Aligning Acquisitions and Marketing to Create a Seamless University Press Presence
A social media presence is, by now, a standard component of most university presses. Almost every press spends time and money on social media efforts, attempting to create a presence that befits the overall mission of the press and conveys it to the wider world. But which part of the press should drive social media? To my knowledge, most presses push social media through their marketing departments. Thus, social media becomes a function of marketing, quickly taking on that department’s characteristics and sensibilities. Running social media through marketing makes the most sense. It would be difficult, after all, to argue that social media is not a marketing tool. But what other roles does or should social media play in a university press world? And who else should be involved in the creation of social media content?
To my mind, the symbiosis between marketing and acquisitions seems most relevant to the overall social media presence of a university press. Acquiring editors have been using the precursors to social media for a long time in order to stay in touch with their authors, be a part of the communities interested in their lists, and even to sign books. These traditional forms of communication include letters, email, phone calls, websites, conference attendance, and so on. Each of these was or is a form—to one degree or another—of social media. As such, contemporary social media constitutes another opportunity to engage with those same authors, communities, and books.
Many acquiring editors are actively engaged in social media. In fact, I think it probable that more acquisitions editors have their own Twitter accounts than do marketers. I applaud acquiring editors for being ahead of the adoption curve, for actively pursuing their own platforms from which to position themselves within their fields. I urge marketers across the UP world to do the same thing. Just because we do not sign books does not mean each of us does not have a thriving community of which to be a part or a thought-provoking message to share with our peers, authors, and beyond.