Develop the mindset and attitude you need for social media success. Melanie Herschorn started her career in journalism, working at a newspaper and radio station but got laid off when she got pregnant. She then had the idea of designing and manufacturing breastfeeding clothing but had to shut it down because it made her miserable. That’s where she decided to focus on helping people, especially authors, with their marketing. Melanie Herschorn has extensive knowledge about the process of starting a business from scratch, curating the best digital marketing content for your niche, and creating effective writing to attract your ideal customer. Tune in to know how to promote and effectively market your business online.
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The Mindset And Attitude You Need For Social Media Success With Melanie Herschorn
We are going to be talking about a challenge that every author faces which is once my book is out, how on earth do I promote it? I found that this is a challenge for every type of author regardless of what subject matter they are writing. Whether they self-publish or traditionally publish, everyone is confronting this question, struggling and feeling frustrated with it.
I have invited Melanie Herschorn to join us. She has extensive knowledge about the process of starting a business from scratch, as well as curating the best digital marketing content for your niche and effective creative writing to attract your ideal customer, also known as the ideal reader. She has been a small business owner herself for several years.
She provides her clients with the guidance and encouragement that they needed to succeed while growing their presence online and creating engagement with potential readers and customers. She had an award-winning maternity clothing line. Those designs were sold on Nordstrom.com, as well as at other retailers nationwide. She did all of her own marketing for that business. She has also worked as a print, radio and TV journalist, as well as a PR specialist in Hollywood.
She has won numerous journalism awards and has received her Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California. Melanie lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, daughter and son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Marty McDog. Enjoy this interview. I hope that you’ll glean some insights on not only what to do, but the mindset and attitude that you can bring to grow your social media presence and help you get better results.
Melanie, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much, Robin. I’m happy to be here.
I am happy to have you here. You’re aware that it’s one thing to get a book written and it’s another thing to get a book published. The place where many authors fell or dropped into the chasm of nothingness, they were free-falling into nothingness and confusion, is this last piece of book promotion. I’d love to have you share with us a little bit about how you got involved in promoting books and your philosophy on the approach that you particularly embraced. First of all, how did you even get going in this?
It was not a very linear thing. I started out in PR and I learned a lot, and then I left when a certain red-headed comedian told me off on my birthday twice. I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.” It was then that I decided that journalism was going to be my route. I know that you and I have that in common, which is fun. I worked at a newspaper, got a Master’s in Journalism, worked at a radio station in news, then I got laid off when I was pregnant. My entire world turned upside down because I went, “If I’m not a journalist, what am I?” I had this idea to design and manufacture breastfeeding clothing.
My path also had many detours. I can relate to what you are unpacking here. That is a big deal. Anyone who’s breastfed a child would immediately understand why this would be valuable and useful.
I saw a need and I’d always had this entrepreneurial spirit, but I’d never been able to test it out. My family is all “professionals.” If you don’t go and somebody pays you, that’s not a job. I did that for seven years. I sold my clothes on Amazon and boutiques across North America and Nordstrom’s website as well. It sounds great. It was a lot of work. I loved it because it was my baby. I then hired somebody to help me with my marketing and it all went downhill. I had been doing my own marketing but I thought, “I’m going to hire an expert.”Helping people with their marketing strategies is such a rewarding thing. Click To Tweet
This woman was emotionally and verbally abusive to me. I was telling this story to somebody because there’s a lot that I don’t talk about. There were a lot of mind games. Even though I knew what was going on, I couldn’t seem to extricate myself from it no matter what I tried. It’s not that I was under her spell or anything. It’s just that I couldn’t get out. I was afraid that if I did, she would try to ruin me online.
By the end, I felt like I was an inch tall that I couldn’t do any of my own marketing. I wasn’t smart enough as she had been telling me. I shut the business and I thought, “I’m going to do something else because this is making me miserable.” I couldn’t even open the door to my home office because it was miserable to even go in there and confront the business at all.
I decided, “What can I do? I can help people with their marketing so that they never feel as awful as I feel right now.” I had learned a lot as I worked with that woman, plus all the things I had done in my previous careers. I started helping people with their marketing. It’s such a rewarding thing, then authors started coming to me. It was like the universe was hitting me over the head with a baseball bat going, “You can help authors. They need your help,” because I have been like, “Who can I help?”
