Analytics helps you to understand the demographics of their following as well as pinpoint the types of messages that resonate with your connections, friends, fans and followers. In other words, your readers and colleagues.
There’s no point in trying to grow a large following if your readers aren’t engaged with you as an author and the books you write. Analytics helps you to understand members of your audience and learn more about them so that you can enhance engagement on your social media profiles.
There are numerous applications on the market that can help you to determine what to post and when to post. In my most recent book, Avoid Social Media Time Suck, I list 30 applications – most of which are available for free – that anyone using social media can use.The list includes free analytics through Facebook Insights, Twitter, Pinterest business accounts and Google Analytics.
Now there’s a new metrics program that is designed specifically for authors and over time will provide analytics for a range of social media networks on one simple dashboard. This new application is appropriately called AuthorRise and at least while it’s in Beta it’s free to use.
AuthorRise Targets Metrics for Writers
The mission of AuthorRise is to “create the tools that help you grow your audience and sell more books” by providing a one-stop analytics platform.
In addition, AuthorRise was designed to help authors create and publish content to multiple social media sites – not something I advocate.
I’m a strong believer that each social media network has a distinctive voice. For example, you wouldn’t want to auto-post a tweet to LinkedIn because LinkedIn has a more generous character length and doesn’t use Twitter handles.
Similarly, tweets auto-posted to Facebook lack authenticity. And you wouldn’t want to auto-post from Facebook to LinkedIn because images you might share on Facebook wouldn’t be appropriate on this platform for professionals.
Besides, there are plenty of applications, such as Hootsuite and SocialOomph, which enable you to post on multiple sites using unique messages for each social media network.
What I like about AuthorRise is that it tracks sales, and its sales numbers that are related to Twitter are updated hourly. No other program that I’m aware of does that.
Getting Started with AuthorRise
To get started, you need a Twitter account and an Amazon Author Central account. If you don’t have a Twitter account, go www.Twitter.com and sign up. Likewise, if you don’t have an Amazon Author Central account, navigate to this URL: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/.
Once you’ve completed those tasks, click the sign-up button on AuthorRise.com.
- Sign up using an email address and a password.
- Click the confirmation link sent to your designated email address.
- Connect your Twitter account.
- Connect your Amazon Author Page.
Once you complete the import process for your Twitter account and books, you will navigate to your dashboard. From there, you’ll see a set of icons at the top. The one that looks like a paper airplane is the “flyer” tool, and the one that looks like a little chart is the analytics dashboard.
In this example below, AuthorRise compares activity on Twitter with your rank on Amazon.
Create Flyers and Track Their Analytics
The flyer tool is – how should I say this? – awesome.
Flyers are designed to help you leverage your blog posts and articles. You can include a link to an article or blog post you recently write along with the first few sentences, and add the cover of your book and a link to Amazon. Here is an example of a completed flyer:
The flyers will show up as Twitter Cards (an image that appears below your tweet that’s visible on your timeline) on Twitter, and you can share the URL to your unique flyer on other social media networks that you like to use.
In addition, AuthorRise provides analytics on your flyers that will indicate whether the flyer resulted in book sales as well as the number of people who opened the flyer and whether your flyer performed better on Facebook or Twitter.
Interview with AuthorRise CEO Chris Weber
I recently had the opportunity to interview the CEO of AuthorRise, Chris Weber, and here’s what he had to say:
Frances Caballo: Please discuss why analytics is important for authors to track.
Chris Weber: Authors used to be able to count on publishers to take care of the marketing and sales side of the business for them, but today even traditionally published authors can’t afford to ignore that stuff.
Now, authors have to think of themselves as small business owners. And there isn’t a successful business out there that doesn’t track its performance – whether that’s through sales, audience growth or comparative measures.
