When home computers first came out, the general sentiment of many “experts” was that they would never catch on. Similar sentiments were expressed when the Internet started, and when e-mail was introduced into corporate life
There will always be naysayers when any significant change comes along that impacts the way we do business. But can you imagine your life today without computers? The Internet? E-mail? (I know some of us would like to imagine life without e-mail, but I know very few people who have managed to do away with it in their lives completely!)
The same is true of social media. It’s not just a fad. It’s not going away. And ignoring it won’t help!
How and Why Social Media Won’t Go Away
Social media is all about relationships. As with any relationship, it can have a different context for each connection. There are some people I’m friendly with, others I buy from, I have best friends, a support network, people I ask advice of and collaborate with, and others I learn from. That’s “in the real world,” but it’s true also on social media.
One of my books, The Character-Based Leader, was written with people I met on Twitter. I share ideas with other authors and entrepreneurs, and talk about social media with clients and prospects on Facebook. I have been hired multiple times for speaking engagements and project work by people who found me on LinkedIn and on my blog. Slideshare helps establish my expertise as hundreds of people have viewed my content, and hundreds more follow my Pinterest boards.
Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing there is, and much of it takes place on the Internet these days.
My sister recently broke a storm window in her home, the same week it was being put on the market. After calling many different shops to get it fixed (all of whom said it would take 2 to 6 weeks to do), one place fixed it for her while she waited. No sooner had she left the shop than she’d posted a review on Yelp, and shared her story on Facebook. If I lived in St. Cloud, I know who I’d work with if I needed a window repaired!
Of course, when I commented on her post, saying how happy I was that she’d found a great business to help her, all of my friends saw the comment as well. Oh, and the same is true of the friends of everyone else who happened to comment on and like that post.
The same is true when someone posts a review of your book online, likes your Amazon listing, or shares that they just purchased a copy of your book. Social sharing is important marketing capital, and you always want to make it as easy as possible for someone to talk about what you’ve written.
That said, you also want to participate in the conversation! Respond, build relationships, ask for reader feedback, etc. The usefulness of social media is only limited by your imagination.
Want to select the best cover for your new book? Poll your social network! Let your fans choose it.
Have a few different story ideas, and wondering which one’s most likely to sell? Get reader feedback, quickly and easily.
Heading to a speaking engagement or book signing in an unfamiliar town? Find out who is in the area, and what hotel, restaurant and local attractions they recommend. And invite them to the event!
People buy from individuals they know, like and trust. Social media makes you approachable, establishes your expertise, and allows you greater interaction with your readers than ever before.
As Jody Hedlund points out in Social Media for Writers: A Kool-Aid Drinking Cult?:
“I’ve found the barriers that once separated people seem to fall away on social media.”
I’m not loyal to my favorite restaurant as much as I’m loyal to the experience that makes me feel welcomed and cared for when I go there. The same is true in reaching out to people on social media. You can reach out to journalists, teachers, consultants, politicians, institutions, corporations, and many other formerly unapproachable contacts, and have genuine and authentic conversations now.
If you question whether relationships are important, let me share from our own experience.
In recent weeks, here at Aleweb, we’ve been hired to create multiple Facebook pages and WordPress websites, edit a book, format eBooks, and create a series of mobile apps, all from word of mouth. Some came as referrals from existing clients, others from social media, blogging and web searches.
Yet it’s our relationship-building skills that make the difference here. The barriers to knowing your service provider as more than just a brand have fallen away. So, what have you got to lose?
Want to learn more about using social media to build these kinds of relationships and promote your book online? Check out The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books.
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