Monday, September 10, 2018

An Old Dog in a Social World

After about four years of this writing gig, I seem to be socially stuck. Yep, I can finally admit that my social game is in a pit of quicksand that exists right smack in the middle of:


I’m no stranger to stepping out of my comfort zone. If I never stepped out then I never would have published a book, let alone three. I have an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Masters in Business, and I spent 17 years climbing the corporate ladder before publishing my first book. Writing and publishing that first book was so outside my comfort zone that in my first post here on Across the Board I talked about how it was scarier than jumping out of a plane.

But when it comes to social media, I’m an old dog. If you don’t believe me, I was in college when email was an ‘innovative’ thing. It was so exciting to get an email address and connect with people through the computer! Mind. Blown. Of course, most common people didn’t have personal computers at that time so you couldn’t check your electronic inbox until your scheduled time at the computer lab. But that just made it as exciting as waiting for those yellow slips to show up in your mailbox letting you know you had a package to collect.

Now we live in a time where my 12-year-old has more Instagram followers than me (and she’s only had access to it for less than a year) and email is so old school.

I’ve read the articles that tell you how to do good social media marketing. I’ve read about the best ways to connect to build your platform—and I can easily recognize when others do it to me. For simplicity, I bucket them into three categories:

The Soft Connection:
This is when I get random comments of “Great pic! Thanks for sharing!” or some similar sentiment. I know they are leaving a nice comment on my post in the simple hope that I will click on their profile and follow them.

The Medium Connection:
This is when someone leaves the random comment from the Soft Connection AND they follow you first. It’s as though they’re saying “I’m being nice and I’m going to stick around, so how about you give back?”

The Hard Connection:
This is when someone straight out asks me to follow them because we’re all in this together and need to support each other.

I don’t really have any issues with any of these approaches, although I’ll admit to being a bit more drawn to those who fall in the Medium Connection category.

But here’s the thing: I haven’t been able to look at my social media venues as straight up book marketing tools. I know some of you might be thinking that statement means I’m looking at it wrong. That doing it right means showing my personal life as well as my book life. And I totally agree. I can keep posting about my books and my life, however, if I start randomly following and commenting on twenty random posts/accounts a day in the hopes that I’d get five in return, then I’m still only doing it for the business.

I know that being ‘old’ is not an excuse for being able to adapt successfully to the social media trend. I’ve seen several people older than me do an amazing job of building a robust social media platform. So this is where the comfort zone part comes in. I’m just not comfortable doing it any other way than what feels genuine to who I am—and I’m not someone who randomly follows people just because I want to pull the attention back to myself.  I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with it if that’s what you’re doing. Many times I’m super jealous that I can’t do it that way. It’s just not me, and I have a very hard time sounding sincere when I’m doing something that isn’t genuine to who I am as a person. And I’m old enough to know that going that route will certainly backfire in my face.

So here I am, an old dog trying to find a way to at least nudge a toe outside my social comfort zone because I do know that its important to the long-term success of my writing life. I will say that I do like when people leave comments showing they actually read and connected to my post. It means they were at least paying attention enough to give a thoughtful comment rather than a ‘one comment fits all’ approach. Maybe I’ll create a new category—The Genuine Medium Connection—and shoot for that. Compromise is the spice of life after all, right?

How about you—is there any place where you feel stuck?

~ Carrie


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Hey Carrie,

So I let my Facebook author page flounder a lot and then I started posting videos where I give away books. Bam! 1700 reach. Without promo. I used my FB page to post articles about true crime and mysteries. I don't use it to market. It helped me to take a cheap Udemy course on Facebook, but they have them for all sorts of media. Try that. They cost $10 on sale.

Mary Fan said...

Great post, Carrie! I'm still figuring out this whole social media thing, and I'm supposed to be from the social media generation haha. I think a lot of it comes down to personality... just like how some people just have a knack for salesmanship, and others don't. I think I fall into the category of "don't" haha, though I have found great communities via social!

Cheryl Oreglia said...

I’m totally stuck with Pinterest! I hear it’s a great way to generate traffic to your books, blogs, interests but I can’t figure it out. I mostly use twitter and Facebook to promote my blog and interact with followers. Instagram is another mystery to me? I wish it wasn’t so complicated?

Brenda St John Brown said...

I want to be better at Instagram than I am. I'm not a super visual person and my feed feels totally random. It's on my list of things to improve...but it's been there awhile.

Unknown said...

Hope you will keep on offering good content like this more often. I feel more and more people should know about this. Also, I agree on most of the points you have made.
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