Marketing can be quite broad. Everybody needs marketing. You’re talking about trying to decide who’s going to be your niche or the people that you most want to help.
It’s niching down to, “Who I can help with their online marketing?” It made so much sense because authors need what I like to call a VIP platform online so that when somebody goes to Instagram or LinkedIn, they don’t just see an empty picture or pictures of spaghetti or their grandkids. That’s not what you should be putting out online if you want to step into thought leadership, which is what authors I work with want. They have written a book. As you know, when you write a book, you’re birthing a baby, but then if you don’t raise the baby, the baby doesn’t make it. We’re not snakes. We raise our young. Don’t slither away from your book.
I’m helping authors to continue to nurture their platforms so that their books can stay front and center, and so that they can stay front and center. You asked me what I ascribed to. A lot of times people will say, “I’m just going to hire a publicist.” That’s great. You should hire a publicist. If you go on the Today show and all you’re offering is a web address or your email, do you think anybody is going to go to it and buy your book? I’m going to go with a zero percent chance because people don’t buy the minute they find out about something. They need a lot of touchpoints.
They are going to be lurking and checking out your Instagram. They are going to see, “Is this person legit? What else have they done? Why are they an expert?” What I help authors do is create that online persona so that when people want to come and buy their book, they learn about them and they join their customer journey. We’re here to make money. You might have written the book because you were called to do it, but at the end of the day, is it just for that? Probably not.
Say more about that. There’s a misconception that a lot of people who haven’t written a book yet have. They are still thinking that they’re going to get their ROI out of selling books, but I’ll let you take it from here.
It’s true. There’s a list of eight, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Stephen King, that’s it. Those are the people that make lots of money with their books. The rest of the world uses and leverages their books to make money. I have a client that I finished working with. She’s a hypno-fertility specialist, which is amazing. She helps women get and stay pregnant.
We use one of her books as her lead magnet. We’re giving the book away for free. When people read that book, they go, “I need to work with you.” You have to break away from that mindset of, “Go to sell the book and that’s it.” There’s more to it. You can take that book and create a TEDx Talk from it, or create a course online based right on your book. You’ve got to market all that stuff so people know about it.
That’s where that online presence does not only bring people’s awareness to the book, but to the other offerings which is where you’re going to see the ROI. What are some of the core principles that you have around? You’re focused on the online marketing aspect. Do you have any core principles or anything that you would apply to any author situation in general as far as how to effectively market themselves online?
Yes, there are core principles. You have to be there front and center. You cannot hide behind your book cover. I had a client who couldn’t handle being photographed and then posting the photographs of herself online. She said, “It’s narcissistic.” I said, “No, it’s not. It’s marketing. I understand that you don’t feel comfortable posting pictures of yourself, but here’s the thing. If people don’t see your eyes, you and who you are, they are not going to be interested in joining you because they are not going to know who you are.” We’re behind screens now more than we were before. We are one-dimensional being to one another. You have to give more so people can see you. It’s the know, like, trust factor.
Authenticity, showing your face and honesty are my tenets. People are worried about too much information. I say share as much information as you are comfortable with. Overall, when I work with an author, we go through their book, we pull out the good juicy nuggets that we can use online over and over again, and make sure that they are always forthcoming with their origin story so that people know why and what is their mission. I would say it’s authenticity, showing your face, and being mission-driven. Those are the things.
To clarify for some of our readers who might not know what that origin story is, that’s often the story of how you even get into this field in the first place. As you shared with us, you got into this helping authors do better at marketing because you had an experience where you had an abusive marketing person. You didn’t want that to happen to other people. When people understand that about you, it enhances the know, like, trust factor. Any reasonable person would think, “She’s going to want to treat me well and make sure that I feel good about this relationship. She’s giving me value because she’s had that other experience.”People don't remember we're behind screens more now than we were before. Click To Tweet
Not everybody will do that. That’s me being authentically myself. You can read reviews of me online and you’ll see I do know what I’m talking about. I know what I’m doing, but not everybody is going to react to your origin story with open arms and ready to give you a big hug. I remember I put that out to my email list a couple of years ago, and I got an instant reply from this woman.
