it did) you can be pretty sure I wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks. Plus if the product that the discussion was around is really great (like trust agents), you’ve inadvertently creating a pretty strong marketing evangelist as well. I believe this is some of the most powerful marketing anyone could do. So many great posts here about story and it’s impact.

  • http://www.startupdaddy.com Ian Gordon

    All ideas don’t need to scale to be great. This is a great use of Location Based Marketing and I thank you for sharing it. I can already think of a number of ways I can put this to use.

  • http://www.WhatDidEricSay.com Eric Miltsch

    Love it Chris.

    Imagine the automated potential when customers are alerted of a special offer (based on their prior choices & interests) via geofencing strategies & having the ability to measure those activities via metrics such as dwell time.

    Delivering relevant consumer offers (spam free mind you) will become so much easier as LBS technology & acceptance matures.

    Great to see you exploring like this.

  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    And to think that the Interwebs was supposed to deliver mass sales at the click of a button :-)

  • http://twitter.com/RW3_RWelch Ray Welch

    A great example of how social media can be used as “marketing” by initiating a conversation. Thanks!

    I recently wrote a post about how the foodservice industry can use social media as a successful lead generation system. Our target market is specific, so our lead generation needs to be specific also. Sites like Yelp! allow you to filter by type and location…it doesn’t get much easier to search for a specific type of customer in a specific area.

    Business should look at social media as a “swiss army knife”…it’s a pretty powerful tool if you use the right application for the right job; if not, it’s just a bulky knife.

    • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

      Ray,

      I have been monitoring for a few clients in the foodservice industry which are located in tourist areas to identify possible leads to turn them into restaurant patrons.

      I have also been able to help a few people traveling to San Juan with their travel plans by monitoring who is visiting Puerto RIco.

      I will search around for your post.

      regards,
      Raul

  • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

    Great example of you “walking your talk,” which becomes the social proof that more easily goes viral (how many marketing cliches can I fit into one sentence?)

    Also, have to say that this is the cutest blog picture -EVER… :-)

  • Jon

    Agreed, not the most efficient use of time. That’s if you compare it to mass syndication strategies which have [potentially] more reach.

    But for up-and-comers this direct approach from using Twitter search to sparking a conversation is insanely valuable. One client at a time; offer them VIP service and your undivided attention then allow goodwill and word-of-mouth to do their thing.

  • Anonymous

    Love this idea! I think the concept can actually be applied to a number of other businesses, and even events. Quick example (if you don’t mind me sharing): The Columbus Marathon is one of my clients. Last year, we hosted a family-friendly running festival. As people checked in on Foursquare, we welcomed them on Twitter. It was an easy opportunity to thank people for coming and to engage them in some quick conversation, while also helping us get other people talking about the event on Twitter. I’d love to see other organizations and businesses use Foursquare as a “welcome, how can we help you?” tool. Riffing off your example, why couldn’t a restaurant tweet a “hey, thanks for checking us out” message to patrons? Or ask what they’re favorite menu item is? Libraries could start a conversation about books with people who check-in. Nonprofits could thank volunteers who check-in. And, so on …

    Thanks for sharing your experience … and for getting the juices flowing this Monday morning! :)

    Heather
    @prTini

  • Anonymous

    Love this idea! I think the concept can actually be applied to a number of other businesses, and even events. Quick example (if you don’t mind me sharing): The Columbus Marathon is one of my clients. Last year, we hosted a family-friendly running festival. As people checked in on Foursquare, we welcomed them on Twitter. It was an easy opportunity to thank people for coming and to engage them in some quick conversation, while also helping us get other people talking about the event on Twitter. I’d love to see other organizations and businesses use Foursquare as a “welcome, how can we help you?” tool. Riffing off your example, why couldn’t a restaurant tweet a “hey, thanks for checking us out” message to patrons? Or ask what they’re favorite menu item is? Libraries could start a conversation about books with people who check-in. Nonprofits could thank volunteers who check-in. And, so on …

    Thanks for sharing your experience … and for getting the juices flowing this Monday morning! :)

    Heather
    @prTini

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Chris,

    That is what makes you different I have been known to buy books from authors who like you are doing the same. Then I also take some time to relay the message to other people and share the awesome story.

