In the previous post in this series, I discussed ways to attract followers. I asked you to imagine a business networking luncheon at which you were trying to make contacts. In business, the person who develops bonds with contemporaries and caters to their needs is often very successful.
I believe using these same tactics can skyrocket your social networking presence. In this posting, I will discuss why bonding is important and ways to use bonding in social networking.
Many new social network marketeers have a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude. I know I did when I started off. Could someone’s 3542 Twitter followers lead to potential sales? Should I like someone’s Facebook page or comment on their blog on a quid pro quo basis? The first time I did this was when someone suggested it on a LinkedIn discussion group. I thought it sounded great until I realized it was a sort of pyramid scheme and not very honest. I want to drive my ranking with genuine likes, not with bribes. You can’t create a relationship with a bang-bang-thank-you-ma’am approach.
Bonding is building relationships
Social networking is so named because it is, well, social. People like interactions. They like one-on-one discussions, even in 140-character tweets. I have had conversations that spill over to additional tweets. The more often you engage someone in discussions, the deeper the bonding. The deeper the bonding, the greater the loyalty.
Remember the lyrics for “J. C. Superstar” by the Who, “What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happening”? People want to be cued in. Use social media to fill their curiosity. Let your personality shine, but don’t make it all about yourself. People want something of value. Offer advice, discuss or link to things that interest you and your readers.
Listing your favorite topics on your profile or header helps people decide whether to follow you or not. I advise restating these topics in your welcome letter or tweet: “Thanks for following. I tweet about travel, writing, and indie publishing.”
Be reciprocative. Follow back, but selectively. Because I don’t want to alienate or bore my followers, I don’t follow in-your-face promoters, politicians, or extremely philosophically different persons.
Be dynamic and current. No one enjoys stale news.
Only follow the social media sites for which you have time. It is better to be active on only a few sites than to spread yourself too thinly. Every so often, evaluate your progress. Add or change sites as needed.
Have fun—it will make all the difference.
- Discuss book promotions, links to rave reviews, or characters in your book.
- Let your readers know you as a person: talk about your writing, why you write, your favorite kind of books, what you are reading, even about your cats, especially if they are featured in your book.
- Provide valuable benefit-oriented content.
- Promote other writers, tweeters, and bloggers. They too can be part of your tribe.
- Survey your readers, especially about possible titles, characters, plots, etc., and then report the results of the survey. Surveys are interactive and your readers will love the opportunity to have a say in your next project.
- Engage with your followers. This is the number one way to bond.
- On Facebook: like their pages, comment on their Newsfeeds.
- On Twitter: retweet their messages, use DM (direct messages), thank them for a tweet with a retreet or a shout out.
- On LinkedIn or Google+, comment on their postings, include them in your circles and discussions.
- On Pinterest, follow their pertinent boards and repin appropriately.
Retain your followers with follow-ups (thank them for following, comments, retweets, etc. A personal touch goes a long way.
- Try to hard sell your book—no one likes that.
- Forget respect and one-on-one contact.
- Bad-mouth another writer or compare your books to theirs unless it is favorable.
- Focus on acquisition of new followers
- Follow everyone.
- Spend too much time on social media. It can become all-encompassing: set limits.
Places to bond as an author
In addition to the more common social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, Goggle+, Pinterest, your blog), authors have many author-related sites they can use to bond with their readers.
- Goodreads allows you to set up a profile, post a blog, and display a video. More than 25 million readers go to this site for reviews, information about books, and interactions with authors. This is a great place for you to engage your readers with promotions, questionnaires, or generate buzz about an upcoming book. Check out their author program for more details on how to bond with your readers on this site.
- On Amazon’s Author Central you can set up a More About the Author page. This is not as interactive as Goodreads, but it can provide your readers with more information about you and links to your other sites.
- Shelfari (owned by Amazon) is another place that readers go for reviews. As a writer, you can use this site to add information about plot, characters, and interesting book data.
Check sites particular to your genre. Some have author discussion groups.
What tips would you offer for getting someone’s social media presence to soar. What worked or hasn’t worked for you? Please leave a comment.