The following is part 1 of a guest post by Tracy Atkins. Check back next week for part 2!
Every single day, authors are bombarded with instructions to get cracking on social media.
You hear advice to tweet, build up your Facebook following, and post on your author blog. Marketing gurus dish sound advice to write articles for major blogs, and get out there in the world as an extrovert-expert.
You look at the bevy of URLs and accounts you need to maintain, and it feels like you are planning a trip to scale Mt. Vesuvius.
As confusing or unfocused as social media may be on the surface, the truth is that social media is an essential tool to build a fan base. Those fans are what you need most.
Gaining the recognition and respect from someone who enjoys your contributions to the social media world is the best way to turn a stranger into a fan.
Strangers become acquainted with you and you become a familiar and valued face. After enough positive exposure, they begin to make your cause and view theirs, as you are now an acquaintance and they are a fan of your work.
Fans are friends, members of your online “tribe”, though the relationship is often one-sided.
Engaged fans evangelize your work. That’s the key concept for social media.
Having a fan will trump advertising every time. By buying ad space, you are making a fixed and short-term statement to a broad group of people. Based upon the strength or appeal of that statement, people will buy your product.
The turn-over or conversions to view your website based on exposure to your ad message, can be as small as 0.001% of those who see your advertisement. Actual sales can be a tiny fraction of those visitors. In my direct experience, a single fan is worth over 100,000 online ad impressions!
With social media, you become the product. People will buy based upon their impression of you and your work.
However, it goes a little deeper than simple recognition or visibility. Your presence online builds confidence and relationships with like-minded people. These people will experience the value that you and your work bring to the table, first hand. When you add value to other people’s lives, those people will often share your work with others. They become your fans and evangelists.
Becoming a fan is often a knee-jerk reaction at first.
How many times have you read an article and clicked the like button, thumbs-up, or re-tweeted an awesome message?
After a series of “liking” several things that person has said, you start to pay more attention to them. Before long, you start to look for more of what they have to say, other articles they have written, or sought out their blog.
You are in the beginning stages of becoming a fan.
Flip that concept around, and now you know what kind of person you need to be, to get a fan of your own.
In publishing today, your book is not always the biggest selling point. You are.
Why do you think major authors have their names in bold print on the cover of their books OVER the title? Their name is the selling point.
Their name sells because they have fans.
They have fans because they have enriched people’s lives and added value with their work.
You can have fans too. You can enrich people’s lives and add value.
Entering the Mix
How do you “sell” yourself without putting a naughty ad on Craigslist?
It’s simple. Just be yourself and contribute original ideas or content to the world at large, on a regular basis.You will build a following of people if you add value to their lives.
Build a big enough footprint of enriching content and your exposure and reputation will grow exponentially. You are giving freely to a community. In return, you will become a member of that community. It’s the genesis of respect and fame.
Bill Gates proclaimed, “content is king” back in the mid 90’s. It’s still a relevant and factual statement. People consume content if it has value.
Social media provides thousands of outlets where you can provide valuable content to other people. Instead of just being a consumer of social media, or worse, a spammer of irrelevant content, be that person that gives something worth having.
Do it often enough, and you will have a fan base of your own.
To get that content out to others, you need to “enter the mix” and establish a presence on several web-based outlets.
- Social networks like Facebook or GoodReads are a nice place to start.
- Twitter has become an entity in itself, with the useful purpose of broadcasting ideas and content quickly.
- The genre or topic blogs you frequent are outposts where content you enjoy is aggregated and disseminated to others.
- Your own author blog is your hub of all things you, and is your focal point and home base. You need a presence in each of these areas, as they serve to introduce your work, your content, to others.
You should have a presence on the following:
- Twitter (1)
- Social Networks (2+) (Facebook, GoodReads, LibraryThing, G+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc)
- Genre/Topic Specific Blogs (4+) (There are millions of these, find your niche!)
- Author Blog (1)
The “Twice Method”
To ensure you get enough exposure to matter, or reach critical mass for growth, follow the simple “Twice Method” as the bare minimum. For more details on exactly what the “Twice Method” is and how to use it to skyrocket your online presence, check back next week for Part 2 of this post!
Tracy R. Atkins has been a career technology aficionado since he was young. He is a passionate writer whose stories intertwine technology with exploration of the human condition. Tracy is also the self-published author of the singularity fiction novel Aeternum Ray.