57 academics just punched the air

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RSC Shakespeare: The Complete Works

One Marketing Director also punched the air at a London Book Fair seminar this week when, in response to the question “which book campaign has made the best use of online techniques in the last year?”, panellist David Freeman cited The RSC Shakespeare: The Complete Works, published today by Palgrave Macmillan.

For those page-sniffing book-as-object fetishists, this is a lovely book. But it also has an editors’ blog, a website with audio and video – and a publisher prepared to use social networking sites. Vicky Capstick has been pimping MySpace and Facebook since the Bookseller seminar in March.

One Facebook Group, called 57 Academics Just Punched the Air, has emerged since a line in Dr Who a couple of weeks ago (series 3, episode 2, The Shakespeare Code). It is billed as:

a group for those who believe two things: 1) Doctor Who is amazing and 2) Seriously, Shakespeare was totally bi.

Here’s the context for THAT quote (at about 1:50).

Vicky simply joined the group and posted a link to a relevant posting from the editors’ blog, offering a more academic perspective on Russell T. Davies’s plotline. This works because:

  1. it’s providing genuinely useful, interesting information to a niche audience from a trusted source
  2. it’s a perfectely legitimate, authentic use of social networks by an individual. It wouldn’t work if a comment was posted by a faceless corporation.
  3. it’s not trying to sell something – at least not directly. It would be an abuse of the medium to view social networking sites as a direct sales route.
  4. although the group has only 36 members (so far), they are likely to be ‘sneezers’ – active consumers who will translate and repeat the message to their friends. Or just click ‘share’ on Facebook.
  5. how else would you reach that particular audience?
  6. it costs nothing.

The great thing about social networking sites is that they bring huge global audiences together around small niche interest groups, who will buy your products if they fit those interests. The key is to participate in those networks yourself, rather than push products out to them. That takes some time and commitment. But who wouldn’t want to make pimping MySpace part of their job?

About Author

Jon Reed is an author, screenwriter and social media consultant. He is the author of Get Up to Speed With Online Marketing (2nd edition, Pearson, 2013) and the the founder of social media consultancy Reed Media, which offers social media training and consultancy. Jon started Publishing Talk in 2007 following a 10-year career in publishing, including as publishing director for McGraw-Hill. More...

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