Academic journal article MEIEA Journal

Authors Influencing Others to Follow: An Analysis of a Social Media Platform through the Framework of Persuasion Theory

Academic journal article MEIEA Journal

Authors Influencing Others to Follow: An Analysis of a Social Media Platform through the Framework of Persuasion Theory

Article excerpt


According to the Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 20142018 (PwC 2014) global consumer books revenue grew in 2013 after years of decline, as the increase in ebook revenue surpassed the decreasing print revenue. This type of tipping point is not new to those watching another sector of the entertainment industry. While there are some differences in methodology, Peoples (2012) argued U.S. digital recorded music revenue exceeded physical sales in 2011.

The fact is these two sectors of the entertainment industry have much in common. Just as technology has transformed the music industry (Graham et al. 2004) and allowed unsigned musicians the opportunity to create and build an audience for their music, the book publishing industry has also experienced seismic shifts, allowing book authors to create and build an audience for their books.

While much of the supply chain of the traditional publishing industry is still intact-from agents pitching books to publishing houses, to distribution of books to physical and online retailers-authors can now build their personal brands online and drive sales wherever their books are sold.

Just as Chris Anderson's The Long Tail (2006) has been applied to the music industry, it also explains the publishing industry. There are authors who will find themselves at the "head" (titles are found on the shelves of retail stores) and there are authors who will find opportunity "down the tail" (titles of self-published through mid-level published authors found primarily online). Regardless of their level, or placement of their books, authors have a unique opportunity to build a tribe of followers with the social media tools available in today's online environment.

The Tribe and the Social Media Platform

British novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard is frequently quoted as saying, "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one" (Howard 1998,260). If authors are going to have success in the marketplace, they need a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader (author) and connected to an idea. To become a tribe, people need only a shared interest and way to communicate (Godin 2008). The strategic use of interactive online social media allows for a tribe to communicate clearly in four directions: "leader to tribe, tribe to leader, tribe member to tribe member, and tribe member to outsider" (Godin 2008, 28).

Brian Solis's Conversation Prism (2013) depicts how "the social [media] landscape is evolving with increasing acceleration." The number of social media networks that have vanished and emerged is staggering, and as a result, it can make the process of understanding and building a social media platform difficult.

In an attempt to help others understand how the various social media work together, social media expert Michael Hyatt (Hyatt 2010c, March 25) borrowed from Chris Brogan's (2010) "Simple Presence Framework" and Jon Dale's "Social Media Framework" (2009) to come up with a refined version of a Social Media Framework (Hyatt 2010c, March 25).

According to Hyatt, a good social media strategy has three components.

1. A Homebase: The homebase is the digital property that one owns. It is unique from the other two components in that it is fully under the control of the author. It usually comes in the form of a website or blog, and it is where the author wants to drive traffic. According to Hyatt (Hyatt 2010c, March 25), "You can control the borders and determine who has access." The homebase usually integrates social media network features and metrics within its borders, but only if it serves a purpose.

2. Embassies: These are the places that are not owned or controlled by the author; instead the author will create profiles with different social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and engage in conversations with those who congregate there. …

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