Recently I was approached by the fabulous Raimey Gallant about a Blog Hop idea she had to help build up other authors. Since I had so much fun participating in her 2016 Nano Blog Hop, I jumped at the opportunity to join in!
So, from now until the end of the year, I will be working alongside a roster of other rocking authors to help provide content centering on building a strong author platform. Each month I’ll be adding another ‘tool’ for you to add to your own personal Author Kit, using things I’ve learned from building my own platform. I’m excited to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, and to see what the other authors have to share as well! (For a full roster of #AuthorToolboxBlogHop participants click HERE)
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Ok, so for MY personal toolbox, there is no doubt in my mind that when building my personal Author Platform, that the most important tool I have on hand is Social Media.
Unfortunately, a strong social media presence isn’t like a hammer that you can just pick up and start banging away. It doesn’t quite work like that. It takes a little finesse.
So, for those of you who are building up a fledgling Social Media account or who are trying to fine-tune a previously existing platform, here are 5 Simple Rules for a Strong Social Media Platform.
- Be SOCIAL. I know this may seem basic, but hear me out. We’re talking SOCIAL media. I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Litsy, Tumblr (I could go on, but I think you get my point), unless you’re interacting with people socially, it’s just not going to work. BUT there’s good news (I know you introverts all just had minor panic attacks–trust me I was right there with you)! The BEST thing about Social Media is that it connects you with people all from the safety of your own home (Introverts UNITE!). There are so many different platforms that you can pick and choose the ones that work best for you. You can’t handle the thought of being on film? No problem, don’t make a YouTube. Twitter or Litsy are great. Maybe you can’t be limited by 140 characters. Ok, give Facebook or Instagram a go. But, until you’ve actually made that account and started actively trying to connect with people, your Social Media presence will be DOA. .
- Be PRESENT. Ok. So you’ve created your account. You put in your bio, your best profile image, and maybe even some charming cat videos (cause come on, who doesn’t love a good cat video?). Now you’re finished and you can log off and not think about it for a week and a half and come back with 1,000 followers, or likes, or views, right? WRONG. One of the easiest ways to sabotage your Social Media Presence is by not being present. People who follow you on Social Media are doing it because they want to interact with you. They see you as an interesting person they want to connect with. But, if you just disappear of the face of the inter webs and they don’t hear from you, unless they’re a die hard fan (and lets face it, not all of us have too many of those–no your mother doesn’t count), eventually they’re going to lose interest. Now, I’m not saying you have to be online 24 hours a day 7 days a week, but you do need to be there. At the very least, I recommend you start checking in once a day on each of your different accounts. If it’s one you really want to build up, be there more frequently. Think of it like making friends. If you want people to like you, first they need to know you exist. There’s really no way to get around it; your presence is important. The more you show up, the more visible you are, and ultimately, the bigger your platform will be. .
- Be HELPFUL. If you haven’t caught it by now, your Social Media Platform is all about building relationships. Even though it is mostly virtual, they follow similar dynamics to real-life relationships: you gotta give more than you take. And I’ll give you a hint: If you’re using your Social Media ONLY to promote your hustle, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Whether it’s a favorite recipe, a life-hack, funny videos, or just a daily dose of positivity, people are following you because they see you as a good investment of their time. Because you are giving them something of value. Make sure your presence on Social Media is valuable by sharing. Now, I’m not saying do prize giveaways every week, or even every month. Heck, some authors don’t even do giveaways! But they are giving something. Find a few of your favorite profiles to follow. See what they’re giving. It could be something small, but I’m be willing to bet that with the most successful platforms, you’ll easily recognize the value they give. .
- Be KIND. I’ve said this about Social Media before and I’ll say it again. They call it the Golden Rule for a reason: it’s good stuff. And while it may seem like such a simple concept, TRUST ME, there are people on the interwebs that haven’t quite figured this out yet. Do yourself a favor and just take it to heart: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I know, I know, I said be to present and to be social, but here’s the thing: It doesn’t do you any favors to have a huge presence on Social Media if all anyone ever thinks when you post is how big of a jerk you are. I mean, seriously. We deal with nasty people all the time. It’s exhausting. No one, I REPEAT, no one spends their time following people that make them miserable. So, if your Social Media habits are a bit off-putting, you may want to re-evaluate. I’m not saying you need to put on a show or even pretend like life is sunshine and rainbows, but check yourself. If everything you’re putting into the world is negative, chances are, that’s what you’ll be getting back. .
- Be YOU. Last, but not least, be yourself! I touched on this a little already, but I want to make it a clear point. DO NOT CHANGE WHO YOU ARE TO BUILD A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. Your readers want to connect with you, not the authors you admire or the person you want to be; YOU. For one thing, it’s not going to benefit you to model your platform after someone else; they already have followers for that reason. You need to be different. Good news is: you already are! Figure out your strengths and sell them. It could be something you don’t even realize at first. No lie. I was talking to my friend the other day and I realized at least 75% of my Social Media platform is solely positivity. I’m all about sparkles and glitter and coffee and building up other people (Check #AuthorConfession, #SparkleOn, and #HappyWriting on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean). That works for me. It might not work for you. That’s fine! You do you, that’s who we want to see! 🙂
There you have it. 5 Simple Rules for Building Your Social Media Platform. While these are definitely not the end all be all tricks to building a solid Social Media presence, they are five pillars that if you build a solid base in, you’ll have a strong leg to stand on.
Now it’s your turn: Go hop on your favorite Social Media Site and get started! Build that platform (then find me so I can see how beautiful your architecture is)!
Best wishes, and until next month,
J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Her debut novel, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles releases May 16 through PenName Publishing. If you would like to connect for a healthy dose of sparkle, positivity, and a touch of crazy, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram @_JM_Sullivan or on her YouTube Channel, AuthorConfession.
See you There!
Want to Know More About the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop ? View the Introductory Post from its amazing host, Miss Raimey Gallant, HERE!