How to Find the Time for Social Media?
One of the top three questions I’m asked about using social media platforms is, “How do you find the time.” I always answer by saying, “We all have the same amount of time. I find value in using social media. If you found value, you’d make the time?” Of course, I’m writing this blog post at 6:37 am, and I’ve been at my desk since 5:00 am. I have to attend to social media and correspondence (email) before I start my day job, which many of you know involves getting on the road to visit clients in the “field” known as the Eastern Shore.
I understand how many look at their social media efforts and wonder if it’s making any difference. Is there anyone out there listening? Is all of this making any difference? That’s the trick, though … find out if it’s making a difference.
Followers + Friends does NOT equal success
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have, or how many friends and fans you have on Facebook. What matters is that you are attracting opportunity. I love The Intern’s post A Follow’s Not a Book Deal, (though it’s very nice) Thoughts on Social Media, though I don’t agree with some of it. She (an intern at a book publishing house, addressing writers) states that using social media doesn’t add up to book sales. She quotes a writer who gave up all social media efforts and saw NO impact on her book sales, “I realized that the people who buy my book do not give a CRAP about my writing process or my favorite cupcake store. I don’t know how they find out about my book. I guess people just recommend it to each other.”
It’s not about your writing process or your favorite cupcake, girlfriend.
Could it be that the Intern’s writer friend was going about it all wrong?
In an age when mass marketing has all but died and customers have become the ad agencies, it’s necessary to dig down into that customer base (in this case readers) and find out what THEY want, what THEY are talking about, and then join in the conversation. Customer need should drive the content. The customer drives the conversation. This very blog post is proof. I’m responding to one of the most frequently asked questions I get from …. customers.
At the time of this writing I have a little under 5000 Twitter followers, 1300 Facebook friends and about 10,000 fans on my facebook pages. My blogs combined only have a few hundred followers. Frankly, these numbers are low. Lots of my colleagues have way more connections in social media and I admire and learn from many of them. But I don’t judge my efforts by the numbers. I judge by how many opportunities come my way through my connections. In three short years of using social media, I have a attracted and responded to these opportunities:
- Offered a book deal with The History Press
- Unexpected high sales of the book Haunted Eastern Shore (through Facebook page)
- Developed a series of bus tours and served as the guide
- Developed a teaching curriculum at Maryland Community Colleges
- Been invited to speak at over 100 events
- Developed a women’s travel group
- Produced on-line classes
- Got book agent referrals through friends met on social media channels
- Had 3 agents (see #8) review a new book proposal
- Made enough extra income (book sales, speaking, teaching) to take trips to Savannah, Maine, Ireland, Colorado, California.
- Funded a whole new office (iMac, laptop, iPad, camera)
- Was invited to blog for CBS News
- Was approached to consider being the publisher of a new magazine
- Was asked to help form a non-profit that would network regional marketing initiatives.
- Made dozens of really good life-long friends (best benefit of all)
Before using social media:
- Wrote two books, both selling as publisher projected (1000-1500 copies over 5 years)
- Never dreamed of being a tour guide
- Never dreamed of developing Continuing Ed programs
- Was never invited to speak anywhere
- Never had an agent nor access to agent referrals
- Only income was income from my day job
- Had to solicit all my writing jobs by querying publishers.
- Public profile was limited to my day job position, my family connections, and my excellent Christmas letters.
- Had almost no recognition as a writer.
- Had the same number of friends I’d had for years.
Followers + Friends (properly managed) = Magnet for Opportunity
Please forgive me if the first listing of fifteen opportunities seems braggadocios. The second ten should prove that I’m no star. I just learned how to leverage social media.
So how do I find the time? I make the time because the value of using social media is huge for me.
I have been able to develop a system that helps me get it all done. In tomorrow’s post, I share some time saving ideas I use for fitting social media use around my day job and family life.
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