Stop Stalking and Start Communicating
You’re an author, you wrote a book, and now you want help spreading the word, so you turn to your social network. But something is wrong. You don’t see your posts being re-tweeted and people aren’t reaching out to you. You sit back dumbfounded. Why?
There’s more to developing a social network than simply following someone. I’ve had many people follow me without ever saying a word. They click ‘follow’ and then sit back and wait for me to follow back, which I do…sometimes.
It isn’t that I don’t want to follow everyone who follows me, it’s that I’m utilizing my social network for a purpose – to assist my writing career. I’m not out to learn gardening, or to follow the latest fashion trends, though I love both. Unless these areas of interest are related to my writing, I pass on the follow back, but not until I thank the person for following me.
Before you click the follow button, you should consider these items:
1. Check out their profile – Is this someone who interests you?
2. Read through their tweets or comments – Are they speaking of something beneficial or interesting to you, or are they mostly self promoting?
3. Are they readers or writers, or both? – I love you, my fellow authors, but my target audience is readers. I do follow many authors, but I’m looking for potential buyers for my product. Not that authors aren’t also readers – which is why I follow many of them back – it’s just that unless they state they are avid readers in their profile, or I see through their engagements that they read a great deal, I will pass on following them.
If you want to just count numbers and say you have XX number of people following you then go ahead and stalk away; but if you’re looking to actually build a strong social network, you have to take the time to sit and visit. You have to. This is not a suggestion.
Three important tips on social networking:
1. Choose your audience carefully. Decide who you want to follow and pay attention to what they’re saying. Utilize RSS feeds, and watch what your people are talking about.
2. Participate in conversations. Engage your contacts in discussions other than your book. Let them know you’re interested in what they’re doing or what’s going on in their writing world. You don’t have to get into personal stuff you don’t want to; you can keep it on a professional level, but by all means ENGAGE.
3. Ask lots of questions and respond to their responses.
A few more helpful tips on social networking are:
1. Use tags wherever and whenever you can, but don’t overdue it. Usually, 2 or three specific tags per tweet/comment are good.
2. In Twitter, utilize your Lists to help organize your followers and people you follow, or to simply track tweets that are of interest to you but that you are not following.
3. Post tweets or comments about interesting and useful things such as, writing tips, writing news, book buzz, promote another author’s new release or interview. The unspoken rule of thumb when tweeting and commenting to your network is 20% about you (your books, interviews, etc) and 80% about everything and everyone else – connected to writing, of course.
Remember, social media is meant to be social.
Here are a couple of links that you may find helpful:
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I wish you all the best with your scriblings.