Showing posts with label Public Relations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Public Relations. 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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teacher, Teach Thyself? Lessons Learned in Marketing Myself

It's been interesting prepping for my upcoming self-promo webinar sessions. Over the last several years I've learned a lot about the different types of writing. Stuff I know both practically and from my education: sales writing, business writing, formal argumentation, Facebook posts, etc. So perhaps ironic would be a better way of describing my efforts instead of interesting; because I didn't do a very good job getting this out the door.

What happened was that I wasn't getting nearly the number of conversions into ticket sales that I would have expected based on the even'ts page views. A couple of days ago it hit me hard: I'd left the Eventbrite page the same text as my rambling blog post. I've fixed it up now, but for this first session it may be too little too late.

So that's my big lesson--more information isn't necessarily better when it comes to sales communication. I do like a nice, dense, informative blog post, (OK. I probably could use editing there, too,) but when you're trying to interest someone, you have to be short, punchy, and get the benefits out there first thing. I didn't do a good job at that.

In any case, learning from mistakes is a valuable part of getting better at anything, whether it's running a business, the craft of writing, relationships, cooking... anything. So embrace the suck, as they say, and figure out what to do better next time.

So what has been your big lesson lately? What are you doing differently these days? If you care to share, how did you realize your mistake?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Self-Planning for Self-Promotion: A Book Marketing without B.S. Web Workshop

I am doing an in-depth online workshop on self-promotion for all authors and comic creators. This isn't just for the self-published, either. If you're published by any house, big or small, you know how much work falls to you for your own book marketing and publicity. In fact, it's telling that my clients primarily fall in the small-to-medium publisher category, with the next largest being major publishing houses. (And yes, I have a few self-published/owner-created comics clients, too!)

Right now there are two dates: Thursday, March 27th at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and Sunday, April 13th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (get those tickets here). I will do this again a few times a year as long as there is interest, so if you miss these, let me know what time is good for you and I will take that into consideration when I schedule the next one. (Also, if you can gather 6 or more people interested in the workshop, I'll create another event at a time chosen by your group.)

Here is a tentative course outline:
  • Pre-Planning
    • Honestly determine your strengths and capabilities
    • Choose the right tools for you
    • CreateSpace and other print-on-demand vs. traditional printing vs. ebook-only
    • Decide whether to create a business entity or publish under your own name
  • First Steps
    • Plan and Outline
    • How far in advance to send review requests?
    • How far in advance to hire help if you are going to?
    • How to get blurbs?
    • Publicity: interviews, guest blogging
    • What about traditional media?
    • One-sheets for mailed books
    • Book trailers and other video
  • Details
    • How many and what type of targets?
    • Get your data right here!
    • Review copies: physical vs. electronic
    • Keep consistent, good records
    • What does return on investment mean in this context?
    • Social media: tips, tricks, and useful apps
  • Obstacles
    • Toughening up to criticism--or how to cope if you can't
    • Connections and networking: more important than you think
    • Growing too fast: slow follower growth is GOOD
    • The importance of honest people
    • Self-publishing and industry respect
  • Q&A
This should all take between 90 minutes and two hours, depending on how many questions there are--and please do bring questions! Also, feel free to email me questions ahead of time if you don't see them addressed in the outline and I'll do my best to work them into the material.

Buy tickets here:
I look forward to meeting with you soon!

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!