More writers than not balk at the idea of becoming savvy social networkers. They see this activity as a time sink or a waste of time. Some don’t even want to try, while others are only willing to set up a Facebook account. They don’t realize the Internet provides one of the easiest ways to build an author’s platform, and social networking sites offer a prime place to do so. In fact, social networking has become a must for aspiring authors.
The three most important sites for authors are:
Facebook provides a great place to gain potential readers from old friends, professionals, like-minded people, and a variety of people from around the globe. This site started out as a place to post status updates but has become much more. People share everything from blog posts to photos to articles to videos. While a general account is a great thing, eventually you’ll want to switch over to a Facebook page or Fan page. A general account only allows you to have 5,000 followers or friends. Pages allow you many more and you can behave in a much more promotional manner with your messages, because they are meant for businesses.
LinkedIn provides a more professional feel and a way to connect to other people doing business-relate things through LinkedIn groups. This site was set up for on-line professional networking. As you get involved in groups, you also can let people know about your expertise, which lets them know about your forthcoming books or your website and services. Also, connecting to professionals, provides a great way to offer services, obtain speaking engagements, and connect with other experts. You can now post status updates here as well, and you can share links, etc. This site has become less about professional networking over the years, but this remains its primary focus.
Twitter, much like Facebook, started out as a way to post a status update but has quickly evolved into a way to have a conversation and to offer great information on a variety of topics via links. In this way, you can gain “tweeple” (followers or potential readers). This site has a bit of a learning curve, but can be useful not only for connecting with potential readers but also for getting answers to questions, letting people know about upcoming events, etc. It works much like Facebook, but your postings must be 140 characters or less.
If you aren’t already using one or more of these social networking sites, today simply go check them out. Maybe set up an account. Post something! Get your feet wet, so to speak.Discover that they aren’t as scary or hard to use as you thought. Actually, they are sort of fun.
In my next post, I’ll share a few tips for successful social networking and making this activity less time consuming.