A phrase I am getting very familiar with these days is street team marketing. I know it's been around for a long time, but it seems in the past few months I've heard it from several author friends.
What is a street team?
A street team is a group of people---readers, friends, reviewers, etc.---who love an author's books and agree to promote them in their corner of the universe. That means spreading the word, using social media, providing honest reviews, in short, doing what they can to promote that author and spread buzz about their work. In return, the author provides things like monthly drawings for the street team, insider info, signed books, ARCs, swag, something special just for them.
As a reader, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and one that I rely on quite a bit, but with the advent of street teams, can I count of a friend's unbiased opinion if I know she is a member of an author's street team?
On the other hand, as a writer, I love the idea of having a team of people out there helping me spread the word about my books. I love the idea of building online relationships with people like I've done here with this blog.
What do you think? Would you consider being part of a street team? Why or why not? What would tip you one way or the other?