After publishing a series of bedtime stories for parents to tell their kids and a devotional for Christians in Business, I needed a new project.
So, I’ve begun work on a book for authors and artists about using Social Media to its fullest.
These are a few main points from the book:
1. Start a Blog, Now
In the last ten years, blogging has grown from an interesting way to share fun family anecdotes to a powerful way to connect with readers.
There’s a difference between your blog and a website, although to the uninitiated the changes are minor at best. The blog looks like a website to be sure, but the blog offers much more.
First, it’s super easy to add your content to the site. This only makes visiting your site more interesting for previous visitors. If you never update things, why would they need to come back.
Second, and more important, it’s social. A regular website, called a static website, is more like a fancy online brochure. Nice to look at but not interactive. A blog on the other hand allows you comment, share, and… tell stories. It not only provides a way for the writer to tell stories, but it makes it easy for the readership to tell the same story about themselves through sharing buttons.
For example; say you write a great article or post on your blog about how Ovation Guitars are far superior to Martin Guitars (whether this is true or not I have no idea, I tend to be slightly tone deaf, much to the consternation of all around me). A reader finds your article and either agrees or disagrees with it. They see a button on the bottom of the post that allows them to share the story on their preferred Social Media. If the reader shares, they have made your story part of their story.
That’s what Social Media is all about.
2. Create a Facebook Page
In late 2011, Facebook tops over 650 Million users. That’s over twice the population of the United States of America and if it were it’s own country it would be the third largest in the world. It’s an absolutely massive platform with a great deal of potential to bring your venture unprecedented success. But you can’t focus on all of that, you have to think one person at a time. Or rather one friendship at a time.
Facebook pages allow you to set up your personal brand and share what you think is interesting or important. You can share writing, pictures, videos, updates, links to other sites. The possibilities are endless.
Create a LinkedIn account to take advantage of their groups feature, either creating yourself or joining a professional group and starting discussions.
3. Start a Twitter account and post cool stories
The common misconception of Twitter is that it’s filled with Twits, Tweeting about Twilight and Twerps. Sorry, I could help myself. Contrary to this common belief, Twitter is not filled with people posting about their bathroom activities or what they had for lunch. Okay, there are a fair share of those people but you don’t have to follow them and therefore you get to ignore their existence. You get to ignore the boring people. This is already better than real life.
Instead, effective Twitter users share stories and start conversations.
You can think of Twitter as a big party where everyone is talking at the same time. You have the option to listen to what people say or you can ignore them, you can comment at anytime, or you can start a conversation yourself. The more you see Twitter as a useful tool for communication, the better conversations you will have.
Follow people that you find interesting, talk with them, sharing stories that you think they’ll find interesting. That’s how we make friends in real life and it’s no different on Twitter.
4. Understand the power of YouTube and videos
Video is quickly becoming the dominant form of media consumption on the internet. It’s only going to grow. As movies and TV shows transition to a broadband audience, more of your customers are going to expect that you have a presence on one of the major video sites.
As Twitter is to micro-blogging, YouTube is to video-sharing. In fact, YouTube may be one of the best ways to promote your art.
For some people, a blog with it’s focus on words and static pictures may not be the best way to connect with a specific audience. Instead, getting creative with a hand-held camera and offering different points of view from different points of view might be the best way to offer value.
For authors I’m not talking about book trailers (although if you want to do one, go ahead) and for artists I’m not talking about product showcases (quick clips of your paintings or sculptures to music). Instead, you want to create content that your audience wants to see and, more importantly, wants to share with their friends.
For example: authors could create educational videos into their craft, character bios, special extras, or even voice overs of chapters. Painters could feature their work in a montage, show the painting process, do some art classes going over special techniques they employ, or even show videos of special events.
The point is to make a video that someone who would buy your art will think is cool, interesting, and/or relevant.
5. Share Some Pictures
For authors and artists, picture sharing is one of the least utilized forms of social media. And that’s a shame because for a very little effort it can yield some big results. The two main providers of pictures on the internet are Flickr and Picassa, and you ignore them at your peril.
Appropriate images are at the top of most Google search results. If you want to use that to your advantage, you need to set up your accounts right away.
The greatest advantage of picture sharing is the ability to link to and from the pictures themselves. You can link your picture to your blog and other social media. Conversely you can use your pictures in all your social media profiles, creating great exposure and cross-over for your content.
What Does It All Mean?
Social media doesn’t have to be difficult but it can be useful. The main idea is that as long as you know the tools and try to honestly connect, you can’t help but be successful. If you slowly start implementing each of these suggestions, you will find success (and customers) knocking at your door.