The secret to successful social networking
More and more writers today are finding social networking important for building an audience. Whether it’s authors touting their latest book, bloggers promoting their site, or other writers, reaching out to an online audience is one of the strongest, and easiest, promotional tools a writer can have.
Unfortunately, some writers hate it, and others just can’t seem to figure out what to do.
The basics are quite simple. You sign up for such sites as Twitter and Facebook, you start making “friends” on those sites, then you start letting your “friends” know about your book, blog, whatever.
However, that easy step opens up three potential problems for the promoting writer.
First, pushing one’s writing on the unsuspecting or the unwilling is often called spam, and others online won’t hesitate to call you out on it. Yes, you are joining such sites to promote your work, but to do so constantly only makes you annoying to others. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning your new blog post or new article from time to time, but making a nuisance out of yourself does a writer no good. How to judge if you’re spamming? Ask yourself how you feel when others are pushing their products on you.
The second possible problem with the basics of social networking is a lack of diversification in the sites. Yes, everyone knows Twitter and Facebook, but are you familiar with StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and a thousand other sites. Do you know about tumblr? What about more writing-centric sites such as GoodReads or LibraryThing or Kindleboards? Obviously it is far too time consuming to be on all sites all the time, but it would not hurt to pick a few as favorites and to have at least some presence on the others. The popularity of networking sites can wax and wane, so if you already have an account on one, it will be much easier to start taking part in the online community there.
A third potential problem for writers and social networking is that often it can seem no matter how much work you put into it, social networking never seems to pay off. You keep trying and trying, but your book sales aren’t going up, or your blog views are staying flat.
All too often I see writers who have 20,000 Followers on Twitter, but it does them little good. Or there are those who have thousands of Facebook friends, but without it helping their writing career.
How can this be? You’ve put all this time and effort into clicking your way to connecting with people, but none of them seem interested in your writing.
Too often, writers will become frustrated, throw up their hands and give up on social networking. They figure there must be some secret they don’t understand, or they believe they aren’t “cool” enough for others to latch onto.
The truth is, such writers are missing the trees for the forest. Yes, you read that correctly.
Signing up with a networking site and gathering thousands upon thousands of followers is only the beginning, a mere step in the right direction. It takes more effort than that, and more time.
There is one simple trick to successful social networking, and it’s not really a trick. What is it? You have to keep in mind the “social” aspect of social networking.
You have to chat with others. You have to talk online with them as if they really are friends. And you have to do so without constantly bombarding them with pressure to read your latest post or book or what-have-you.
The age of the hard-sell has passed us by. Today’s consumers are savvy enough to know when they’re being sold something, when an advertisement is slapping them in the face. Most of today’s consumers and readers don’t like that. To them, it feels as if they are being forced into something, and no one enjoys that feeling.
If a writer wants to successfully utilize social networking, the writer has to take the time to make real friends online. It’s not easy. You build relationships one at a time, but it needs to be done. Join in those twitter hashtag conversations. Let others know you appreciate their stumbles on StumbleUpon. Take part in the jokes on Facebook.
You never know? You might just start selling a few more books or drawing more people to your site. And better yet, you might actually have some fun and make a whole bunch of new friends.