There are many things we as authors can learn from other businesses and industries and apply their methods into our author platform to generate our own success. Today, I’m going to be taking a look at Warby Parker, an eyeglasses company, and how they used social media to communicate with their customers, reduce customer dissonance and create brand loyalty.
First things first, in 2010 a few friends decided they were unhappy with the way eyeglasses were being sold, the options available to customers, and high costs of lenses and frame.
Convinced they could do it better, Warby Parker was born with a small seed investment of $2500. Unlike other retailers, Warby Parker focused on online distribution alone, which drastically lowered the price of the eyeglasses.
Today, Warby Parker has sold more the 500,000 pairs of glasses and has over 100 employees.
Use technology to engage your reader and make the exchange feel more personalized. By listening to your audience, you can better serve them.
Similarly, Warby Parker listened to their target audience when they first launched. Their customers were concerned about purchasing eyeglasses through an online distributor. Their customers didn’t feel as if they could trust the transaction, especially since they were familiar with being able to try on pairs of glasses before purchasing them. To help their customers feel at ease, Warby Parker launched an innovative “Home Try-On Campaign”. Now customers could pick up to five pairs of eyeglasses, have them shipped to their home, try them on, and return the ones they didn’t like.
Authors are harnessing this same business model online by offering sample chapters to readers before purchase or by offering the first book in a series for free or at a reduced rate.
Tip: Make this exchange feel more personal by using technology and social media to engage your audience. Capitalize on free-shipping models to limit your customers’ risk in buying or trying your product.
Create Community to Create Loyalty
Encourage transactional communication with consistent responses to reader comments on your social media platforms.
Warby Parker regularly prompted customers to participate in their social media networks. They encouraged customers to take pictures of themselves the eyeglasses and post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The “Home Try-On Campaign” also encouraged customers to share the purchase on their personal social networks.
Readers are more likely to trust their friends and family within their own personal network. This communication between individuals that the reader already knows is likely to reduce potential dissonance with your book.
Warby Parker learned that customers who posted photos of themselves in frames were twice as likely to buy them.
Takeaway: encourage your readers to take pictures of themselves with your book. Engage with your readers via Instagram and bookstagram. Prompt your readers to share their positive reviews of your book with their friends, both online via their social accounts and in person.
Use your social media outlets as a resource to listen closely to what your readers care about and offer those solutions. This tactic proved effective for Warby Parker. They used social media to listen in on what challenges their customer was having with the traditional eyeglass market and began to create informative YouTube videos to help address those problems.
As authors, you can do the same. Listen to your audience and understand what challenges your audience is facing within the market they love to read in. Explore the development of media that addresses those concerns, or generates discussion on those topics and you will have created a meaningful and personal place where your reader feels seen and heard. This kind of transaction direct communication leads to brand loyalty.
Stand for Something Good
Incorporate a socially conscious business strategy into your author platform.
Warby Parker teams up with VisionSpring to provide a pair of eyeglasses for a person in need for every pair of Warby Parker glasses that a consumer purchases. To date, Warby Parker has given away 500,000 pairs of eyeglasses.
Doing good things makes people feel good. Marketing for social causes is a smart business strategy, no matter how big or small your author platform is.
Find a social cause that pairs up with your platform and create a strategy that makes sense to your business model. That could look like a variety of things, from a YA novel about mental health and for every book sold, a $1 goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention—to a dedicated campaign raising funds.
Social Media and You
At the end of the day, every author and their individual author platform will be different. How you choose to engage with your audience and the strategies you implement are up to you. If you keep your target audience in mind and remember the joy on your reader’s face when they read your stories, that alone will surely guide you on the right path towards navigating the right social media strategy that works best for you.
What social media strategies have you seen your favorite authors use to engage with you? Can you see yourself adapting those strategies and incorporating them into your own business model?
I’ll see you again for my next post!
Keep Reading and Keep Writing,