I’m terrible at acting on my social media knowledge, so feel free to skip this post to avoid a “do as I say, not as I do” lecture. But I hope you stick with me to better learn from my mistakes and my experiences.
First, social media is a great professional tool, but only if you use it effectively. Now, when most people read a statement like that, they assume the key to using social media effectively for professional purposes is to use it like a business tool.
Social media exists for one reason and one reason only: People like to connect. They may love you. They may hate you. But if they are passionate about you, they want to connect with you. Social media gives you the means to connect with others effectively, without being consumed in the process.
Big name celebrities, whether they’re actors, politicians, or authors, hire people to read and respond to their fan mail. Or maybe to read it and assess it for threats. Or both.
Social media empowers professionals to be more responsive, with less investment, to the people who want to connect with them. The key take aways here are 1) it’s “less investment” not “no investment” or, in other words, you will need to invest yourself in your social media (or hire a ghost to do it for you) and 2) people have to want to connect with you, which means you have to give them a reason to be passionate about you.
Now, I know this. But I don’t do it. Before this week, I hadn’t been on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Goodreads) for over a year. The first time I got on Twitter, I responded to a post on my feed about somebody else’s novel. I’d never heard of the person or the book, but it looked intriguing, so I said so.
If that was all that happened, then there would have been nothing to it. I see books that intrigue me all the time, but I have neither the time nor the money to indulge in all of them. I didn’t even think about buying the book. Then, I checked my e-mail and one fan had responded to my post and a lot more fans had responded to hers. It was a convincing avalanche of support! So, I bought the book and announced it on Twitter, congratulating them on the successful sale.
In the world of social media, little interactions like this can become huge. I’m not saying this one will, but I know it can. Even going a little bit viral can make a world of difference for an Indie author trying to gain support for her work.
And since I’m soon to have a published book, I want the possibility of that happening to me. If you have a published book, I’m sure you can say the same. But to have that possibility, you have to 1) invest yourself in social media and 2) give people a reason to be passionate about you.
(If you want me to tell you how to do that, please let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to assume you already know.)