I’m sure some of you are a little confused by this weeks blog topic. You might be asking yourself: what on earth does building a following have to do with writing? Well, it doesn’t have much to do with writing all by itself, but it is important to build a following and connect with others to increase the likelihood of a publisher picking up your manuscript. It isn’t hard to believe that a publisher would lean more towards an author who has already done a lot of the marketing work themselves. Less work for the publisher. They’re busy. It makes sense. But also, many publishing companies don’t do a lot of marketing because it’s expensive, so it would be a good idea to start marketing now!
So, now I’m sure you’re all wondering… how can you build a following through social media? Here are some effective ways to do so :
1. Be Personal
You want your audience to feel a connection with you. Send personalized messages to people who follow you on twitter or like your Facebook page instead of sending out automated responses. Respond to individuals when they comment on articles and thoughts that you post. Yes, even the negative comments. People want to feel important to you and when you interact on a more personal level, you are more likely to gather followers for life.
2. Be Active
If you really want to grab followers then make sure that you are active on your social media accounts. But here’s the catch: this takes some time and a little effort. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time though. Give yourself just a half hour every day to interact with others on social media, whether that be responding to someone’s thoughts on Hemingways writings on Twitter, posting a fantastic article you came across on Facebook or snapping a picture of something you’re working on for Instagram, it’s going to bring people in and allow you to connect with them.
3. Be Consistent
This is extremely important for gathering an audience. Lets say, you share a bunch of articles and quotes, chit chat with followers, and post your thoughts every day for one week, and then the next week interact with everyone maybe once or twice, well… potential followers are less likely to keep following you and interact with you because they can’t trust that you’ll be there for them. They will go and look elsewhere for the same kind of content, but with a host they can trust to provide them with what they need when they need it.
4. Be Helpful or Sweet
My first thought: don’t be that person that comments on something and provides nothing of value. What you have to say says a lot about who you are and what kind of a writer you are (in the eyes of people reading your comments.) If you provide good advice and have something worthwhile to mention then people are going to gravitate towards you. They will see your helpful comments and suggestions and think wow, this guy/gal really knows what they’re talking about! If you’re helpful, meaning, you gave information that people can actually apply to their lives, then they will think you’re a great writer and probably follow you, and maybe even buy one of your books if you have any available. I added “Sweet” because who can resist some sweetness right? If you can’t seem to find anything helpful to say, then say something sweet that compliments the person who shared the post or picture or whatever is is. Something like, “That quote is from my favorite Hemingway book! You have fantastic taste!” Smiles are sure to bloom!
Get out there and start marketing yourself! You can do this. I challenge you to apply one of these to your social media life this week. Then next week apply another and then another and so on. Also, be creative. Come up with different ways to build your following and connect with others. Happy writing!