A small, horizontal column on AR’s main site, labeled “Social Robotics,” contains links to AR’s three main social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. In this post, I will briefly discuss how AR utilizes these platforms and how it reflects AR’s overall character as a publisher.
AR’s Facebook page carries out the same essential activities you would expect from a publisher’s site. All of the news stories posted on the main website are cross-posted to the FB page. New releases are announced, major company news is shared, and contests for free AR books are held. All links on the FB page to AR novels take the user to the Robot Trading Co. e-book store.
The FB page also carries out a few other functions that aren’t hosted on the main site. Announcements of author signings from AR writers are cross-posted from the events’ host. Such notices are time-sensitive and only relevant to specific geographic regions, which is why they are more appropriate for a format like FB. AR’s Facebook also shares news from AR’s imprints, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A, whereas the main site segregates the three imprints.
AR’s Facebook also sports two open invitations for fan feedback. The first, “Recent Posts by Others on Angry Robot Books,” cross-posts any status updates or comments from FB users who mention an AR title or AR the company. Many of these posts are from the AR authors themselves, which opens us an additional channel of communication between fans and content providers. Almost all comments appear to be positive in one way or another, and there don’t seem to be any posts that happen to use the words “angry” and “robot” in an unrelated sentence, so good work AR.
The second invitation for feedback is far more literal. The page sports a “Reviews” widget that allows FB users to review Angry Robot (both their company and their Facebook page). All of the comments so far are either 5-star reviews or highly positive unrated comments.
AR’s Twitter page is essentially the same as their FB page in terms of book/company promotion. Where the Twitter page differs is that the fan-company connection is far more direct. AR responds to (seemingly all) Twitter users who address @angryrobotbooks, often in a casual and light-hearted tone. Many of their Twitter-hosted contests stipulate that users tweet @angryrobotbooks directly. One such contest was #MyFirstAngryRobot, which elicited a glut of positive comments directed at AR novels.
Many of AR’s tweets are also of a more casual, humor-tinged tone, such as the one pictured below:
AR has a presence on Pinterest, where their focus is on AR book covers, pictures of author signings, and bookstore displays featuring AR titles.
In 2013, it goes without saying that any company that hopes to make a profit will have some sort of social media presence. While many companies simply “check-off” this requirement by having a static page, the kind of direct interaction practiced by AR captures the essence of what makes social media platforms…well, social.
“No one on the team forces themselves to tweet or whatever, we just can’t stop ourselves,” said AR Managing Director and Publisher Marc Gascoigne in an interview with Publishing Perspectives. “It doesn’t hurt that rather than having a separate marketing it’s all us, so we respond, debate and are generally part of the community…but that’s how it should be anyway. Fans as well as publishers, full of enthusiasm for books (from other publishers as well as from us) and heaps of other cool things.”
Once again, AR’s outreach efforts show their mission statement in action. They feel no need to segregate themselves from their fans as “professionals” or “publishers,” which is a particularly effective approach on platforms that are based around the concepts of connectivity, openness, and friendship.
On a related topic, my next post will focus on AR’s unusual tone (or, why they put a “WTF” after “SF” and “F”).