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First, let me ask you a question.
What do people use the social media for?
Most do it to get a break during their hectic lives, don’t you think? They kick back with a coffee and have a chat. They gossip. They share a silly joke or an interesting picture. They talk about this political party, or that hurricane.
Some of them even flirt.
Then you, an author, come on the social media stage. And what do you do?
You tweet about your book. You post the most awesome bits of your text on Facebook. You G+ that smashing 5-star review you book got the other day. You automate your “buy my book” link with that clever piece of software (the one that Twitter hasn’t banned yet).
Then, a few weeks into your “social media strategy”, you realize that no one cares.
No one gives a damn.
Your 5-star reviews create no buying frenzy. Your best excerpts don’t go viral. Your buying links remain un-clicked. Even your video trailer doesn’t cause a stir.
Why would that be?
Many reasons could be at work. A common cause is that folks simply don’t find your stuff relevant to their lives. They can’t relate to it.
In this post, we’ll talk about one way to address that:
I don’t mean the fake relatability of spammy Facebook pages. Junk like “Five minutes extra sleep in the mornings can make your day! Click Like if you agree!” is junk no matter which way you slice it.
You can build a loyal audience by becoming their perfect coffee time companion; and that means ditching the endless automated promotional posts cycle and learning to relate to others, instead.
Here are 5 ways to become relatable:
1. Show Your Face.
If you go for coffee with someone (and it’s not Halloween) then you’re going to be a bit miffed if they turn up wearing a Klingon mask.
The same is true online; people know there’s a face behind the avatar of a cute monster, or behind a book cover, and they’d rather see that. We talk to people, not book covers in real life.
People who talk to book covers tend to find themselves in a room with nice rubber walls. And people like that don’t buy books.
You could up the ante using a welcome video. Check out Rick Riordan’s video on YouTube and see all the positive commentary from his readers. It feels much more like a coffee moment, doesn’t it?
Unless there’s a marketing hook in remaining anonymous, it’s better to show your face. Leave the Klingons on the starboard bow until Halloween. Click here if you’re missing the reference
2. Um, talk.
Your friend shows up in the coffee shop for a chat. He’s wearing a sign that says, “Buy my book!” Every time you speak to him, he points at that sign.
Would you even finish your coffee with this guy, or would you head for the hills? You wanted a conversation; he wanted you to buy his book. That’s no fun, right?
Find people’s conversations on Twitter (that’s what the @ tag is for) and join them. Share interesting pieces and make people laugh. Then mention your book occasionally and folks will start making steps in the right direction. They’ll want to buy from you, if they like you.
Instead of posting links to the 5-star reviews of your book, talk about your characters and offer insights into their lives. Better still, ask your audience what they’d like to see happen to those characters in your next book. Now you’re talking!
Scott Oden does it like a master on his Facebook page.
3. Showcase Others.
You can make someone’s day by introducing them to a person they’d get on with over coffee.
The same is true on social media. Don’t hog the spotlight: your readers can (and will) engage with more than one author. Showcase the great work of others, and your audience will be grateful.
If you’re feeling up for something more daring, showcase your readers. People love to hear about how great they are from others. Check out what Peter James has done on his website for ideas.
4. Engage the Senses.
Sitting in a coffee shop is more than just a chat and a drink.
It’s about the smell of the coffee and the pastries. It’s about the people watching. It’s about the chance to overhear remarks from angry young lovers or harassed businessmen. In short, it’s a multi-sensory experience.
Text is all well and good in social media, but you can move beyond that. A great place to start is Pinterest. See how Tahir Shah creates a bigger picture with his board sharing sights, smells, tastes and more. Also note that, once again, this isn’t just a “buy my book” piece but a place to interact.
5. Show your Generous Spirit.
In a physical coffee shop this is easy: buy me a coffee.
Online this is a little harder to do, and you’ll need to be a generous person at heart to make a real success of this. That means treating your social media contacts as people, and not just prospective buyers.
Just like in real life, stay away from gossiping about your competition (unless you have something nice to say). Keep your online ranting to a minimum. When you receive a low-star review, learn from it, rather than go supernova on the giver.
Give away the occasional copy of your book when someone asks for it for charitable purposes or reviews. It’s also a nice idea to stay away from DRM, though I’ll admit the Amazon store makes that harder than it ought to be.
If you’ve enjoyed this piece, why not grab a cup of coffee and check out this book: “How to Build a Powerful Writer’s Platform in 90 days”?