Summer at last! As you enjoy the glory of the summer months, we are ready to rock with the first of our Summer Breeze exercises leading up to the Author Social Media Workshops in September. Reading time peaks for many with the rise of higher temperatures. Our exercises will help you with ideas for connecting with readers and expanding your networks.
The first warm-up exercise is outlined below by our social media expert and guest blogger Beverly Bambury, for all to experiment with through July.
Register to receive additional tips and specifics on how to get the most out of your social media efforts. You are welcome to ask questions of your own as the summer progresses. You are also encouraged to bring the results of each exercise with you in September to get the most out of the one-day workshop. WORKSHOPS
Now for a dose of social media sunshine from Beverly!
The first Summer Breeze exercise is a project for July, the Twitter Follow Challenge. For this challenge you’ll learn social media networking and relationship building skills. Select three people to follow who you consider influential within your sphere i.e., science fiction, mystery, children’s literature, biography, finance, etc. You will not concern yourself about whether they follow you back, you’re going to simply follow them and interact with them. The beginnings of a good working relationship can indeed be born on Twitter by following this strategy, and this post will give you the in-depth goods.
Find Influential People
You might be asking, “How do I pick someone?” There are a few answers, one being simply that you may already know who you want to follow. Maybe you are already following them, even. That is OK, the keys here are:
- It should be someone who is not following you back, and
- Someone who does not automatically follow back.
The reason for these factors is that they still keep in mind the purpose of this exercise, which is to build a relationship and in doing so truly earn the follow.
There are other methods of finding people if you don’t already have someone in mind. First, your own community. If you are already connected to someone influential, take a look at who they are following on Twitter. Most people have publicly viewable lists of who they follow. Are any of those people someone with whom you’d like to connect? Would any of them be likely to be good networking for your project? If so, follow someone that seems interactive and personable. Be sure to click “Tweets & Replies” when you are researching, otherwise you’ll miss how interactive they are. (Note that “Tweets & Replies” is only on desktop Twitter. Mobile combines all tweets in one feed.)
A second way is to try some of the Twitter tools out there. There are many, many choices, some paid and some free, but I will highlight two free ones here. Let’s start with searching profiles and biographies at Follower Wonk, which lets you choose between the two types of searches by selecting the dropdown, like this:
I recommend leaving it on profiles for your initial searches unless you have a highly specialized field.
Another tool is Klout. You can go right to the search bar at the top and try any number of searches. Note that even if a fitting topic doesn’t come up as an option, there are likely to be individual people who come up at the bottom of the search menu. Here is an example:
Note that there are three profiles at the bottom of the search, so even though “Book Reviews” wasn’t an official topic, it still worked as a search term. Also, if you choose one of the provided topics, Klout shows a list of potential influencers in your category. This is on the right side of the page, like this:
You can see that not everyone on a Klout list is appropriate for your purposes. Chances are Random House can’t be much help if they are not directly publishing your book, and Publishers Weekly doesn’t want to seem like any author has undue influence. Neil Gaiman would be a lofty (and probably very difficult) goal, but an individual is generally a better target than a company or organization for this type of project.
All of the above being said, you must still use judgment in selecting a person to connect with. Someone incredibly famous is going to be infinitely harder to connect with than someone who is influential within a specific community. If you have already registered for the workshop you can ask questions if you get stuck.
OK. I found people. Now what?
This is the easy part. A few times per week, reply to something your target has posted. For all three people, this is a minimum of nine replies per week.
There is no trick to it. Just keep an eye on their feeds and make sure you reply here and there. Don’t go overboard. You aren’t buddies yet, after all. Just keep at it consistently for the month. Make sure you show interest in what they are doing and respond relevantly. The most important thing of all is to not talk about yourself unless asked to do so. It will show your target that you are listening to and engaged with what they are doing. It may even result in valuable conversations that will leave a lasting impression. Have fun with it!
As I said, do not mention your own work unless asked. It should already be in your profile anyway, and if you are too eager to talk about yourself, you are not going to win over someone busy and important. They don’t want to feel like they are being used or that you just want something from them, after all. Would you like to feel that way? Chances are you wouldn’t. Everyone wants to be valued as a human being. Like me, and like you.
This is networking. It is finding ways to connect over what you have in common. Once you’ve done that, and established some kind of connection, it will perhaps follow someday that you’ll find a way to work together. It’s important not to have too much of a scheme for what this looks like ahead of time. Just converse, reply, enjoy.
So what’s the point?
While this is our July exercise, you’ll keep doing this through August, too. What I’d like you to do is take notes on your progress and then bring those notes with you to the workshop. Questions to ask yourself in your notes may include (but feel free to add your own):
- Did your target reply to any of your replies?
- Did you get to have a conversation?
- Did they reply to anything that you posted on your own feed?
- Did they follow you back?
Make these note as they happen, but at least once a week so you don’t forget anything. You can track it however you want, but since you’re keeping it small, just three people, it isn’t important to worry about tools just yet. What I want you to focus on is noticing the social factor of how your business relationship begins to form. Slow but sure. Solidly and in a healthy manner.
That covers our first exercise. Stay tuned next month for “The Best and the Worst of… Me”.
About the Guest Blogger
Book Publicist Beverly Bambury gives creators more time to create. She specializes in social media management, publicity campaigns, and planning for authors and small business owners. Her passion for SF&F, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal romance and crime are reflected in her client base of writers and publishers.
Not everything revolves around Twitter but it’s a good place to start. Follow @BeverlyBambury and @BeNovel. In fact, BeNovel’s president @BethACraig is also there on Twitter following Beverly’s lead with Summer Breeze workshop exercises, too!
REGISTER EARLY TO SAVE http://www.benovel.ca/workshops/