Social Media Coach, Need One?
By Tasha Turner
I was asked to do an interview recently and one of the questions asked was why do authors need a social media coach. I found I had a lot to say on the topic. Some of this ties in with building online relationships. The best thing a social media coach can do is teach you the skills you need for building online relationships.
Do you need one?
I don’t actually know that it is. If you know who your target market is and you understand how to connect to your target market without spamming them then you don’t need a social media coach. A social media coach should put most of their focus on concepts and not the tools. Why? The tools change all the time. The concepts of networking, good manners, building a relationship, those don’t change as much. Many would have you believe they do. Marketing has changed. But networking that has not. The medium we use has.
Guest 1. If I was at your house for a dinner party and I started handing out marketing material for my business how would you and the other dinner guest feel? When my wall is covered with “buy my book, please” in many ways that is how many people feel – invaded.
Guest 2. If I’m at your house at a dinner party and start talking about a book I read that I think people at the table would love this would probably start a conversation about books we each love. This is not inappropriate behavior. When this kind of conversation happens on my wall I don’t feel like my space has been invaded instead I’m likely to be pulled into the conversation.
What a Good Coach Teaches
A good social network coach will teach you how to talk about your book and link to it without it feeling like an advertisement. They will teach you how to draw people to your blog where your book is on a sidebar, where you have a “my books” tab. They will teach you how to get your new following to be your sales force without actually doing anything other than writing good books, writing good blogs, and making people on your blog feel cared about.
It Takes Time
Authors have to understand that building these relationships take time. Just like any other relationship. They will not see immediate results. While you are building your platform you should be writing more books so you will have a backlist. If you are writing good books, properly edited, with good covers, and have created a good following, the pieces will begin falling together, and you can make a living as an author. Dean Wesley Smith wrote The New World of Publishing: Making a Living with Your Short Fiction which documents how many years and how much writing/sales you need to make to make a living wage writing. While his method may not work for everyone and he does not advocate doing a lot of social networking (note he writes a blog so he is doing social networking) it illustrates my point about taking time and having many books out there to make a career of writing.
There are No Shortcuts/No Silver Bullet
A good coach will help you understand this so you stop wasting time and money. Putting out poor quality work decreases the chance people will buy your future works. Reputation and word-of-mouth matter. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to sell books. Social media is about building relationships in order to get word-of-mouth recommendations for your books. I say this a lot on Facebook “I’m interested in relationships with real people but not bots”. Social media is supposed to be SOCIAL. If you are relying on automated tools to do the social for you you are failing in social media. Why? Because you are now a BOT. Are you interested in being in a relationship with HootSuite/tribbr/flavor of the month automated posting software? Well if you are not what makes you think I am? If you don’t have time for me why should I have time for you? I’m just asking?
Its critical that authors understand that everything they do on social media, from pictures they post to comments they make reflect them. If you are friending/being followed by readers think before posting or saying something and ask yourself “is this how I want to be seen?”. This does not mean you can’t be yourself. It just means you have to think a bit before posting things. You may need a totally private personal profile and a public author profile. But keep in mind what is on your private file might be shared or copied by a friend and attributed by you and show up on your public profile and done in a totally innocent way.
Questions for You
- What annoys you most about things people post on Facebook or Twitter?
- What automated tools that others use have you come to loathe?
- Would you prefer Guest 1 or Guest 2 at your dinner table?
- Do you see more people like Guest 1 or Guest 2 on your Facebook wall?
- Do you see more people like Guest 1 or Guest 2 on your Twitter feed?
- Do you wish you knew more about how to be more like Guest 1?
- Do you wish you knew more about how to be more like Guest 2?
- What shortcuts have you tried? Have any worked for you?
- If you could have an hour with a social media coach what would you like to learn?
- What would you like my next post to be about?