    I think these tools are great and underused by most businesses. The other side of the coin is those that are using it to Spam people.

    I remember that while in Miami in checked in on foursquare in Front of the Versace Mansion minutes later they had tweeted me and invited me to visit them in a very cordial way.

    I have been playing with other ways to identify opportunities without being intrusive your example is a good one.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Well played. That just gave me a few ideas.

  • http://www.paulstoltzfus.com/ Paul Stoltzfus

    Wow. What a great idea!

  • Anonymous

    Great photo. Photos are underestimated in the blog medium, dramatically so.

    • http://jasonbarone.com Jason Barone

      Hah, I agree. The photo caught my attention more than anything. Great job Chris!

  • Anonymous

    Very much agree with “This isn’t a very efficient use of your time,” but for anyone with some spare time still looking for new ways to market, it’s definitely an avenue worth exploring. The potential buyer–a social media-savvy shopper at B&N–is such a great opportunity and at the least, you imprint them with your name/brand, even if they don’t buy your book.

  • http://www.smithandjonesadvertising.com Alyson

    What a great way to build relationships with potential readers/customers/clients – The great thing about Twitter is that it is instant and something like this, while small, has the potential for a huge ripple effect.

    Great idea, thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/livinginNM Tiffany Etterling

    Great thinking outside of the box! I love the creativity, but I agree with some others. This is probably not worth the time it would take for my business (real estate). I did a couple of sample searches that might apply to my potential customer and didn’t find one person that looked like they’d fit our demographic. It would probably take me hours of searching to find one person to communicate with. Too bad. Sounds like a fun way to engage.

  • http://twitter.com/livinginNM Tiffany Etterling

    Great thinking outside of the box! I love the creativity, but I agree with some others. This is probably not worth the time it would take for my business (real estate). I did a couple of sample searches that might apply to my potential customer and didn’t find one person that looked like they’d fit our demographic. It would probably take me hours of searching to find one person to communicate with. Too bad. Sounds like a fun way to engage.

  • http://www.workingnaked.com Lisa Kanarek

    That’s a great tip! Usually I get annoyed when people tweet where they are but now I see it as a good marketing vehicle. I can definitely see it taking a lot of time but using it every once in awhile is a good idea.

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  • DaraBell

    Hi Chris,

    I love this idea. it is like realtime sales from the author. I imagine it might work really great for a new book like Guy Kawaskis Enchantment or other. Your in the store on Verizin or At&t (I am a bit geeked up from reading about mobile) Iphone and then you get a real time Tweet from the author. That would floor you! Spin you out!

    How much is that going to change your day. I think location hasn’t been used in this way either. Think about what the location gives away you too. Barnes and Noble implies something. It says they have the money to get it there not from Amazon. It says the user is educated and its says perhaps socially is open enjoys a social experience like that. There is no permission but there are certain mental barriers that make it more acceptabel than texting someone, they bought into a culture a more social way of living by using Twitter. They are on Twitter and Foursquare.

    Great idea. Love the innovation

    Dara

  • DaraBell

    Hi Chris,

    I love this idea. it is like realtime sales from the author. I imagine it might work really great for a new book like Guy Kawaskis Enchantment or other. Your in the store on Verizin or At&t (I am a bit geeked up from reading about mobile) Iphone and then you get a real time Tweet from the author. That would floor you! Spin you out!

    How much is that going to change your day. I think location hasn’t been used in this way either. Think about what the location gives away you too. Barnes and Noble implies something. It says they have the money to get it there not from Amazon. It says the user is educated and its says perhaps socially is open enjoys a social experience like that. There is no permission but there are certain mental barriers that make it more acceptabel than texting someone, they bought into a culture a more social way of living by using Twitter. They are on Twitter and Foursquare.

