Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

Friday, July 7, 2017

The One Thing You Need to Know About Social Media


I have said this before:
"Social media is social."
Despite how often this is said by me and other social media types, people continue to miss the point of networking via social media. In case you missed it, the point is that it's social.

What does "social media is social" mean exactly?

To be social is to interact, to listen as well as talk, to get to know others as they get to know you.

I know the dance of socializing doesn't come naturally to everyone. The beauty of online interaction is that if you really kind of hate people you can mask your natural distaste for human interaction. If you are a bit shy, it's easy to put your best foot forward and make connections that would be harder to make face-to-face. If you'e extroverted and not the best listener, you can work on that in the digital realm as well. 

The key takeaways about being social on social media are A, listen more than you talk; B, express interest in others' lives and work; C, respond to people who talk to you first; and D, it means do NOT immediately shove what you're selling or doing at people that you don't know--and who don't know you.

Social media networking basics

If you keep the above in mind as you handle your business and personal social accounts, you'll do well. You might want something more concrete, though, and this section is here to deliver useful steps you can start taking today.

  1. Choose two or three people you want to try to get to know. Maybe they're in your field. Maybe in a similar field. Maybe you admire them and want to be a little more like them.

    Be realistic in your picks. You aren't going to be BFFs with the most famous people in the world because you tweeted them once or twice. You want to choose people who are active on the social media platform you're using, who respond to people, and are willing to network.

    Follow them.
     
  2. Choose two or three people who may be potential customers or readers. These can be anyone expressing interest in the kinds of things you do. You can use searches on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to find people's public posts about your topic.

    Follow them.
     
  3. With both cases, you'll want to set aside time each day (even a few minutes if that's all you have). With that time, you'll read what those people have shared. If it's appropriate, comment. If not, you can still throw a like their way. If you have a question that relates to the topic they are posting about, then ask in the comments/reply section.

    Be slow and gentle. See how things go. If you don't get a response the first time, try again another day.

    People have to see your name multiple times before you'll seem familiar to them, so don't get discouraged. It can be a long process and given how busy and inundated some people are, it won't always work.

    Don't internalize this stuff. It is a big world out there and you'll find success if you keep going. So keep going!

    On the other side of this coin, when they do reply, don't gush or go nuts, either. One or two replies doesn't mean you have made an intimate friendship.

    Beware the false sense of intimacy that can be fostered by social media. Be reserved and polite and give a person plenty of space and time to get to know you. Your interactions all add up to how people perceive you, also known as your "personal brand".
     
  4. As you are comfortable, start the process over with  new people. Continue your efforts beyond the first few people you try it with.

    Growing an audience can be slow and tedious sometimes, but keep at it. There are more advanced moves for growing audience that I can discuss in another blog post, but this is a great way to get started. It will help you get a feel for networking and connecting online. Indeed, learning about networking and social interactions will help with your face-to-face interactions, too!
     
  5. If you feel a need to unfollow someone, please do. You don't have to stay following the same people forever if the connection isn't working out for you--for any reason.

    That said, don't follow and unfollow people as a technique to grow your numbers. It's against my own ethical code, and against the spirit of real networking. Techniques like those may work for short-term gains, but it will not grow you a loyal and lasting fan base/network.

    In a related vein, I talk more about why you shouldn't buy followers here.
Those are the first steps as I see them. Have you ever tried this? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments or through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fall Workshops: First Lead-Up Exercise for Twitter




Hello again, everyone! I have two social media for authors workshops coming in September, one in Pickering and one in Brampton. In preparation I have exercises participants can work on over the summer. They will then bring the results with them to the workshop on the day they attend.

Since I am doing this in conjunction with BeNovel Marketing Services, the exercise is hosted on its site. Go take a look, and if you are in or have friends in the GTA, please share this with writers you think may be interested. Early-bird pricing has a few weeks to go and you won't want to miss out on the hefty discount for getting in on it early!

Register here (scroll down, the registration is right on the page), and view the Twitter Challenge exercise here.

Coming soon: tips for editing comic book scripts.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Handle Social Media Missteps: Book Marketing without B.S. #9

Twitter is often an important tool in the writer's networking arsenal. It's fast, it's short, it's connected. Author Peter V. Brett was reminded last week that those strengths are also its obstacles. Today's blog post is to illustrate that being careful how you compose tweets about controversial or sensitive topics makes a difference, and how you handle it when you misstep makes an even bigger difference. (And if you're active and engaged, it is likely that you will at some point make a social media mistake.)

