October 29, 2013

Literal versus Virtual Followers

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine

Social Media. We all use it. This is where we share information with people.  For an author this is supposed to be very helpful. Let’s see, what would be an author’s goal? An author needs to tell the people about their book. Is that your goal? They need to entice people to follow them. Is that your goal? How about, getting them to buy your book, is that your goal? Maybe all three combined are your goal. Let’s go back in time for a few minutes.

Do you remember what it was like before the Internet? Do you remember how we socialized? 

We would meet someone, introductions made, and then we would proceed to find out about the person? Within a few minutes, we would determine if we wanted to get to know this person or to move on and meet someone else. Do you also remember we tried to find what we had in common with the person? What we actually did was share with that person information about ourselves. Once we determined we liked each other we then moved on to eventually sharing ideas. In many ways, that is what the Social Media is today. Instead of an actual meeting, it is a virtual meeting.

When we meet someone in person, we can see each other visually.  On Social Media, the only way they see us is by the picture we upload. If possible, unless you are writing under a different name, put your picture on Social Media. Many people are hesitant to engage with someone who has no face. If you can’t use your picture, then use your latest book cover. At least that goes with your branding. This should be your first step in developing your above goals.

Now it is time to tell them a little about you and have them tell you a little about them. That’s where we run into problems. We don’t get much feedback in Social Media sometimes. Therefore, I would suggest you go back to the fundamentals, tell them something about you. Ask them…yes ask them something about themselves. What do they do? What do they like to read? Which genre do they like best? Do they write?  Get to know them. This is a key to unlock your followers on Social Media. 

Spend a little extra time with this on the front end-create relationships-makes friends and they will follow you. Be interested in them. But always keep in mind you also want them to like you as an author. So be sure and talk with them about what they like in books, what they are currently reading, why they like it, etc.

We always tell our friends when we achieve something new, so be sure and tell your friend followers when you have a new book out. Tell them a little about it. Or be smart and as you are writing about the book, talk with them about your book. Get them interested in your book way before you publish and they will be standing there the day it’s released to buy your book, because they were in on it as you were writing the book. This is one of the best ways to create relationships with your readers.

One last thing; when you meet a new friend on the social media highway, find out what other social medias they are on, then tell them you want to follow them on those, and will they follow you.

Treat the person on social media similar to how you would in person and you will have a new friend, who will tell their friends all about you.

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