Wallflower or Social Butterfly? | Part 1


Are you a shy & retreating Wallflower?

Or

Are you a Social Butterfly and the Life of a Party?

In real life you may fall into one or the other category but what about in the virtual and digital world of social media? Are you a shy and retreating Wallflower or are you the life of the party and a Social Butterfly? You may wonder what it matters whether you are shy in social media or not but if you want to network and you want to make connections – you need to become a social butterfly if you aren’t already.

Social Media is called “Social” for a very good reason.

You must be social for it to accomplish its task.

Not only has social media changed the business world but it has changed and continues to change our personal lives. If you meet someone new at a party and you want to meet up later in the week, how do you get in contact with them? You ask if they are on Facebook. There are two reasons why people are more willing to give out their Facebook profiles rather than their home address or even mobile phone number. If you friend request them they can learn all about you from your Facebook profile before choosing to accept. Secondly it is safer to give out your Facebook profile than it is to give out more personal information, like your home address, to a virtual stranger.

In this modern day and age more networking and more connections are made and forming through the social media and social networking sites. There is no point in being an ostrich and sticking your head in the sand hoping that life will just go back to being simple.

Most industries rely on marketing savvy and promotion savvy. Everyone and every business has something to sell. Whether this be a service, their name or a talent. The way this is accomplished in 2011 is through social media and social networking. It simply has the largest exposure without a very high monetary cost. An effective and engaged social presence on the internet is more beneficial and powerful than advertising copy in a magazine or on tv.

So what is your presence in social media? Do you have a presence or are you scratching your head as you read “social media”? If you do have a presence, is it effective and engaging? Are you using social media to your best advantage? Do you know why you need social media and what you want from it?

If you are a creative; a musician, an artist or a writer, social media can be either your friend or your foe. This is even more important for a relative unknown or an up-and-coming-not-quite-there-yet star. The creative industries are one of the most difficult industries to get a foot in the door. They are completely subjective industries where most times you are judged on yourself and the impression you give before they will give you a chance to be judged on your talent. This brings us to the old scenario where a young and hopeful graduate is ready to enter the work-world but in countless interviews is told that though they have the qualifications and the look, they don’t have the experience to get the job? This always leaves the young graduate despondent because how does he/she get experience if they can’t get a job in the first place?

So as a creative wanting to break into your chosen sphere, how do you get the bigwigs – these are usually corporates who think with their wallets and guard their time jealously – to sit up and pay attention to you?

You get online! You could do a number of other cost and time consuming activities to engage their attention but at this point your cost and your time is probably limited. So the easiest way is to build an effective and engaging social media that is market-savvy to your specific industry. How? Below is the set of tools available to you in social media…

Your social media tools

Now you may be looking at this and think there are way too many options up there and counting away the hours it will take to build a social presence in each of these media tools…Fear not! These may be all the tools available to you but you do not need to use every one of these tools. You need to choose which are the best tools. When considering that, you need to focus on these factors:

  • What is best for you as an individual?
  • What is best for your talent/service as a marketing tool?
  • It is all about who you know in this world so what is best for your talent/service as a networking tool?
  • What are the most popular social media sites used by your future colleagues in your industry?
  • What are the most popular and watched sites by the bigwigs and decision makers in your industry?

So before reading on, take a notepad and a pen and write down these 5 factors. Then answer them.

Are you starting to form a picture of your social media presence yet?

I am going to tell you about what I use in social networking. I am a writer and my product is my words. So the social media sites are perfect for someone in my industry. I am however also an experienced sales and marketing manager so I have a little more of an insider track on how to sell a product and how to market it.

The social media/networking sites I am listed on are, from longest running to newest:

  • E-mail/SMS
  • Facebook (personal profile)
  • WordPress – Blogging
  • Twitter (personal profile)
  • Facebook groups (related to writing)
  • Facebook group admin / creator (related to writing)
  • Website
  • tumblr
  • Facebook Fan Page
  • Twitter (writer account)
  • Facebook (separate writer profile)
  • GoodReads
  • Blog Hops
  • Linked In
  • Google+
  • Google+ Hangouts
  • Twitter chat host (a weekly writing craft chat)

Now from the above you will see that I have two Facebook profiles and two Twitter accounts. I also have 4 WordPress blogs. Now although writers and most creatives can be accused of having multiple personalities this is not the reason why I have different profiles / sites on the same social media/networking sites. I have a private life and a professional life. I use my personal profiles for personal networking with friends and family and not necessarily friends who are in the same industry as me. I use the professional profiles for anything and everything related to my writing business.

“Writing business”? But you thought writing was a “creative” industry and not sullied with the muddiness of “business”? Wrong! If you are writing as a hobby then yes it is purely creative. But if you are in this for the long haul and hope to make a living from your creativity than you MUST look at writing just like you would any other job or any other Business. Believe me if you want to get noticed and make it in this business, you will need to work harder than at anything else you have ever worked at.

For me the most effective methods of getting noticed and building a readership/following as well as networking with decision makers has been Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. Facebook is still one of the most preferred and effective tools out there. As we hear constantly in the media, if Facebook were a country it would have the third highest population in the world. The next effective method, especially in the writing and publishing world is Twitter. With Twitter you can reach hundreds of followers as well as follow and connect with the who’s who in whatever industry you want to break into.

Then there is blogging. Blogging is incredibly effective to market your actual product – which in a writer’s world is our words and our ability to hold a reader’s attention so that they keep coming back for more.

I have 4 separate blogs that are all writing related but differently marketed. This blog is my creativity and inspiration blog. I blog here on creative exercises, creative tips and tools as well as spotlighting up and coming authors and creatives in the industry. In my other blog, Wrestling the Muse, I blog about my lessons learned while undertaking the adventures of full-time writing. Then I have a poetry portfolio blog, Soul Photographs,  where I blog poetry and all things related to poetry. Just recently I started my fourth blog, Amazon Wanderings, where I will be blogging about my adventure traveling. You probably wonder why I need 4 blogs and why don’t I use one blog with 4 different uses. I have done it very specifically to create niche blogs and niche readerships/followings for each blog. Yes it means I have more blogs to upkeep but this is when a blogging schedule comes in handy.

So in answer to my initial question: If you are a Wallflower when it comes to social media, why are you retreating?  How are you planning on getting noticed in your industry?

Watch out for Part 2 coming tomorrow on how to stop retreating and how to become an effective social butterfly…

Tell me in the meantime: What social networking do you find works best? What social networking baffles you? What social networking do you dislike or find unnecessary?

Join me here tomorrow when I share with you how to effectively market yourself. Remember writing and publishing is big business. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are. It is time to get market-savvy in social media….

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