Over the past several years, numerous social media consultants and companies have emerged on the scene promising big numbers and social media presence. Walking the floor at the Christian Booksellers Association, this was especially evident as numerous booths made the promise to help an author build their platform. Let me confirm at this point that the need for a platform is not just a benefit to an author, it is a necessity.
Platform has changed in the last ten years. No longer do you have to have a national radio show or national television program (although it certainly doesn't hurt!) Recognize that the playing field has been leveled if you can create a significant social media digital footprint. If so, you are in the game.
There are several things to consider if you are at that fork in the road where you realize that the step to begin to build your platform with social media is imminent whether you try to do it yourself or engage assistance. Here are so
me tips to consider:
- Be intentional. It is far better to engage an audience and followers who are truly connected to you and your message than a larger audience of random followers who may or may not be engaged with your business, ministry or message. Numbers are important, but true following is more important.
- Be sure to connect. Remember it's called "social" media. It's about relationship. It's not just about the number of "likes", "friends" or "followers", it's about connecting. I've seen some consultants take on clients and populate their pages with random jokes, going only for the "like". First, this doesn't achieve much. In the end, you are going to have to help provide content. No one knows your message like you do. Somewhere you will have to dig in and provide/create significant nuggets of information in order for a social media team or consultant....(or yourself) to create solid content that counts and is engaging.
- Build content.
- Be consistent. Building your social media plan is about consistency. Similar to publicity, it's about creating a snowball that begins to grow and work for you. But it does take time. This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Authors I have worked with who have been consistent begin to see good number development usually by year #2. (not month #2! It can happen faster, but I'm just sayin'!)
While we all hope for that video or post that goes viral, the reality is even if that happens, would you be in a position to take those "fifteen minutes of fame" and use it to launch into ongoing growth and conversions? Most are not. Why? Because there is no plan.
So ask yourself these questions. Do you have a plan? Do you have content? Are you ready to communicate that content consistently to connect? If not, then let me give a few tips to help you get started.
- Each post, video or comment should be consistent to your message. This creates your brand. Stay true to your message.
- If you have not determined your message then you also haven't determined your brand. Do so now.
- Give variety. While your message needs to be consistent, the way you dish it up should be different. Mix it up by using videos, graphics, engaging pictures, polls, etc. (We can help.)
- Monitor your progress. What posts have worked well and which have fallen flat? Self-diagnosis can be beneficial. The more you play and practice with your posts, tweets and articles, the more you will begin to see a pattern.
- Don't push. Too often people join social media and groups only once they have a book or new business to hawk. Their excitement is obvious, however the interest level from the rest of us won't be the same. This is not the way to build your audience. Provide good content (something that will benefit your reader) and then you can begin to build your audience. For every ten posts in which you provide significance for your reader, you can post one "selling" push. Please don't overdo it.
- Be real. This isn't by telling me where you ate lunch, (because honestly, most of us don't care.) But by sharing about what moves you and about which you are passionate.
Last, don't give up. I can't stress enough that this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. What works for one, may not work for another. You have to find your own message and audience and tools that work for you. The key is to get started. And once you start, be consistent and don't quit. In the end simple consistency can be a game changer when you begin to learn what works and stay with it.