A Social Media Problem is Born

Last week's genre author twitterstorm was set off when Peter retweeted the following:


How did you read this tweet? Some people took it as he intended (more on that later), but many, many people took Peter to mean any number of things like "It's not fair I can't have more rape without people complaining about it" to "I am making light of a serious topic" to many other things, none of which he intended. It should be noted that Peter has had some controversy about rape in his novels before too, so--fairly or not--he may already have people feeling unsure about his sensitivity.

So he didn't mean it? You'd think I was just taking his word for it; but,  here is his next tweet, posted just a minute after the first one:


If you saw the second tweet, you'd likely get a meaning closer to what Peter intended; but, the problem with Twitter is that the tweets flow by fast and furious, and seeing one is never a guarantee someone will see the next one. I am guilty of dividing thoughts up into two tweets sometimes, so I can understand why it would happen. The low character count feels too limiting sometimes; but, this is a lesson to us all that a complete thought in one tweet is a best practice, especially when it's a sensitive topic such as rape. So what can you do to prevent this on the front end?

Stop and Think

While Peter's intention was good, much like editing in your writing, his meaning would have been much clearer if his second tweet had been his first tweet, and there had never been a second tweet at all. Usually you can be casual on Twitter, but when sharing (again, especially sensitive material,) it is best that you take a moment and consider how it might look to someone else. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine. If you're creating  and writing, this should be something you already do anyway.

It is important to always remember that the only thing we're in control of as is what we say. We can not control how others perceive what we've written, how they'll feel about it, or what they'll say about it. 

Best Way to Handle a Social Media Problem

Problems like Peter's really can happen to anyone. The internet moves so much faster than you could ever anticipate, and it seems bad news travels further and faster than good news. We all have the potential to tweet something that either we should just plain not have said at all, or more commonly, that will be taken in a different way than intended. Maybe you'll realize it right away and delete it in time. Maybe you won't. And if you don't, and you want to handle it with grace, dignity, and humility. In my estimation, Peter handled this (mostly) well. What lessons can you draw? Here is what he did right:

His response was swift
Instead of letting it fester without comment (one of the worst things you can do with your "brand",) he replied quickly and profusely. No one could doubt Peter was doing his best to manage the issue in a timely manner.

He stayed calm and rational
He got a defensive at a few points (more on this and the language of apology later), but given the harshness of some people's reactions and how fast things were moving, I can understand his feeling how he did about it. Overall he kept it sane and decent. He never called names, he never got into any nastiness beyond initial defensiveness.

He expressed remorse
He apologized numerous times and admitted he could have done better and that he understood the other people's points of view.

He had humility
Even to defenders, Peter said he understood how the tweet was interpreted and expressed that he wished he could have handled things differently. He could have just soaked up his numerous supporters' comments and used them to say "See? You people who misinterpreted this are just plain wrong!" but, he did better than that. Here is a good example:


Finally, he put his money to work by donating to a related charity

This was a class act kind of a move, and can never hurt.



What should you do if you have a social media problem?


React quickly, calmly, and evenly as possible
You'll undoubtedly be feeling emotions such as defensiveness, anger, annoyance, and embarrassment; but, from a public relations standpoint you have to put those on the back burner. If you are not able to do that--at least in writing--ask a trusted friend for help in composing your response.

Also, take responsibility completely
That's the one area Peter could have improved on. His apologies were touched with the "I apologize to those who took my comment that way" and " I apologize for wording that could be interpreted as such". This (I assume unintentionally) serves to put some of the responsibility back on the offended party, and also doesn't indicate any sympathy for the people who were upset--which is important in smoothing over feelings. Better phrasing would have been something along the lines of, "To those I hurt by my earlier tweet, I offer my apologies. I was not careful in composing my earlier RT. I'll do better in the future." It removes the "if you took it wrong" language, and turns it into "I am 100% accountable" language. Even if you don't fully feel that way on the emotional level, that's how you apologize. That's how you take responsibility.

I should also say that I don't mean to pick on Peter. He did well on the spot and under a lot of pressure. He is not trained in PR and let's be real: writers don't have the money to have staff to help with this sort of thing. I was simply inspired to write about it to help all of you understand how easily this might happen to you, and more importantly how to handle your own social media problem situations as they come up.