    Great idea. Love the innovation

    Dara

  • DaraBell

    Afterthought
    Glad people are trying out this stuff out not jumping to new tools. Testing the platforms! London is going potty over Quora.

  • DaraBell

    Afterthought
    Glad people are trying out this stuff out not jumping to new tools. Testing the platforms! London is going potty over Quora.

  • http://www.pulseuniform.com/nursing-scrubs.asp scrubs free shipping

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for this info. I’m particular with the effect of Twitter but FourSquare is a new site for my ear. Indeed, I’m thankful that I stumbled on your blog.

    • http://www.rsacourseinfo.com Rsa course

      Foursquare has been on of the most viral website over the web for quite a while. Like you my interest was quite stirred up considering the effects of the use of twitter and foursquare. But anyhow, I hope I can get a word from many gurus out there about some facts on how to exploit the services of these two webs… :)

  • http://www.pulseuniform.com/nursing-scrubs.asp scrubs free shipping

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for this info. I’m particular with the effect of Twitter but FourSquare is a new site for my ear. Indeed, I’m thankful that I stumbled on your blog.

  • http://www.twitter.com/unmarketing unmarketing

    “But did I start a story for someone else to tell other people? Yes. ”

    This.

    That is worth your time. It isn’t the one potential transaction. It’s being one of the first in an industry to do it.

    Once every author starts jumping at B&N Foursquare check-ins with “OMG!!! BUY MY BOOK! LOLz!” the story will be told. And then I will again fear for humanity

  • http://www.twitter.com/unmarketing unmarketing

    “But did I start a story for someone else to tell other people? Yes. ”

    This.

    That is worth your time. It isn’t the one potential transaction. It’s being one of the first in an industry to do it.

    Once every author starts jumping at B&N Foursquare check-ins with “OMG!!! BUY MY BOOK! LOLz!” the story will be told. And then I will again fear for humanity

  • http://twitter.com/phdinparenting phdinparenting

    Because I know and follow you, I wouldn’t be annoyed or freaked out by a suggestion from you. However, I receive sometimes dozens of “spam” tweets each day from people I’ve never heard of who are trying to sell something and decided to target me either because I tweeted something that they thought made me a good candidate for whatever they are selling. Personally, I hate those intrusions. If they decide to follow me and converse with me, fine. But if their first tweet is “hey, you might be interested in….” then they get flagged for spam and blocked.

  • http://twitter.com/live_alpharetta sabine taylor

    Chris,
    Like PHDinparenting intrusions by you are good because you take the time to response to people…..and that is good for conversation. I think that many business want to know how to use LBS in their business so what you did can give us some ideas to build on. Thanks

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  • Dshane

    OMG, the power of reaching across the computer, your Twitter/FB/LI is more than amazing! Thanks Chris for reminding us that these platforms are a bridge to real, live people, conversations and voice to voice or face to face connections. I am actively engaged in planning how to leverage my social networks for PR and find like minded people going through or already in career change, reinvention and transition. It works!!

  • Dshane

    OMG, the power of reaching across the computer, your Twitter/FB/LI is more than amazing! Thanks Chris for reminding us that these platforms are a bridge to real, live people, conversations and voice to voice or face to face connections. I am actively engaged in planning how to leverage my social networks for PR and find like minded people going through or already in career change, reinvention and transition. It works!!

  • Dshane

    OMG, the power of reaching across the computer, your Twitter/FB/LI is more than amazing! Thanks Chris for reminding us that these platforms are a bridge to real, live people, conversations and voice to voice or face to face connections. I am actively engaged in planning how to leverage my social networks for PR and find like minded people going through or already in career change, reinvention and transition. It works!!

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  • Kketin_kd

    I am actively engaged in planning how to leverage my social networks for PR and find like minded people going through or already in career change, reinvention and transition. It works!!

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