There are so many posts about social media, obviously. But lately I feel like I've read some really excellent posts (not the least of which is this one by the ever-genius Anne R. Allen) about getting through all the passe, irrelevant-to-the-online-age advice to what really works in modern social media.
The great metaphor in Anne's post is in thinking of Twitter (and other social media sites) like a telephone. You pick up when you want to, to people you want to talk to. You call specific people with specific news, you don't randomly cold-call the entire phone book. (If you do...well, that's another blog post.) I think that's a perfect analogy. It highlights what I think all the best posts about social media marketing are telling us: it's all about relationships.
And I think it's clicked for me lately because it's been broken down even more. It's all well and good to say it's about relationships, but relationships can mean a wide variety of things, both positive and negative. What does it mean practically, for every day social media use in my writing career? The light-bulb moment happened for me when I put in a different word.
Effectiveness in social media is all about responses.
That's right. You responding to other people. Not you putting your book cover on Pinterest, not you carefully coordinating tweets about your latest release, not you getting more likes on your Facebook page. I'm not saying those aren't important, and I'm as obsessed about it all as anyone. But the number one strategy, the most effective thing, is your responses.
Your responses to tweets from writer friends. Your mentioning someone else's blog post on your Facebook page. Your repinning and commenting on your friends Pinterest boards. Your highlighting blog posts by other writers on your own blog. Someone sees you retweeted them, they remember a funny thing they saw on your blog last week, and they check out your book. Whatever platforms you use, you reaching out and responding to what other people are saying is what's really going to get you connections. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, everyone likes to be listened to. So if you make an effort to respond to people and give them that listening friend, they are much more likely, when the time comes, to return the favor.
Social media has never been the best for mass marketing, and anybody who tells you otherwise is an exception or wrong. Algorithms and luck will take you much farther than any social media platform can do. But what social media can do is get you those connections, those relationships, that will not only lend you wisdom and support, but might just be the crew that can get the ball rolling. This social media response thing is definitely a slow, brick-by-brick process, but I personally think it's worth the effort. This is one topic where I'm definitely thinking this through for myself, and hope/want to do much better, become much more involved, in the future.
Do you think social media is worth it in this sense? What is your favorite type of response to get on social media? Blog comments? Repins? Mentions on Twitter?