I hope you found this useful. I'd be interested to see other situations you think were handled well (or handled badly) if you want to share them in the comments.

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here, and please send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com. Thank you for your continued support!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coming Soon: Calls for Submission Column

In the next week or two I'll have the first of a reoccurring column aggregating calls for submission. It will be by Selene MacLeod who also administers the successful Facebook group Calls for Submissions (Poetry, Fiction, Art).

If this is what you like to see, sign up for email notifications of new posts so that you don't miss a thing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Buy Followers: Book Marketing without B.S. #1

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach.

The marketing and publicity worlds are important for understanding audience and customers, and getting the right word out to the right people; but, let's be honest. There's also a lot of bullshit. My goal is to help you cut through the B.S. with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow.

Welcome to my inaugural Book Marketing withouth BS column. Today's question was asked anonymously, and it's about purchasing followers on Twitter (and by extension, purchasing likes/on other blogs and social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).

The short answer to this is "Don't do it". Below is the breakdown on why, but first, I should say that other people have written about this. Just Google "Should I buy Twitter followers" (without quotes) and you'll find other discussion.

Here are more thoughts on the topic, and be sure to leave yours in the comments. I'll share the best in my next post.

1 - It's dishonest, and if you're found out, people will think less of you. Remember what happened to President Obama and Mitt Romney in the recent election cycle?

1.1 - It's also pretty corny. Honestly. See #2.

2 - It's much more obvious than you think. If you're not famous, but you have tens of thousands of followers (and you're only following a small number yourself), no one is going to believe you've got that many followers. Really, really.

There are people I know and otherwise respect that I am certain have purchased followers. I feel bad for them in the way you feel bad for someone who buys a bad hair piece or who has a comb-over. They don't seem to feel good enough as they actually are, and so they try covering it up. They don't need to do it though--they're already cool on their own. They're just looking for an easy way to get a boost, not realizing that there's no easy way with social media. More on this later.

One other note: Facebook's analytics tell anyone where a page's audience is, not just the page owner. One of the people I know had around 85% of his followers from a former Russian republic. It's there for all to see, and it looks plain bad.

3 - Most importantly: it won't deliver results. There may be a few little metrics here and there that will boost, but mostly it won't work. Why? Well, if you're paying for followers, and the vast majority of them are fake/inactive, you are not expanding your audience at all. You're only buying a bigger number and nothing more.

The 30,000 followers you bought? None of them are going to buy your graphic novel. They aren't going to share your book with anyone. If they do--by some crazy chance--they're sharing it with other fakes. It's a waste of your time and money, and you don't have enough of either, right?

It's possible a few people who stumble across you will be impressed with your numbers, but you know what? If you're posting useful, relevant stuff already, they'd have followed you when they stumbled across you with or without high numbers. Also, the more savvy people get about fake followers, the more likely it is to be a turnoff. Once again, I refer you to #2.

In all my research I saw no one, even anonymously, saying that they were thrilled with their results (aside from a few stray blog comments that were so awkward and ham-handed that they were obviously from people who sell the fake followers). Surely someone out there would boost them if they were effective, but I don't see that. Have you seen a trustworthy source ever say it was a good idea? I personally have not.

I also interviewed three people who have bought followers or likes, some on Twitter, some on Facebook. (And yes, I know this is not a scientific sample. I just wanted some directly shared anecdotes!) All three of them say they saw no tangible results. Two of them are specifically unhappy and regretful and one has neutral emotions about it. One said that some of the Facebook "likes" occasionally interact with his page, but that there's been no boost in sales. That person also wonders whether it might have made more sense for his business if he'd waited. I concede that it is possible that this purchaser might appear a bit more often as a suggested page on Facebook because of the likes; however, I still think it won't likely boost sales since the purchased followers have zero emotional connection/interest with you or your product/service.

The main thing to remember is that it's really tempting to buy followers for many reasons. Some of that is what I mentioned above: feeling unsure, desperate, insecure, worried. Some people are more mercenary and genuinely think that they're going to improve their standing on social media and they see it as legitimate. I can understand all of those reasons and more. You want to look good. I get it, but this isn't the way.

