Social media marketing (SMM) is becoming an art of its own. Marketing departments are hiring specialists in the area as they start to realise the importance.
As an author, you want to be advertising yourself as much as you can. With a low budget, the traditional methods (TV, radio and newspaper) are out of the question. Many authors have already dabbed their hand in SMM whilst some are wary. For those who are looking to utilise this marketing tool, there are three myths you must know about.
 It’s free. Whilst it’s free to open an account, I’m afraid if you want to use SMM to its full advantage, you’re going to have to cough up some cash. Don’t feel disheartened though as you don’t have to spend a lot. Some authors spend money on promoting their accounts with the view to gain followers. My recommendation is to increase your following by competitions/freebies. The prize could be anything literary-related, and to enter people have to follow you through one of the networks.
Example: You run a Twitter campaign competition. The prize is a £50 Amazon gift card. To enter, participants must follow your account and retweet. If you get 100 new followers from the competition that you can now promote to for ‘free’ via normal tweets, you have paid 50p per follower. With your new access, you can turn those new followers into customers. The more followers you gain, the cheaper each one becomes.
 It increases sales. A sucker punch to some: there is no clear evidence that SMM increases sales. Many of the bursts in sales are in conjunction with other marketing and PR activities, such as book launches and interviews.
So, what’s the point? SMM is about brand exposure. It’s about people seeing your book, not buying. In theory, the more people that see your book, the higher chance your sales increase. SMM is there to assist with other marketing and PR activities. It can help increase the exposure of the book launch, for example. As more people will turn up, you may sell more books.
 There’s one way to use it. The previous two myths have probably erased the credibility of any success story you have read. Most of these stories share their methods and the whole world jumps on board. Whilst we have debunked that SMM increases sales, it doesn’t mean the stories’ methods are wrong. The truth is: there’s more than one way to use SMM.
It’s a given that every author will use it to increase sales. Some will use it for branding via blogging, whilst others will use it to create affiliates (people who love your book so much, they’ll advertise it without realising!). With these three myths debunked, you can start to plan your SMM campaigns without making the common mistakes. Remember that when writing your content, target the audience. As an author, you should already know who they are.