Ben Langhinrichs

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June, 2011
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Mon 6 Jun 2011, 10:44 AM
As many of you may know, I released a book last week called Savage Fire. It is available for $2.99 on Amazon and Smashwords, but this post isn't about the book. It's about social media and making your business work well with social media.

The image to the right comes from Twitter. One of my followers/friends on Twitter tweeted the message on top. When I viewed the message in the standard Twitter client ("new Twitter" for those still on "old Twitter"), this is the sidebar that appeared. I was intrigued, because there is a lot to learn from this.

1)  People on Twitter love links, but they may be a bit wary of shortened links which go somewhere unknown. Amazon has worked with bit.ly and other URL shorteners to make it easy to see that this is an Amazon link, just as Planet Lotus uses a known format so that people know when they are clicking on a Planet Lotus listed blog, and Youtube uses a known format. Using a regular bit.ly or other such link makes people who don't know you hesitate to click.  Make it easy to recommend links that people will follow.

2) Amazon has worked hard to make books easy to buy. Whether they worked explicitly with Twitter or simply used the Twitter specs effectively, the link turned into a clean, well-designed advertisement. The advertisement has an image (people like images and videos). It shows user ratings, so that you can  instantly see that the product has a 5 star average. It has snippets from reviews so that you can learn more about the product. All of this appears inside your Twitter client itself, so that you can decide if this is of interest without a single additional click. It also harnesses the power of crowds because most of the information is added by users (ratings and reviews).

3) The advertisement has a "Learn more or buy button." That wording is critical. Amazon wants to make it clear that you can follow the button without committing, which a "Buy now" button would say, but it also makes it clear that you will easily be able to buy the product from where you are going. Make it easy to learn more and easy to buy.

4) In general, people on Twitter follow links, but only when it has a payoff for them. They want to see a funny picture, watch a cool video, read a fascinating blog post. What they don't want to do is go to an advertisement. Yet, if you use the medium cleverly, you can make the payoff for them equivalent to the payoff for you. Book trailers are increasingly popular because they are often fun to watch, but also build interest in the book.

Of course, for me as an author, the best bit about all this is that a) somebody recommended my book, b) the first people reviewing have given it five stars and said interesting things, and c) it is easy for people to see that the book is available, inexpensive and easy to get. I am looking at ways to make buying my software products this easy and clean.

If you are curious what I write about, or want to read the rest of the user reviews about Savage Fire, 

Copyright © 2011 Genii Software Ltd.

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