It was grammatically incorrect and didn’t completely make perfect sense but the gist of it was, “You shouldn’t be in business if you let somebody take advantage of you like that.” I loved that she sent that because I used it in presentations to show people that you’re going to get trolled, but that shouldn’t stop you. Is that woman my ideal client? No. That’s okay because she hadn’t had anything better to do that day than to troll me.
I couldn’t help but think that she’s probably hard on herself. She’s probably had a tough day every day if that’s how she acted. I had a three-year relationship with a con man. Smart people can be fooled by skillful other people who want to take advantage. We’re all susceptible to those kinds of things. It is great to be able to turn to somebody who’s going to handle the work with integrity, keep your best interests at heart, and make sure that your best interests are achieved. When you’re working with someone, what is the first step? Are you doing some sort of social media inventory? What do you do? How do you get somebody involved in this process?
We have to do an audit of everything that already exists and then make sure that the messaging is streamlined and is resonating with the person who is supposed to read the book. If you don’t have your messaging working for you, then all bets are off. Nothing is going to happen. They are sayings like, “A confused mind doesn’t buy,” but the truth is you have three seconds to make an impression. If you aren’t making any sense, you’re not going to make an impression, and people are going to scroll on by.
We create coherent, cohesive and streamlined messaging. We then work on doing all the things on the social channels. The next thing that we work on is lead magnets, which I cannot say enough about because the biggest mistake that authors make when trying to grow their email list is to give the first chapter of their book as a lead magnet.
From here on in, dear reader who’s reading this, please don’t ever do that again. If you’ve done it before, that’s okay. Forgive yourself, move on, bless and release, but don’t ever do it again. Here’s why. If they don’t know you, are they going to want to read the first chapter of your book? I think not. Is the first chapter of your book going to give them anything of value that they can walk away with and go, “I love this person. I’m going to hire them right now?” It’s definitely not.
Instead of giving away the first chapter of your book because nobody is going to go, “I’m going to fork over the $9.99 to get the rest of it.” It’s not about the money. It’s about the value. If you can take a look at your book objectively and say, “What would be a thing before the book?” For example, if you’re a life coach and you wrote a book about how to have a work-life balance. That’s great. What if before the book was a quick PDF on ten things you can do this morning to have a great day?
People look at this checklist and they are like, “I can do these ten things,” and then they do three of them. They’re like, “This life coach knows what they’re talking about. They have a book about work-life balance. I got to fork over that $9.99 right now.” That’s the process of it. That’s what we work on. I have a marketing coach because it’s hard to do your own marketing.
It is hard because it’s hard to see yourself. You can see yourself but not in an objective way. A lot of times, when we’re looking at ourselves, we’re not necessarily seeing our brilliance. More often than not, it’s just not about being able to see your weak points. I don’t know about most of us, but I’m probably better at seeing my weak points than I am at seeing my own strengths. It’s like a natural thing where I always want to be improving. I always want to look for how I can be better, but when you have to market yourself, you’ve got to be able to pinpoint and express the value that you’re bringing. Share a little bit more about that. What do you see with your clients?
In terms of being able to be objective, I don’t see that it’s very possible for anybody to be that objective. When you’ve written a book, you’re bearing your soul. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve told your entire life story and all the dirty laundry, but it’s such an intimate thing to write and then to put out into the world for other people to read and critique. It can be scary. To go a step further and to have to market it, it’s almost this incredibly daunting task because it’s like, “I wrote the book. Can it speak for itself?” It can’t.
That is the thing that authors struggle with. It’s like, “I’ve written the book. Can’t it just sell itself?” It can’t. We can fantasize, wish and hope, it isn’t going to happen that way.
Sometimes it gets presented that way online like, “Write a book and all your problems will be solved,” but it isn’t quite like that. Nothing in life is that easy. No good deed goes unpunished. Sometimes that happens. I’m like, “Why did I do that?” That’s why I make it a point of being the cheerleader/support system emotionally/guide for my clients.
