Street teams are HOT right now. So hot. There are literally hundreds of street teams out there for us book loves to join. A street team is a group of fans/bloggers that help an author promote their work through social media. That’s it in a nutshell. There is often a rewards system, contests, sneak peeks, and other fun stuff involved.
Why to street team? (for authors)
If you’re an author it’s a great way to get FREE promotion.
It’s a great way to connect with fans and bloggers in a safe zone. 99% of street teams are secret groups on facebook. Meaning that no one but the people on your street team can see the happenings. Does this mean you have free reign to be yourself? Yes, but watch it. Some of the people in your street team may not be your friends. Unfortunately there will be people who will share your words(either your books, or even what you say) outside of the team. The internet is forever. However, for the most part I think that is very rare. To help prevent things like this you can set up an application to apply to be in the team, or only hand pick people you know pretty well.
Some key tips running a street team:
Keep it small. Bigger street teams are chaos. I think the max number of people I would want to run would be around 100. Remember facebook doesn’t show these things to everyone anymore. So the more you post and the more active the team, the more it shows up in news feeds. There are authors out there that have HUGE street teams, I’m not on any of those, so I can’t speak to their effectiveness. Honestly, 2000 people in one place scares me.
Have help running it. Either your PA, a trusted bookish friend, or there are even people (we do, and there is another service called the Ginger Pimps, who I highly recommend. I am on some of their street teams. They are fun, interactive and ran smoothly) that offer to help run them for a small fee. Still check in, people are there for YOU.
Have fun! Offer incentive contests. If the only thing your street team is a list of tweets and fb statuses to share, people are less likely to participate. These people are giving their time freely because they love your work.
Have ground rules. Just simple rules will work. If you don’t want certain things posted in the group say so. Make sure people know that the group is confidential.
Random Sidenote: street teams should not be used to troll other authors or reviewers. If this is happening on a street team, I leave. I might not take my name out of the hat so to speak, but I won’t contribute any longer. It doesn’t matter if it’s the author, or their fans. I find it distasteful.
Why to Street Team? (For readers)
Interact with your favorite author! Don’t lie. All of us fangirl when our favorite author acknowledges us. Even in the smallest way. A facebook like on comment is golden for my self esteem some days.
Hang out with like minded bookish peeps! The bookish world can be beautiful and it can be ugly. If you are in a street team usually you are in a safe place to be yourself. You can gush about this authors work as much as you like. Others will get it and gush with you.
Exclusive content! This can be anything from swag, to extra scenes written just for the team, to beta, and ARC copies of your favorite books. The thing is, you should WORK for them. These things cost the authors either in money (swag, and shipping isn’t cheap) or time. Writing extra scenes takes away from time spent writing other work. Even if they just use old stuff, most give it a quick edit before posting it.
Digital ARC’s and Beta copies may not cost an author a dime, but if you aren’t reading, giving feedback and reviewing, then the author might not see the point of posting these in the team. Not to mention the risk of the book being taken and pirated (it happens, sadly). You’re there because you love the author. So why not read it?
Street teams are fun! They are what you make of them. Just make sure that you are following any rules, and be yourself!!!
Have fun, interact, and pimp!