By Caitlin Buckley at Emmanuel College
The literary world has entered the social network stream. Marketers have 140 characters to catch your interest.
Lexie Winslow has social media down pat. Every day, she is the queen of clever hash-tags and witty status updates. She needs to get the most comments and “likes.”
“Learning to write concisely and persuasively has been invaluable in the business world, especially in marketing,” she said . “Social media marketing is all about making an impression in a finite amount of characters!”
In Boston’s Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade and Reference Division, 24 year old Winslow is the Web Content Administrator. She uses Twitter and Facebook to blog new book titles.
She appreciates the desire to discuss favorite books and the next big hits. Her updates relate to the reader– what sparks their interest, what they want to talk about most. In one line, she invests in the reader as much as she promotes the book.
“I find social media a very forgiving platform, so it’s a good place to try things out and see how the fans react. I put myself in their shoes as a reader, to think of what would entice me to learn more about a book,” Winslow said.
It’s a world in which people want to voice their own opinions. If Winslow does it right, social media provides an organized and exciting forum, friendly to both discussion and marketing. Every day is a little different, so the fresh and stimulating new ideas need to keep coming.
“I think social media is a blessing for the publishing industry,” she said. “Twitter and Facebook especially are so text-based that literary people gravitate to them.”
But there are limits to her expression.
Winslow feels the pressure to make each and every status update interesting. She can’t be too offensive, but she can be a little controversial. There is a balance somewhere in between that keeps readers returning and increasing in numbers.
When she feels lacking in followers and friends, she wins them over by giving them something for their effort.
“Free books usually go over the best,” she said. “Whenever I want to drive up follower numbers, I put together a giveaway.”
Living in the digital age, creativity is important. Marketing has become Winslow’s playground.
For the promotional websites, she creates designs that are easy to follow and visually appealing. She features the newest and most intriguing books on the homepage of the company’s website. Each tweet and status update has a purpose.
There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from clicking that tweet into the web-universe.
“I can feel proud of the products that I share with the world,” she said.
Winslow credits her English degree from Holy Cross for helping her succeed in the professional world. She had a passion for literature in college, and followed that instinct when looking for jobs in book-related fields.
Publishing was the perfect fit.
After graduation, she interned at a smaller publishing house, The History Press. When she received another internship at Houghton Mifflin, she was at a crossroads: internship or graduate school? She chose the internship for experience, over observation in a classroom.
Experience paid off and she was given a job at the company—one that relies on a quick mind and a youthful spark—the essence of social media.
“It’s casual, sometimes silly, and all about instant gratification,” she said, “and I’ve become very comfortable with it.”