Share more about that because you’re doing a done-with-you situation where you’re coaching them to fish. You’re not doing the fishing.
I am able to help them bring on somebody to do the fishing, but I believe that as an author, you need to know the basic tenets of marketing. These are skills that are transferable for the rest of your life, whatever you’re doing.
There’s something else there too and this is also true with sales. You need to understand how to effectively market and sell so that when you hire someone and they’re not performing, you have some leverage to be able to call them out on it and assert yourself and your needs. If you don’t know how to market or sell, then when they are not performing, you can’t say, “I know how to do this and I know I can get a result. Why aren’t you getting a result?” You can’t say that. Those are two areas that before you farm out, you do need to achieve a certain level of mastery.
I couldn’t agree more because a lot of people will come to me and say, “I have a VA doing my social media so I’m good.” I say, “Tell me more about that.” They’ll say, “I don’t know what she’s doing. She’ll send me posts and I’m supposed to approve them. I approve them but I don’t know if they’re doing anything.” That’s a big waste of time and money. It’s crazy.You're going to get trolled, but that shouldn't stop you. Click To Tweet
I had a client. When we started working together, she was focusing on LinkedIn and she had some company doing her LinkedIn posts. We sat there on Zoom looking at all the posts, post after post. It was talking to nobody and it was painfully generic. She would get maybe one like and she had a vast network. I showed her in real-time how when you are not targeting your messaging in the right way when it’s not written to the people that you were trying to reach, it’s not going to be effective. If you don’t have somebody guiding you with that, then you’re wasting your time and money.
Metrics is a big deal. I’m gathering that you also teach your clients how to evaluate a social media promotion plan. Can you share a little bit more about that as well?
Before I even talk about the evaluation, I also teach engagement strategies because many of us are guilty of, “I posted on Instagram and then I walked away.” That is not going to be an effective marketing strategy because you need to engage with your followers as well. I teach people how to engage with their followers to grow their community. I say, “Do you see how this engagement is growing your following? Do you see you’re having conversations with people who are your potential readers and clients?” That is the difference.
We then look at their metrics, “You can see, last week, you had zero followers. This week, you’ve got 50,” and then it keeps growing. We also look at who is engaging, how are they engaging, and then with email. In my opinion, you have to do email. There was that fateful day in October 2021 when Instagram and Facebook shut down. Everybody freaked out because they didn’t know what to do, except for those of us with robust email lists. We sent emails and said, “See, this is why,” because you’re parking your car in the Meta parking lot these days, and they can tow your car if they want at any time.
Landing in someone’s inbox is a whole another level of access that enables you to directly market to them. When you have people’s emails, then you have that access to their inbox where you can market to them, not just your book but those programs. I’m happy to hear that because I have the same philosophy. I’m always telling people, “You’re not going to get rich off your book. It’s what you do with it.” It can change your life financially and otherwise for the better, and change lots of other people’s lives too. Do you have a journey mapped out for these potential readers? What is the journey that is optimal for your clients to be able to take these social media followers on?
It’s going to be different for every person. The way I work with a client is we work one-on-one. I take them through a journey so that they grow as a marketer. As we take their customers, we’ll lay it out. Usually, it begins with the lead magnet and we create a welcome sequence so that emails are flooding in. We’re repurposing those emails for social media and creating excitement, not just about the book launch but also about anything that follows, any event or program launch, that kind of thing.
A lot of people feel like, “I wrote the book already and nothing happened so it’s over.” It’s not over. Your book did not fall off a cliff. It still exists and you can still market it. There are ways to take a book that was written two years ago and make it all exciting and new again, and you don’t have to redo the cover. It’s about how you position it with your people.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that if they promote their book for three months and it doesn’t catch on, “It didn’t work.” It’s not true. A great example is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul. That first book, they promoted every day. Both of them are working on it for fourteen months before they hit the New York Times bestsellers list.
If they had stopped in month three, we would have never heard of Chicken Soup for the Soul or Jack Canfield or Mark Victor Hansen. You see this over and over again. Jen Sincero is another great example with You are a Badass. I saw her speak in Boulder. I don’t even know how many cities she hit before her book hit the New York Times bestsellers list.
