The Big Social Media Mistake

Thursday, December 08, 2011
Social media is a great marketing tool. It's a chance to connect with writers, readers, publishers, editors, and agents like never before. It's easy, and it's fast; but in order to use it effectively, you still have to follow old-fashioned, pre-social media rules of networking and building relationships and connections. You have to give before you can take. You have to be personable, and you have to share something of yourself. If you forget this, in your quick use of social media to promote yourself, then you will not be as successful. You cannot constantly ask people to do something for you without sharing yourself and giving to others.

Joel Comm, author of Twitter Power, which is a book I highly recommend, states on his website,  "Whatever your industry, make sure that you're not just building followers but building those relationships and networks, too." 

So, how do you do this? How do you stop ONLY promoting yourself and start interacting?

  • On Facebook, you can visit other writers' pages and leave comments. You can follow your writing friends' links to their blogs and or book pages. You can leave encouraging words on their walls. Respond to their book signing and blogging events, even if you cannot attend. 
  • On Twitter, you can retweet a friend's interesting tweet that links to her bog. You can recommend another author's book as a holiday gift.  You can get involved in a hashtag chat and share your opinion and ideas with other writers.
  • On Linked In, you can recommend friends whom you have worked with personally or whose books you have read. You can answer questions in the QUESTIONS section of the site. You can also participate in group discussions in the groups that you are in, especially if someone is asking for people's advice and/or experience.

I know what you're thinking. This is going to take more time, and you're right--you could spend hours on this. But you have to limit yourself, and you have to look at it as marketing/networking time, which in today's publishing world is as equally time-consuming and important for the author as creating new work. 

Devote thirty minutes a day to social media for a couple weeks, and make sure you are sharing and building relationships--not just promoting yourself. See if you notice a difference. Are you gaining more followers or fans? Has your blog traffic increased? Have you sold any more books?  Be honest with yourself. Are you being as consistent as you can? Are you sharing bits of yourself while also selling your work?

A final note--if all you do is constantly put up links to your blog and your books on the three major social networks, people will stop reading your tweets and status updates. They gloss right over it--at least I do, and I don't think I'm alone. It would be like going into a holiday party and talking only about yourself and your work, and asking people to buy your books, while you blabber on about yourself.  Pretty soon, holiday invitations would be non-existent. Don't let this happen to your writing career.

post by Margo L. Dill 

 For more help with your social networking strategies in 2012, consider taking Margo's class in the WOW! classroom, Social Marketing for Writers: Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and more! It starts on January 18th, and it has a very flexible format--you do not have to be online at any certain time to participate.  


CharmedLassie said...

I love the interaction that comes from Twitter. I put links up to my blogs, of course, but I tweet them a maximum of three times. While I'm eager for people to read, I don't want to alienate anyone if I can help it. The thing about Twitter is that it's a *social* network. You shouldn't be using it if you don't want to communicate with people. I've come across numerous writers and readers thanks to Twitter and I thoroughly enjoy using it.

Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas, M.Ed. said...

Margo, this is great advice. I am just a novice at using social media, but I have seen a difference in the traffic to my site since I started using it in earnest.

Margo Dill said...

@CharmedLassie: I am a big fan of Twitter, too. I think it is important when you have an especially good blog post to tweet it more than once as you mentioned to catch people at all times of the day. But each time you tweet it, you probably want to change your "headline" so that you are not tweeting the same exact tweet.

@Linda: I am so glad to hear that! You have an important message to share with the world. You will also meet so many great people and network with them. :)

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