Antisocial Media

God bless the Internet.

It’s the great equalizer of our time. It has been a tour de force for introverts the world over who feel more confident and less prone to risk behind a laptop than a podium. Marketing no longer is the exclusive playground of handsome and highly articulate extroverts, people that really know how to connect with other people.  A website can have an infinite amount of charm – or at least charm enough not to require a spokesmodel.

How has this been possible? One reason is a fundamental shift in marketing itself and how society sees it. Marketing strategy has evolved from outbound to inbound. An outbound marketing strategy involves actively finding people and making them aware of your product and offerings.  An inbound marketing strategy is about being easy to find. It requires a high level of visibility. If you are invisible to Google, it’s not going to work.

This being said, I recently met with a visibility coach to discuss the next steps for how to continue building a writing platform. It seemed like many bases had been covered, and now I was stuck on how to proceed. After all, the infrastructure seemed to be coming along:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Writing contest award site
  • Book reviews
  • Smashwords and Amazon purchase links
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest board
  • YouTube radio interview
  • Google Adwords, Google+

I reviewed all of these facets of the marketing platform with the visibility coach. She was glad that some visibility had already been created, but there was still a lot to do. She said that the aforementioned social media sites are tools. Such tools are only part of a marketing strategy’s infrastructure and did not constitute its entirety.

Some of the things I had been putting off on my to-do list started coming back to mind:

  • Determine how many prospective customers would be interested in your product
  • Define that group – Who are they? How old are they? What is their demographic data?
  • Create a buzz among that target profile
  • Identify their buying behavior
  • Develop a message that speaks to that group
  • Become highly visible to that customer group
  • Learn their communication style and preferred methods of contact

The coach said, “I think we need to get you some REAL fans and not just virtual ones.” She kind of laughed a little bit, and I hadn’t realized until then that it was kind of funny. All my supporters are either friends or ones I’ve garnered online.  “Virtual fans are all well and good, but you need to meet and connect with some REAL people, some actual people now. We’re going to move forward with a press release and creating some events.”

The coach could probably tell that I was a little uneasy about the whole ‘events’ thing.  It’s awkward enough pumping up a site with one’s name and picture on it in cyberspace. How could I look people in the eye and do it for real? I would know if they didn’t really want to meet me.  What if someone told me to get lost? What if they said they had already read my book and they thought I was destroying literature or something? Besides, I had never met any of the authors I had always admired. Was that really necessary? Talking about my work with strangers… ugh. It seemed like the worst kind of vanity.

But the visibility coach pointed out something enlightening. When positioning the book and other works to the audience, there is no reason to focus on the author. The focus is on the characters in the book. She said to become the cheerleader of my main characters and pump them up constantly – and to take myself out of the equation. That resonated with my introverted nature, and I breathed a little easier.

Marketing is about telling a story. Who better to market, then, than us storytellers?

The ancient concept of the group storyteller conjures up images of tribes fixated on a speaker, basking in the orange glow of a campfire.  That kind of storytelling is interactive. Actors are storytellers, but of a different sort. They tell stories with their physical beings-not with words.

Writing, as a form of storytelling, can’t be purely antisocial because life and the human experience aren’t antisocial. That’s the whole point. People are trying to connect and feel something.  The Internet has made it very easy to forget that – but people go to the movies and read books for a reason. They are looking to connect. And as uncomfortable as it may be at times, connections just do not belong in the realm of the antisocial.

In what ways have you RECENTLY connected with your non-virtual reader fans? How might you reach out to them, specifically, this week?

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11 thoughts on “Antisocial Media

  1. Now that is scary. Talking to people I don’t even know? So how do we translate being able to talk to other writers, which we quickly learn to do, to being able to talk to readers? It’s not like our stories come out of us easily and on demand. That’s why we write. Because we can make corrections before the story sees the light of the real world.

    • You are so right, Sharon – focusing on the endgame makes it a lot easier. Being ‘live’ with no ability to edit ourselves is a different ball game. The idea of helping people, though – even if it is just to provide entertainment and an escape – is very rewarding, and helps me with the shyness.

  2. What a great post, Kimberly. As a fellow introvert, book signings, TV interviews, (radio spots are a little easier), and book selling “events” have stretched me and caused me to rely upon God like never before. Thanks so much for your reminder to persevere.

  3. I love people and I reckon I’m more comfortable in a room full o’ faces than doing this online thing. So, for me, the social media platforms are new and scary — I just recently got my Twitter and FB thingamabobs.

    (I have no problem teaching kids, talking about God, and/or giving health lectures to a crowd, but to promote a book, I just don’t know. Well, I had better get to finishing my bookola first, aye? Then maybe I’ll be better able to answer your question, miss Kimberly.)

    Thanks for this piece. There is a lot of good how-to info. for a newbie like me.

    Blessings.

  4. Very helpful post to someone who will be embarking on a similar journey soon. Thank you for the insight!

  5. It’s so interesting how the introverts and extroverts among us see virtual / actual interaction so differently. Marketing books has changed so dramatically in the past fifty years. Can you imagine what it must have been like in the 1800’s?

  6. Love this post, Kimberly!
    I found that was one of the most difficult things I have done as an author. Writing a book is easy (ha) compared to taking on the marketing monster. But, as I continue to plod my way along this path, I have gotten better. Especially when I take myself out of the equation ~ like your coach suggested. Now, talking to people isn’t difficult for me. Never has been as I’m a little on the happy-go-lucky side, with a twist of weird thrown in for good measure. I’m me. And I like people. And I like making people laugh. So that’s what I concentrate on.
    Thanks for the post ~ Cheers to you!

    • Amanda: Thank you so much! I read that John Grisham said that selling a book is way harder than writing one, and I am in total agreement.
      I like talking to people as well, but the concept of selling my work to them is a bit scary. But that’s a big part of it, so here we go. 🙂

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