Trending Now

You Can Stick Social Media in Your Hat

by Eva Lyford
Many of us spend enormous amounts of time working to get a measurable impact from social media. But some of the best examples of the power of word-of-mouth marketing begin unintentionally. Last week, a positive tweet from British celebrity Stephen Fry about David Eagleman’s Sum, “If you read it and aren’t enchanted I will eat 40 hats,” prompted a 250,000% improvement in Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list and an additional print run from the publisher. And, I added it to my Christmas list. But why did this happen?

Stephen Fry might not be well-known in the US, but he’s almost a national treasure in England. He’s a rarity, in that he is both a celebrity and an intellectual. Fry’s entertaining QI show and wide-ranging intellectual interests have devoted followings. He is a Man Who Knows Of What He Speaks when it comes to an intellectual’s fare. So an endorsement, however flip, has the weight of authority behind it.
But what makes his statement about Sum different from his prolific blurbs that appear on so many dust-jackets? It was authentic–an off-the-cuff and apparently unsolicited bit of praise. While plugs from Fry have been sought after for some time, none have generated this kind of response. People can tell when the compliment is authentic and when it isn’t.
Is there a lesson here? First, Eagleman owes Stephen some hats. Second, if you’re expecting this kind of response from an artificial and contrived endorsement, you need to reconsider. People can tell the difference between a from-the-heart compliment and a paid friend. Instead, figure out who the authorities are in your market and make it very, very easy for them to get their hands on your best offerings.
Perhaps it all started when someone at Pantheon Press sent Fry a copy of that book. If so, I nominate that person for the newly-created Forty Hats Award, and a round of applause from their peers. Well done, anonymous publishing worker!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top Back to top