Sharing the fun and creativity in my world and encouraging the same in yours.

Do You Connect?

Today I read a wonderful post written by Jody Hedlund. She is the author of The Doctor’s Lady and I always find her blog posts well worth the read with helpful tips and insights for readers and writers alike.

Her post, Putting the “Social” Back in Social Media struck a chord with me so much that as I was writing a comment on her blog, it became a post.

Are you on the fence about chatting with your readers/followers even when they’re basically sitting right next to you? Do you feel it’s too much effort to share or comment or begin a dialogue and instead choose to ignore them? If so, you’re missing out on a tremendous experience!

Ms. Hedlund writes that she’s

“…observed a disturbing trend among the writing community on social media sites–the lack of interaction.” and that “…particularly Twitter–has become one big infomercial.”

She’s talking about spamming, of course. Where writers or wanna-be-writers do nothing but post promotional tweets sometimes as often as a dozen times a day filling their followers Twitter feeds with nothing but spam. There is no interaction. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a personal tweet or even a response tweet to anyone in their feed. They don’t want to share themselves nor do they care about who follows them, as long as they can promote their book. They are all about quantity of followers (Facebook way of life) rather than quality of followers (Twitter way of life). All they want are sales, fame, and fortune, and they want them NOW. 😦

Here’s an Image For You

When I see these sorts of tweets in my Twitter feed, I imagine someone standing outside their home on their porch waving a bright orange flag with a megaphone yelling, “BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! I’LL JUST DIE IF YOU DON’T BUY MY BOOK!!”

Of course, all of the neighbors are safely tucked away inside their homes hoping this lunatic will simply shut up and leave them alone. I mean, after all, who does he think he is asking us to buy his book when he’s never shown an interest of any kind towards them? Snap goes the blinds. In Twitter’s case, the Unfollow button works just fine.

Now, I don’t think that’s the image this writer realizes he’s conjuring for his followers. In his desperation, assumptions are made (right or wrong). Those assumptions usually include the following: he is a self-published author that hasn’t bothered to invest time in numerous edits and re-writes, nor invest money into professional editing or strong cover art, and certainly hasn’t done his homework on marketing and social media. He’s probably not worth a read. Ouch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New writers (or anyone new to social media with a product or service to sell) need to realize you are there to connect *not* to sell. If you do connect, you’ll automatically sell. How much? Well, that depends on many unknown and known factors, plus a good deal of luck. Even the Big Six Publishers realize there is an “unknown” factor involved. You just never know what will truly resonate with the public and motivate them to buy a book (or any product).

Fully Interacting and Being Successful on Twitter

I realize we live in a culture of instant gratification and there are many new writers seeking, nay demanding, instant fame and financial success with their blog or their self-publishing endeavor. They are panicked and desperate for attention and sales. This is very unfortunate. They are missing what social media really is about: a way to globally connect with people, not just ‘follow’ or be ‘followed’. And, in order to connect, you must interact.

Personally, I love Twitter and have carried on many successful discussions and worthwhile chats via this social media platform. And for those who continue to say Twitter isn’t good for such things? I politely say to  them, “You’re wrong. That is not my experience. I have lots of valuable, fun, helpful conversations with people on Twitter!”

Once you start a conversation, it’s easy to continue it! Even a simple back-and-forth of “Love your post about…couldn’t agree more!” and/or “Thank you!” establishes a rapport. 🙂

I have chatted with astronomers, gardeners, well-known writers/authors, literary agents, publishers, moms and dads, successful bloggers, HR people (in Australia!), tech people, and many more intelligent, thought-provoking, helpful, successful, and articulate people on Twitter. It’s quite satisfying and a whole lot of fun!

And that is what social media is all about: sharing, helping, having fun, and establishing/creating relationships.

That’s what creates readers, followers, and traffic to your blog, site, or account. Not spamming. Not sending out a dozen tweets all within two minutes in the hope of “trying to keep up blog traffic every day.” That writer will remain anonymous. I tried to discreetly (via DM) tell him what he was doing was considered spam and most people won’t click through to read one of those 12 posts much less ANY of them when you flood their Twitter feed like that. It just doesn’t work that way.

But, interacting takes time!

Yes, it does but not as much time as you think it does. Set your timer and spend 15 minutes catching up on your Twitter feed. You can respond to a few people in only 30 seconds. Then, post 2-3 times a day about your day, your pet, your editing, your writing. Once a week, promote your book tactfully. On your Twitter profile page, make sure you have your site or blog url address so people can click through to see who this nice and/or interesting person is and what they write! It’s quite do-able. 🙂

It’s like that adage: Do what you love and the money will follow. Well, write about what you love (and be sincere/authentic), and people will follow. Forget about sales and fame. Begin a blog or Twitter account because you want to connect, because you’re curious, because you see it as a fun adventure!

Don’t do it if your primary reason is to get sales. Even major companies are finding out about that flaw. Build a relationship with your customers and you’ll have customers for life. Don’t…and you won’t. It’s really that simple.

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.

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Comments on: "How Do You Connect on Social Media Or Don’t You?" (2)

  1. LIsa, I appreciate this post. It is very good timing for me. I too enjoy Jody Hedlund. I respect her methods. When I began a blog it was crazy intimidating to me. To put my name as the header of a blog felt counter intuitive to me but I was told that was the way to brand yourself and Jody did it, so I jumped in with both feet and I have felt like I was drowning ever since. Her way of approaching blogging appealed to me because I felt like I was listening to a person. I like the simplicity of her posts, direct and logical. I like how she defines her brand: books, reading, and writing books.

    I’ve made all the mistakes you are talking about simply because I can’t get my mind around what I am supposed to do. I am a face to face friend. I don’t chat on the phone and haven’t since my first child was born. I’m not comfortable popping off a tweet that says, “I’m taking the boys to sword fighting now. Or, writing today is so tough. My mind just won’t participate with my story.” It still feels like –look at me and what I’m doing.

    Recently, I bowed out of social media and focused completely on my writing. I’m not published yet and so that is the most important thing. My high school literature club just started back up so I’ve jumped back in to social media, FB, Twitter, blogging and my writing suffers.

    Why in the world am I going on and on with a total stranger, I wonder. It must be that I sense you understand this invisible world and I really don’t want to be the person hanging out a giant orange flag when my book gets published. I hope i haven’t bored you. If you have any advice I am willing to listen.

    I want to know the time to spend weekly on blogging, Twitter, FB. And if I get the timing worked out then I need to know what in the world to say to these invisible worlds that I feel comfortable doing on an ongoing basis.
    Sincerely,
    Baffled.

    • Hi Ali, Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I’m sorry for taking so long to respond but WordPress thought you were a spammer and put you in my Spam folder, so I didn’t receive a notification that I had a comment awaiting approval.

      I took some time and visited your site to see if I could help. I can see your confusion. I can also see at least six pages that can be deleted since they are either not active at all (blank) or they are duplications of other pages. I also can see where you can merge a couple of pages to be more cohesive for yourself and your readers.

      I began writing some advice and tips for you here but there was too much to say! The Reply got far too long. lol Your questions and concerns are very common for writers and bloggers. As a result, I have at least two blog posts written. I hope you don’t mind me responding to you via a post. Your questions will help so many others.

      Please remember when you read the posts, know they are addressed to you, (anyone else that benefits from the information is a bonus). I’ve written up drafts already and am doing final editing. I’ll let you know in the comments section and also on Twitter when I’ve posted them. Hang in there! Clarification and help is on the way! 🙂

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