It’s a problem that many social media admins and page owners complain about all the time and that’s strangers wanting favors. Don’t think it’s a problem? Just go to Twitter and type the words Please RT or Help Me into the search engine and you’ll find an endless feed of begging. Now, I’m not shaming anyone because I used to do it too, thinking that was the way social media worked. Unfortunately, I listened to the social media experts who told people to ask, ask, ask, which got me absolutely nowhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure I lost a few followers because of it!
The Inherent Problem with Social Media
The biggest problem most indie authors have is that their following on social media is small to nonexistent. I mean, who follows an unknown author? With little or no money, we can’t buy ads or promote posts which naturally puts us in a pickle. However, what most indie authors don’t know is that they can borrow somebody else’s network. So how do you get someone to lend you their audience? Well first you have to find them and there are many ways to do that.
You can go to the social media platform of your choice and type in the words; publishing, books, book reviewers, reading, etc. Then join groups, pages, and follow people that are relevant in your industry.
However, if you’re short on time, some apps can help you find influencers on social media. They can also show you what’s the most popular content people are sharing in your niche. Here’s a list of a few:
- TrendSpottr (Instagram)
Whatever You Do, Don’t Skip This Step!
If you want to get on someone’s radar, you’ll need to join the community you’d like to target. And keep in mind, you’re going to have to be a good community member, which means sharing, and commenting on posts whenever you can. If you’re friendly as well as helpful, you’ll get noticed in no time. If not, you might want to consider moving on.
Now keep in mind, you’re building a relationship so this will take time. For example, when I joined Red River Writers, I was a member of their community for nearly a year when they announced they needed a virtual assistant. Of course, I applied and didn’t need to feel anxious about approaching them because I was already acquainted with them. Keep in mind, you’re in this for the long haul.
A Cautionary Tale:
In 2014, a young woman approached a job recruiter on LinkedIn for a position at the recruiter’s company but instead of help, she was berated for her poor etiquette. The recruiter called the young woman, “entitled and tacky” and despite everyone’s outrage, I understand the hostility. Now I’m not agreeing with how the recruiter behaved but I do know this could’ve been easily avoided if the young woman had simply introduced herself and expressed interest in becoming a part of the recruiter’s community. If you approach strangers in a needy manner, you’re likely to receive a negative response. When approaching an influencer, you always need to remain professional. In business, the question is always, what’s in it for me? This leads me to my next point…
Your Angle, You Have One, Right?
As long as you view this as a business proposition and not a handout, then you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable pitching to a social media influencer or any influencer for that matter. However, you first need to ask yourself, what do you bring to the table? Can you offer a free book, a t-shirt, or a gift card? As a marketer, you’re going to need an angle.
Things You Need Before You Pitch:
- Familiarity with the page admin and the community.
- An appropriate book. Don’t pitch a romance novel to a sci-fi group.
- A bribe or special offer.
With Social Media Algorithms Come Many Opportunities
Since most social media platforms have limited the reach of posts, it has influencers scrambling to hang on to their following. It sucks for them because many of these influencers can’t afford to advertise but you can easily bring a bit of buzz to their page with gifts and bribes.
Tip: Social media influencers occasionally have author takeovers. A takeover is just like it sounds, an author takes complete control of the account to hold contests, answer questions, and even interact with the influencer’s audience. Believe it or not, these types of accounts aren’t hard to find. You can find author-friendly pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by typing, Author Takeover in the search engine and investigate which authors are doing takeovers and where.
Before I sign off, I want to warn you that social media websites are constantly changing and it can get overwhelming sometimes. If it’s possible try to automate as much as you can while not sacrificing authentic engagement. This will keep you sane and focused on the main thing, which is your writing time.