"So how do I build audience?", you ask. It's actually not too difficult. The problem is it takes time and effort, and that's why it's hard. Time is short. We're all tired and hoping for a shortcut. The only good way is to interact with people. Share other people's content and ideas. Share about your dog, your wife, your kids--and also your books and creations. Try not to let all of (or even the vast majority of) your tweets be "BUY MY BOOK" stuff or "READ THIS EXCERPT NOW!" stuff. Some rules of thumb say 10% of your stuff should be about your stuff. I think that may be about right. Some weeks it will be more, some weeks it will be less. Mainly remember that (and yes, I am repeating myself) social media is social. Be a real, integrated human being who sometimes shares his or her work, and you will build a following.

Will you ever have a million followers? Almost certainly not. The followers you have, though? They're actually interested in YOU. Respect them. Cultivate them.

Check out Zenni Optical on Twitter. Whomever does their social media is skilled at building loyalty and feelings of community. They tweet back to people who mention them. They ask about what the potential customer is interested in. Not only are they building followers with genuine interest and interactivity, but they're offering a good, high-touch customer experience and that's going to garner a healthy percentage of followers who are likely to spend money. Not only that, but Zenni is getting real data from consumers about what they like and don't like, and what products are popular. This is incredibly valuable information.

"But, I'm dark and serious and not that social. Plus I don't sell glasses. This advice sucks!" you say. OK, I'll grant you that. It's not the same thing, selling glasses and selling dark fiction or surreal graphic novels. And, well, yeah, that overly happy voice isn't a good fit for everyone, but that isn't the point. The point is that they are social. They interact. They participate with potential customers instead of broadcast, so despite that perkiness that may not appeal to you, those principles are the same, and I'll cover them more specifically (along with examples that you may find more relevant) in next week's column.

Thanks for joining me for the inaugural Book Marketing without BS. Let me know what you think, and you have my deep appreciation for reading this far. I hope you come back again, and if you're forgetful like me, you can sign up by email.

Have a questions you'd like to see answered? Email them to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Book Publicity Info: Rates, Advice, and Services

I started a new Facebook page recently for Beverly Bambury Publicity, and I've been using it to share advice, information about my clients' books and appearances, and information about what my fees are to do it. You can follow the page by clicking like, or I'll occasionally do round-up posts of the useful advice and info here on the blog. This is one of those posts.

These Facebook items were inspired by questions from clients and potential clients, so if you have any questions at all about publicity or marketing for your book (including comics) feel free to ask me here in the comments or via email and I'll put together an answer for you that will hopefully be both useful and easy to understand. Here are the first three (slightly edited for this different format):
  • Think you can't afford a publicist? This has been the most frequently asked question I've had so far and I think it's well worth answering honestly and directly.

    So... how much does it cost? The short answer is "it depends on your situation and your needs", but I know you want something concrete, so here it is:

    As of this writing basic, à la carte book publicity fees start as low as $80 and premium publicist service fees start with flat-rate packages priced as low as $200. Note that these prices may increase over time.
  • I was recently asked, "What about book trailers?" This is a tough one. They are expensive to produce and difficult to get right. But, when they are right they can be a fantastic tool in the publicity arsenal, if only in that they give you something to share beyond text.

    On the other hand, there is no evidence that book trailers are a lot of help sales-wise. Trailers seem to be a gamble: if it goes viral--even somewhat--then it's worth more than you could have spent on it. Unfortunately, no one can guarantee a video will go viral.

    So is it worth the expense? The jury is still out on this one. The main advice I can give is this: if you can get it done tastefully, with professional quality, and with an interesting hook, go for it. If not, it may be best to wait to do a book trailer.
  • Another common question is "Just what is it you do?" My specialty is media contact/blog tour. This service uses my professional research background to find out which media outlets and bloggers have the best fit for you and your work in subject matter and theme interest, as well as site traffic and likely influence.

    I then craft personalized correspondence to each contact and then (depending on which service you've chosen) I will field all your replies and handle appearance scheduling on your behalf. I can even provide deadline and topic reminders if you have Q&A or guest blogs scheduled. (It has also been noted that I can provide a shoulder to cry on or a partner for enthusiastic swearing sessions!)

    Other services include, but are not limited to: social media advice and coaching, press kit creation, press releases where applicable, and blurb solicitation (with ample lead time).

    Have a question about whether or not I can handle your request? Just send me a message and we'll discuss it. If it isn't something I can do, I'll help you find someone who can.
Keep asking those questions and I'll answer them as best I can, and if you have tips to share with other authors share them below.

(Originally published on my personal blog, http://www.elsewords.com)