Are you an author who has a book signing at a nearby city? Or are you the head of a conference committee wondering how to contact writers to let them know about your event? Do you want to use Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In to meet new people and contact your old friends and get everyone at your event? You can do these things and more with social networking.
Recently, in the social networking course I teach for WOW!, I had an author whose book was spotlighted by the Spertus Institute in Chicago with all sorts of activities planned around it. She lives in California and wondered how to use social networking to let her friends, family, and fans know about the events. But she also wanted to find new followers and new fans--especially ones in Chicago--to come to these events. So, what could she do?
As you've probably heard before, you have to start networking well before your book comes out. Social networking makes this so much easier to do! So before you even have a book signing, blog tour, or conference speech, you should have reconnected with all your old classmates, college buddies, and old neighbors. You should also be friends with your family--who better to support you than them? Writers are generous people--if you tell them you are a fellow writer, they will most likely friend you, and now you are connected to a whole bunch of people who live all around the country AND who can hopefully attend your event.
Besides building up your contacts, you should also direct your efforts toward people who live in the area where your event will be. For example, I told this author that she should do a search on the people section in Twitter for Chicago. This search pops up all sorts of Tweeters who live in Chicago--she can go through the list and find the ones that she thinks may be interested in attending her events. She should interact with them well BEFORE her event. On Facebook, you should look for pages of businesses, other writers, or writing groups that are in the city you are having your event and LIKE the page. Then interact with the members BEFORE promoting your event.
I've heard authors say time and time again, "Hashtags are your friend." On Twitter, if you are looking for new people to connect with, use a hashtag. In my Chicago author example above, she can use #Chicago when she tweets about her events. She can also open up a search column for #Chicago to see what is being discussed and to join in. Once she is active with this hashtag, she will start to meet other people who use #Chicago, and some of these people might just be interested in her event.
The number one rule with social networking and promoting yourself is that you just can't sell, sell, sell all the time. You have to give to your friends and followers, you have to be personable, and you have to provide useful information. Once you have their trust, then you can promote yourself and your event.
These are just three simple ways to promote an event on the social networks. For more tips and ideas like these and how to use social networks to further your career, then consider taking Margo Dill's WOW! class, "Social Networking for Writers," starting on November 16. There's still plenty of time to sign up! Go here for more information.
post by Margo L. Dill
photo by aflcio www.flickr.com