Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Finding Your Voice on Social Media

As writers, we understand that one of our most crucial milestones is identifying the voice. We strive to become confident in how we write our stories so they are like fingerprints, unique and identifiable with only us. How heavenly would it be if one of our lines was included in someone’s Top 100 Quotable Lines from Books We Love?

That voice is very important in more ways than a chapter’s opening line or the clinch at the end of a feature article. Success in social media commands use of voice as well. If you think everybody is competing against you with a book, imagine the competition on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. Someone who misspells every fourth word can gain a following in social media, but as long as he’s cute, informative, funny, sarcastic or smart, i.e., has a voice, he can succeed.

The biggest turnoff in these social venues is usually the vanilla-flavored individual who only tries to sell. The person who says, “buy my book and buy it here.”  We don't know the attributes of the product nor the strengths of the individual selling, but for some reason we are expected to want to purchase it. When a person assumes the public doesn’t need the details of the product (let’s say book) and can be coaxed (conned) into handing over money for it anyway, he insults the reader. 

Only when you become Nora Roberts, Patricia Cornwell or Stephen King can you say, “Hey, my new book is out,” and people unquestionably accept the quality. Those type names are one percent of the authors on the shelves. A solid mid-list author still has to convince a reader that the book is a worthy investment, and that the author is behooved to the reader to make that book selection.

So when using social media, any of them, remember these four rules:

Posts should be FOR the reader.
Share with the reader as an equal.
Don’t SELL to the reader.
Mention your commodity in no more than 30 percent of your posts.

In a world where everyone wants you to follow, like, or recommend them on social media, it’s easy to cull those who don’t respect you. They are the ones who never chat with you, enlighten you, or entertain you. They want a piece of you, and aren’t willing to take the time to give back. If you can’t admire the poster in social media, then you probably aren’t inclined to buy what they’re selling.

Find that voice in you . . . the one that invites, strokes, and welcomes a follower. Leave the conning, hard-selling, and pleading to the novices, because you appreciate your readers. After all, don’t you want them to be your friends? Willing to follow you for life? Of course you do. So Tweet like it. Post like it. Message like losing these people would hurt your feelings; don’t post like you're trying to step on theirs.


Barbara Techel said...

Great advice, Hope! It's all about helping as well as building relationships. Learning so much of this in a great new course I am taking called, Build Your Author Platform with Dan Blank of We Grow Media (www.wegrowmedia.com) One of the best courses I've ever taken!

Anonymous said...

Good post! I refuse to buy anything if I have to hunt for the price, read through mind- boggling, lengthy, exaggerated sales pitches, or get no information or preview of the product. With the advent of self publishing and e-books, there's a whole lot of crap out there, and it is difficult to find the gems among the toads without wasting money buying crap. After a while, you stop trusting. Those who are in it for promotion only generally show themselves and lose potential sales to those who are wary of self- serving "friends". Thanks :). Stepping off soap box.