She was out speaking everywhere she could from what I could see. The interesting thing is when people do that consistent promotion over time, the book does start to get tractions that last for years. You Are a Badass was on the New York Times bestsellers list for at least 2, 3 years. I’m talking off the top of my head but I remember noticing that it was well over a year.
That’s the point because marketing is the long game. If you say to me, “After working with you for six months, what’s going to happen?” I say, “You are going to have all your ducks in a row so that those ducks get to multiply.” You keep growing and your influence keeps growing. That thought leadership and goal of being the go-to expert in your space, that’s where you are heading. If you stop, you got to start again.
That’s the other thing that people will do that you’ve observed from what you’ve said. They do a big push and it’s not working. They stop, wait a year, try again, and then you’re mowing the same patch of lawn.
That reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. It’s Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? It’s this poor guy named poor Ali Sard who has to keep mowing his uncle’s backyard. The faster he mows it, the faster he grows it. He has to keep mowing that lawn. If you stop, you lose momentum. When you do that, you’re starting from scratch every single time.
That’s why it is imperative if you want to become that expert and authority to have a plan and to execute it every day, even if you don’t feel like it. There are days when you don’t feel awesome. Everybody has them, but if you dig deep down and you say, “What’s my mission. Why am I doing this? Who am I going to be able to help today?” Visualize that one person who you would change their life by them reading your book. That’s going to help you get out of bed and do the thing.
The mantra before I do a sales conversation is I say, “How can I change this person’s life? How can I help this person?” If you’re focused on that instead of, “How can I make the sale? How can I get them to buy my book?” You’re coming from a much different place and it’s a much more attractive place than thinking about how you’re going to get something from them.Teach people how to engage with their followers to grow their community. Click To Tweet
It’s because selling is serving. Everything that we’re doing here is to serve. You didn’t write this book so that it could sit in a box and collect dust. You’re trying to make a difference in this world.
Even when you have a publisher, the onus is on the author to make sure that those books get into the hands of readers.
I’ve heard it said that the publisher will roll out the red carpet about 2 feet, then you’re on your own.
One thing for sure is the publisher has a much easier route to get your book into physical bookstores or brick and mortar stores and get on their shelves there. You could argue that it’s not a big deal anymore. Oddly it is. It does make a difference. There is some more gravitas that comes with having a traditional book deal, which can help you get better publicity.
Beyond that, you’re on your own when it comes to marketing. That’s why I invited you because I have many traditionally published clients who have that experience. The book comes out and then they feel like, “Now what do I do?” They’re not sure because the publisher is not necessarily helping them. I give them a little guidance but this isn’t my zone of genius either. I give them a little bit of a direction. This is so helpful. What have I not asked you that I should have or that you wish I would have?
If I could sum it up beautifully and wrap it in a gorgeous corte bow, I would say that all is not lost. You just need to ask for help. You probably asked for help when writing the book, so don’t be shy to ask for help when marketing the book. You’re not bored knowing this. That’s not the thing you’re supposed to be bored knowing. That’s why there are people like me who can help.
Melanie, thank you so much for being with us on the show and sharing your amazing wisdom.
Thank you so much.
Do you want to learn more about how to write a high-profit book? If so, check out my free six-part video series that will give you the information you need to begin writing a value-packed badass booklet and reap all the rewards of having a full-length book. Go to the website, HighProfitBookFormula.com and get access to this free six-part video series. Thanks again for reading.
- Melanie Herschorn
- You Are a Badass
- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
About Melanie Herschorn
Melanie Herschorn has extensive knowledge about the process of starting a business from scratch, curating the best digital marketing content for your niche and creating effective writing to attract your ideal customer.
A small business owner for seven years, Melanie can provide you with the guidance and encouragement you need to succeed. Melanie, whose award-winning maternity designs have been sold on Nordstrom.com and at other retailers nationwide, has also worked as a print, radio and TV journalist and as a PR specialist in Hollywood.
She has won numerous journalism awards and received her Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California. Melanie lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband, daughter and son, and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Marty McDog.