Networking and Social Media, an Article Series
I recently took an RWA class on “Networking 101,” taught by NY Times and US Today bestselling author, Catherine Bybee. I learned a lot about social networking, both the good and the bad things I do, and how to be more effective. I want to share some of what I learned over the next several weeks. I will not be quoting from the class, as I presume that is copyrighted, but I’ll give my impressions and the take-away messages I got. I hope that each article in this series will be useful to you, but don’t feel like you need to read them in order. Feel free to pick and choose topics that interest you.
I do think these ideas pertain to all persons who want to network, whether about books or other business pursuits.
Why Social Networking Is Important
Marketers can be pretty divided when it comes to the value of social media. Some people try it but don’t really have the right strategy. Others have an okay strategy but don’t have the persistence.
The main problem comes with people are looking for a magical strategy that will bring them tons of traffic with little to no work. Or when they see social media as a popularity contest. We authors fall into this trap all the time. We’re a competitive bunch, whether we like to admit it or not, and when someone is garnering more attention or more “likes” we wonder if it’s something we’ve done wrong.
Success with social media isn’t about how popular you “look,” it’s about using the right strategies and working at it (notice I said strategies, with that terminal s, because there is definitely no one way to succeed).
Social media is fascinating because it can be used wastefully. It is a social space where people share pictures of their dinners and all their diet tips. I’m as guilty of this as the next person. It’s also a place where people share their ups and downs, their boring days and their drama-filled days. It’s very easy to lose yourself in social media for hours with nothing to show for it. That’s part of the reason why some people suggest that social media doesn’t work.
Social Media: A Place to Waste Time
Instead of thinking about how much time you waste there and chucking the whole idea, think about its possibilities. You want traffic which leads to sales. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have a ton of traffic. People from all walks of life and interests visit those sites religiously. Sometimes for pleasure, sometimes to solve a problem or find something they want. Sometimes they use it to keep track of the sites and authors they already know and love (this could be you!).
Your job is to tap into the traffic that already exists and funnel it to your own site or that Amazon link you really want them to click on. You want to build a great relationship with people who will be interested in your books or service. There are many people using social media the right way and many using it the wrong way.
There’s a great piece on this from Publishers Weekly’s “BookLife” blog. It talks about what authors often do wrong, and what they can do to change those things.
This article series will give you some ideas about how to do it the right way. You don’t have to spend a ton of money (or any money, really) on driving traffic to your products. You can use the traffic that already exists.
These are the rah-rah, introductory things I think ought to be considered. Next week, we’ll move on to why some people are negative about social media. Could it be because they haven’t figured out how to use it to their own ends?