Many authors are afraid of social networking. Their excuses are as many and varied as the books they write: “I don’t like the internet,” “I’m shy,” “I don’t know how to do it,” “I’m afraid.” The list goes on and on.
But whether you are using social media, attending an in-person event, or just gathering with a group of friends, networking is about helping others and giving back. If you help others, if you are a friend to others, maybe they will help you. Be a friend first, and don’t worry about what you might receive in return. Isn’t that what our parents and teachers taught us way back in kindergarten? It still holds true.
Let me give you a couple of examples. I was recently at a business networking event and one person mentioned he was looking to rent a new apartment. I moved to another group and heard someone say he had just purchased a new home which has an additional unit he wants to rent. What would you do? Stand there in the room with two people who had matching needs? Or get them both together to see if they could work things out.
It’s the same with social media. An old high school friend who still lives in my hometown mentioned she was looking for a caregiver for her dad. I happened to know someone, even though I no longer live there. I gave them each other’s email and let them take it from there. Three years later they are still working together.
Social networking is about keeping in touch.
Social networking is about sharing.
Social networking is about making new friends.
That’s not so scary, is it? So just how do you social network? Here are a few tips.
- Pick one or two social media sites and learn to use them well. I recommend Facebook as a good place for the novice social networker to start.
- Set up your profile and add a photo of yourself; just take a selfie if you have nothing else. Facebook is a place where you can use selfies—but please smile.
- Search for a few people you know to “friend” and begin interacting with them; “like” their photos and posts. Add a comment when appropriate.
- Posts some things about you. A favorite picture. A quotation you like. And yes, even where you went for lunch or spent the weekend.
- Now that you’ve connected, mention you are writing a book. You’ll be surprised at the interest you get.
- It’s getting easier, isn’t it? It’s time to look for some Facebook groups for authors and connect. You’ll make some new friends who share your interest in writing and publishing.
- Follow the same routine with these groups. Introduce yourself. Like others’ posts. Add appropriate comments.
- Continue to mention your book and the progress you are making in writing and publishing. Post a jpeg of your cover.
- Once the book is online, post the link to it and ask people to buy it and review it.
- Continue to remind people about your book and ask for reviews. Let them know if you are holding an event or doing an online sale.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Remember, social networking is just about being a good friend.