One of the key tenets of using social media in marketing is to not just speak to your customers, but to listen to them. I had a recent experience that taught me the power of using Facebook to learn from others.

My wife and I have written a book for teenagers called “What guys need to know about girls” and then (when you flip the book over) “What girls need to know about guys.” So 2 books in one, and two front covers. It’s a fun idea and I think the book will be valuable.

But since people judge a book by its cover, getting the cover right is huge. How can we be sure if we’ve got the right cover? I believe one of the best ways is to tap “The Wisdom of Crowds.”

We decided to use Facebook to tap into this wisdom. Using the publisher’s Facebook page, as well as another fan page, we posted the cover and asked, “Help us judge a book by its cover. Do you think the cover for this book would appeal to teens? What age group does this art evoke?”

We didn’t tell them (so as not to bias) that the book was really designed for junior high and high school students.

Here’s the initial cover. For the record, I liked it and some friends (in their 20s and 30s) that I showed it to liked it as well. I was ready to say, “Let’s have this be the cover.”

The response on Facebook was quick and decisive. One woman wrote that it was for, “‎6th graders at best – cartoon robot on the cover, seriously? My kids are 16, 12 and 7 and I guarantee they would only catch the eye of the 7 yr old!” (You can see all feedback  here.)

I was really surprised at the almost unanimity in saying that the cover looked like it was for tweens. The feedback was VERY helpful!  So the publisher came up with another cover design:

This cover got a lot more positive feedback than the first cover did. (You can see it all here.). There were a few suggestions about the clothes that the people wore, and so one final cover was produced:

Here’s the point I’d like to make with this post. Asking for feedback from the people you are trying to serve is a vital step in any industry. Facebook and other social media make it so much easier to solicit this kind of feedback. And people are often very willing to offer it.

My experience with this cover design has taught me that using Facebook to get feedback can be very, very helpful!