This is one of those marketing ideas that either works great or not at all. Depends on who you are and who your followers are. A street team does your work for you, but it takes a lot of work. Why? Because marketing is hard all the way around. Authors struggle. Sometimes it defeats them. Marketing can be the ugly monster authors run from. That is why a street team is such a good idea.
Street teams were created by the rappers in the 1990s. Many music producers wouldn’t take a number of talented artists because they had to focus on the few they thought would make it big and pad their pockets. In the end, it was all about the money. Good business sense except some good rappers got ignored. Street teams were hired to play the music on their boom boxes for people to hear. Next thing you know, people are thinking of that song and want a copy for themselves. They call the radio stations and demand the song. The radio DJ’s demand the song. Before you know it, an unknown rapper is making a mint.
For an Author
How does this work for an author? Same general concept. An author gets a team of people together to spread the news about their work. They don’t spam. They read the work and talk about it like any other book but they are more deliberate about it. They might even make it part of a book club, but they talk about it without acting like they are selling the book.
The problem comes in that the rapping street teams were paid. They focused on getting the job done because it was money in their pockets. Well…few readers even friends and family will take the time needed for a street team without some kind of compensation. Yes, money talks and can get the job done more than asking for volunteers. But most authors can’t afford to pay a street team. Think outside the box. Pay them with free copies of your books, swag, or gift cards.
Also, consider getting someone to run your street team. It takes a lot of time and energy to monitor and manage it. That means you lose more time from your writing and other marketing ventures. If you can only pay/reward one person, make it the street team manager.