I’m sure you’ve all heard it . . . street teams are “the thing” right now. Everyone is getting one! But how do you start one? And what do you do with it when you get one?
I’m far from an expert, but I’ve been watching and listening and playing around with one on my own. I also sat in a street team workshop at Nationals this year just to pick up some tips. Additionally, I’m sure there are many other rubies here with much more knowledge and know how, so please, feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments (because I guarantee I’m only scratching the surface here). Non-rubies…please tell us what you know, as well! This post is here to help, so comment with anything you think others could use. 🙂
First, what is a street team?
Simply put, a street team is a group of loyal fans who like nothing better than to tell the world how great you are!
How do you manage one?
Most people that I’ve seen doing them are running their groups through a closed FB group.
I’ve also heard of people using a yahoo loop, or some other form of “group.”
Possibly also, the group could be managed via email or a newsletter, but this would take away ability for the team members to chat with each other or with the author.
How do you start one?
You could hire an assistant/someone who has set one up before to get it started for you.
You could send out a post on FB/twitter asking for team members.
You could send out a call for members in your newsletter.
Also, you must decide whether to let in everyone who wants to join (some who may follow you currently due to a previous contest, etc and may not have actually read your books before), or whether you want to vet the potential members.
If vetting, I would suggest creating a google doc and link from your website and/or FB author page to ask specific questions, such as: how many of my books have you read, which of my books/heros/heroines is your favorite, how many FB followers do you have, how many twitter followers, what city/state to you live, etc. Some questions would depend upon how you intend to use your team, thus location might become important.
What does a street team do?
If you have books in physical stores, your team might get bookmarks, postcards, etc into stores.
To do this, authors will need to send swag to the team members. A recommendation I heard was to send less to new members to keep them from getting overwhelmed at first. Also, have a way to allow the members to request more if they run out. And note, this is where the location becomes important. You don’t want a lot of people in the same area trying to hit the same places.
You could also put a call out for specific locations: I’m looking for a few good people for the state of Arizona, for the city of San Diego, etc. You want people all over, so don’t be afraid to ask for specific areas.
If you are digital only (or both digital and in physical stores), you might go the social media route.
Post weekly “tasks” in you group for the team to do online, such as: FB/tweet about a contest, share book release info, like your book on Amazon, like your Amazon author page, add your book(s) to their goodreads/shelfari shelves, post cover (or other book related) pics on Pinterest, instagram, etc.
You can also request reviews, either to blogs, retails sites or reader sites.
I’ve asked members to talk to their local library about getting my books/audio books into their library.
I’ve asked (and had several do it) members to basically hand-sell books. They do this either by talking you up to friends/acquaintances or by posting glowing remarks on their social media about reading your books.
Ask members to post statuses about reading/buying your books.
Ask them to suggest your book on those “What are you reading” posts you see all over FB or goodreads.
When does a street team do their thing?
What I’m seeing is that they are most effective right around a release, maybe a week before and two weeks after. You don’t want to ask them to be doing a lot year round or you might burn them out.
I just ran an eight week promotion, and I’ve come to the conclusion that was way too long. Some people who started all pumped up to help quickly fizzled out. Next time, I’ll do three weeks!
How do you “payback” all the help?
You might occasionally ask for specific help throughout the year such as “My book is a Kindle Daily Deal, please pass it on,” etc. For these, I do nothing in the form of “payback.”
HOWEVER, for the concentrated promotion around a book release, I’m allowing my team to win prizes in several ways:
Earn swag based upon the number of points they’ve earned. I have a rafflecopter widget set up where they can log the activities they’ve done, each being worth 1 – 10 points. I start with the smaller swag for less points earned and give away the larger stuff for more accumulated points.
I also give weekly prizes to those who’ve been out there “working it” each week. Prizes I’ve given have been things like Amazon gift cards, free books, bonus swag that isn’t able to be earned, and beach items (since they were promoting a beach book).
Provide exclusive swag available to team members. Something that not just anyone can get. These are the people out there loving you and telling the world about you. Make it special for them! Also consider sending a swag pack to the entire team, just for being on your team!
Provide exclusive excerpts for your team.
If you have advanced reader copies, consider making those available to your team before anyone else. I would do this in conjunction with requesting reviews. If they don’t leave a review, then maybe they don’t get an ARC the next time.
Basically, remember that these are some of your biggest fans. Treat them that way!
Okay, my mind is empty. Like I said before, I’m sure there are many more ways to do this, and I’ve no doubt I’ve left out large chunks of good ideas. So please, share your experiences, either being on a team or how you’ve worked with yours. What kind of activities did you do? What kind of prizes have you given or gotten? Anything unique you’d like to share?
Also, I’m curious, does anyone worry that there’s going to be too many street teams? If we’re all doing them, will they flood the market and become less than valuable? I don’t know the answer, but I’d love to hear your opinion!