But tracking analytics doesn’t just mean tracking one thing. I think where a lot of people stumble is in focusing on a single metric like “follower count.” The number itself doesn’t mean much unless you can do something with it. What’s better: having a lot of followers who don’t buy your books, or fewer followers who buy everything you write? If you don’t know where your sale is coming from, then it’s almost impossible to get better at marketing because you don’t know where to direct your efforts.
We’re building a service that can help authors use information to grow their business on a long-term basis. Analytics is a cornerstone for that.
Frances: How does AuthorRise show than an author’s social media marketing is having any effect on book sales?
Chris: Right now, we simply show key social media and sales information in one place. So now you can see when you have a jump in your book’s best-seller rank on Amazon, and check to see if there was any corresponding activity on Twitter. There won’t always be a connection, but when there is, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why did this work better than other things I’ve done?” It’s a very basic tool, but amazingly, there’s no service that takes even that first step.
And we’re just getting started! We’ve also created a new feature called a “Flyer.” We’ve noticed that people love to share things that authors have written on social media but that by the time it gets out into the world, it’s often disconnected from its context. When authors create Flyers, their writing is directly linked to their books and their bios. Readers can go straight from reading to purchasing.
In addition, Flyers let us show authors exactly when they got a sale, which Flyer led to that sale, and which social network is giving the best bang for the buck. I don’t claim to be a guru that will teach you the “secret.” Anyone who does is a huckster. What AuthorRise can do is help to foster a mindset of curiosity, testing and learning.
Frances: Why did you start with Twitter instead of say, Facebook?
Chris: Well, we started with both Twitter and Facebook, but as we built our online presence, it became clear very quickly that Twitter was the right place to start. Twitter has a more active community in many ways because it’s easier to engage with people. On Facebook, even if you run paid ads, the number of people who engage with you just doesn’t compare to that of Twitter. The signal-to-noise ratio on Facebook is tough, especially if you’re not a big company or a major influencer.
Frances: Which platforms will you eventually include, and at what pace? Do you have a schedule?
Chris: Right now we have Twitter and Amazon analytics running, but we’d like to be able to help authors succeed on all of their platforms, especially because the more complete our information is, the better an author can use it. So that’ll include Facebook and the other social networks (Pinterest is surprisingly popular with authors), blogging sites like WordPress and other sales channels like Barnes and Noble and other smaller stores.
Right now we’re just a few people running at breakneck speed, so the limiting factor is mostly just how much work we can do in a day. That being said; we have some exciting tools in the pipeline that will be popping up in the next few months.
Frances: How many people are you accepting into the Beta phase? How long will the Beta phase last?
Chris: Beta for us means two things: that it’s free and that it’s a work in progress. So right now, anyone who comes to our page and signs up can join for free, and we’ll keep it that way until we start adding a bunch more services for authors. At that time, we’ll keep a core set of tools to help authors succeed free, but our more data-intensive features may require a premium.
More importantly than cost, Beta for us – and the hundreds of authors who have joined AuthorRise already – signifies an approach. We use Beta to signal that AuthorRise is a work in progress, where collaboration and feedback from authors is not only welcome but also essential to our success. We release features before they’re completely polished in the hope that a curious author will give it a try and then let us know how to make it perfect. I think it makes for a more valuable service, and I love hearing from our authors. Talking to them is the best part of my job.
Frances: Into the future, what do you hope to accomplish with AuthorRise?
Chris: I have so much admiration for people who are willing to put themselves out into the world. The creative task alone is immense, and that doesn’t even take into account the job of putting books into readers’ hands! We can’t help with the creative side, but we can help with the business. Our ultimate achievement will be if we can build something that helps these fantastic people build successful businesses around their art. I want authors to know their own business inside and out. I want them to feel equipped to grow their audience without wasting a ton of time and effort on things that don’t work, and naturally I want AuthorRise to be at the center of helping to drive that growth. To paraphrase what we say on our homepage: writing books is really hard – our goal is to make the business of being an author a little bit easier.
Frances Caballo is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. She is also an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. Click here to receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers.
You can learn more about Frances and how to connect with her here.
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