I have been involved with using social media to build platforms for a few years now, which means I’ve had a unique opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t and what fails horribly. I choose to base my teachings off simple core truths that withstand the test of time. To me, social media has never been about gadgets, it is all about people. Better yet, it is about creating a community that comes together, united in purpose, and works as a team for the benefit of all.
Individual + Other Individuals=Community
Community + United Purpose= Team
I feel it is impossible to create anything worthwhile on social media if we do not, first, learn to be part of a team. We must learn to serve others first. This is why auto-tweets and a self-centered agenda will always fail. The people who will really see genuine results from social media are the ones who learn to be part of something bigger than their own wants and needs. Teams make the difference.
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success. ~Henry Ford
Last April I attended a conference with a panel of PR, marketing and social media experts. Everyone on the panel advised using auto-tweets and one even offered services to tweet for writers. Even some of the top social media books recommend very little tweeting and blogging only once a month (with the agenda of “getting something” from others, of course). I find this sad because this group was missing out on the real beauty of social media. Learning to work with others as a team. In an effort to only gain sales, they miss out on so much.
According to BEA statistics, in 2006 there were 1.2 million titles available. And 950,000 of those titles sold less than 99 copies. Historically, an author’s odds of selling enough books to even make a decent living have been depressing at best. But why?
Well, there are a lot of reasons and we have explored many of them on this blog. But, my two cents? Writers had no way to plug into a team. Traditionally published authors relied on traditional marketing tactics employed by the publisher (which doesn’t sell fiction) and hoped the right reviewer said the right thing and that the planets and stars aligned just right to make it to the next level. Self-published authors had even less chance of success. Speak at enough Lion’s Clubs and hope to hit the right place at the right time.
These days? The odds are improving, and now indies are appearing out of nowhere and landing on best-seller lists. I believe that is because social media allows us to network and to work as part of one cohesive force. The goal of the individual is supplanted by the goal of the group. Everyone does a little for everyone else and then everyone sees success.
For those of you who have played sports or been to team-building classes, remember the acronym for T.E.A.M.? I have used it in my blogs before, but for the newbies:
Together Everyone Achieves More
On social media that is certainly true. I have seen this prove true more times than I can count. For instance, back in 2008-09, I helped the DFW Writers’ Workshop put together a social media campaign to get the word out about the conference in the spring of 2009. What was so fascinating to see is that all 100+ members signed up for Facebook and Twitter. They all friended each other and when any one member posted an announcement about the conference the others followed suit. The exposure, as a result, was not linear, rather it was exponential. No one advertising guy had to go work until he was dead to spread the word about the conference. All it cost each member was 30 words a day…and the conference sold out two days after early registration…4 months before the conference.
Everyone worked together to promote the good of the whole.
When I get on Twitter or Facebook, I can see the writers who won’t get very much out of social media. They send form-letters on Facebook or post a Hi, I don’t know you and sorry for the spam, but could you Like my Fan Page?
Some free advice. If we have to open any note with an apology, then deep-down we know this is not the correct approach.
I see auto-tweets with every # in the known universe and very little interaction with others. Will authors employing these tactics sell books? Sure. But will social media be any fun? Or, will it feel like a horrid drudgery, like slogging through mud mixed with maple syrup while wearing snowshoes? Probably. Will this approach work over the long-term. Probably not. Will this approach do as much as working with a team? Not likely.
When we plug in with a team, we multiply efforts exponentially.
So some new writer hears about #MyWANA comes and hangs out and interacts. I like this person. She is really sweet and RTs for others and I see she is kind of new to Twitter and only has 30 followers. That’s a good start, but nothing that is going to rock the world. But she is authentic and does what she can to help her #MyWANA team.
The new girl tweets about her blog, which I check out and see it is well-written. So I RT and use different #s, maybe #pubtip or #amwriting. I just exposed that blog to 6300+ more people (my followers). Now someone from my network, say Piper Bayard, RTs me. Well now that blog just got an audience for a couple thousand more people. Oh, then James Rollins, who rocks the Tweet Deck and also can be spotted hanging out on #MyWANA sees his friends Kristen and Piper tweeted a blog, so he steps in to help and that blog now goes out to 14,000 people.
Even if we just look at this linearly, a blog that would have only been seen by a potential 100 people, now has been exposed to over 20,000…in THREE tweets. And all it cost this new writer was a few moments of being nice to others and doing what she could to help others.
This is called working smarter, not harder. If we focus on serving our teammates, they will do the same. Together everyone achieves more.
We can spend hours sending form-letters and auto-tweeting and spamming with very little ROI, OR we can invest in serving a team, do our part to support the #MyWANA Love Revolution…and watch a miracle.
I will close today out with one of my favorite quotes:
None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together achieve something wonderful. ~Mother Theresa
I hope that, if you haven’t already, you will join us over at #MyWANA. #MyWANA is a group of writers committed to doing small things with great love to achieve the impossible.
Gather together with your fellow writers at critique and come together. Commit to supporting and promoting each other. Subscribe to each other’s blogs, RT for each other, post for each other, tell the world about your fellow writer teammates, and I assure you that the results will be nothing short of magic. And if you don’t believe me, talk to the #MyWANA peeps or to a WANAlum (#WANA711, #WANA1011, #WANA112).
I LOVE hearing from you!
And to prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Thanks for being patient with me announcing winners. I will post them on Monday. Been caring for the Spawn who is MUCH better, by the way.
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.
What are some ideas you might like to add? What ways do you like serving others? What are your fears or concerns? Do you feel more confident when you join a group? Do you feel that being part of a team has helped anxiety or fear of your future? What are your thoughts? Ideas? Opinions?