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Archive for the ‘2013 Winter Author Blog Challenge’ Category

Winter Author Blog Challenge #3: I’ve come a long way from my status as a Twitter virgin

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

That said, here’s the THIRD prompt:

Are you on Twitter? Perhaps more than any of the other social media platforms, Twitter has developed its own language. Tweets. Twitterverse. Rewteet. Are you invested in the lingo? So how do you make a statement in 140 characters? Are you following more people or are more people following you? How do you decide whom to follow? Do you reciprocate and automatically follow back everyone who follows you? What kinds of things do you post? How often do you post? What advice do you have for those who are just getting started? IF YOU’RE NOT USING Twitter, go look at it (twitter.com) and either find your favorite author or put “author” in the search field and look around. What’s your take? Which tweets interest you? What would you post if you did decide to create an account? What’s the likelihood you’ll be following @AuthorBlogChal anytime soon? Be sure to give us the link.

Much as with Facebook, I was also a Twitter early adopter. Although I certainly had my “I couldn’t care less what people are feeding their pet gerbils for lunch!” moments, I soon realized there was a great deal of value to be gleaned from learning to Tweet. I was more irritated with the cutesy Twitter lingo that seemed to spring up like weeds after a rainstorm (two of two of the words I most revile are “blogosphere” and “twittersphere”). And, like most people, I had no idea how to begin.

funny tweets

I think even today, seven years after Twitter’s inception, you can tell the feeds belonging to Twitter virgins from those who have multiple Twitter handles by their very first tweets. Those who start right off posting content have obviously been Tweeting awhile. Those who write “This is my first Tweet” are brand new.

What I eventually found was that Twitter is just a giant chatroom, with 500 million other people in it. The great news is that you get to decide whom to follow, with whom to interact, and how you interact with them. If you want to read tweets about what people are watching on TV every hour of the day, you can find them. If you’re more interested in connecting with literary types (agents, publicists, editors, publishing execs, book designers, other authors), they are there, too.

It was suggested to me when I first got started on Twitter that I stick to my professional subject: publishing. And that worked for about a month ― until I started to see all kinds of other topics that interested me: politics, personal development, spirituality, marketing, alternative health. So I started following people tweeting on those subjects, as well. Most people I follow can still be slotted into one or more of those six categories.

I spent an enormous amount of time in the beginning building my Twitter presence ― no less than an hour a day for three straight months. It paid off, though, in that even when I don’t post a tweet for weeks at a time now, I’m still adding a dozen new people a week, at minimum. Yet I’m nowhere near the stratospheric record of my friend Stephanie Quilao (@skinnyjeans) who organically grew her following to 57,300 people just by writing good content and being INTERACTIVE (aka social) on the site almost from Day 1. Her feed is so popular, she was named one of the top health influencers, right alongside @DrWeil and @DrOz, even though she’s a “civilian” just like you and I.

HootSuite_Logo

It took me a while to embrace HootSuite as a mechanism for managing multiple Twitter feeds, but now I wouldn’t do without it. At present, I “manage” five Twitter feeds. I use the term loosely, in that some get a tweet once a month, while others are fed much more regularly. Without a doubt ― and understandably, I like to think ― the one that gets the most attention is @phxazlaura, the one I spent all that time building. The others are @authorblogchal (of course!), @1001rlqfw (MY book), @WomenLeaders4Peace, and @ABWA_VoSEN.

People often want to draw comparisons between Twitter and Facebook. In my opinion, that’s like comparing a big-box department store to the facebook vs twittergeneral store in a small town. They serve a similar function, but in wildly different ways. Although Twitter has expanded to make video and photo posting easy, it still remains a microblogging site ― quick hits of 140 characters. Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to post entire photo albums, you can see the video without having to open an additional window, and your text posts can be seemingly limitless (actually, the limit is 8,000 characters).

The platforms are different, as are the users. I had a ball when I started using Twitter, but the variety of capabilities makes Facebook my preferred platform. I think I learn more from Twitter, but I find more inspiration and connection on Facebook. VisualScope.com has a great way of making the distinction: “Twitter is better as a fresh news portal and directing traffic. Facebook contrasts in that it still reigns as the king of relationship-building.”

As far as discerning which one an author should begin with, the only way to answer it is by discerning where his or her readers are spending their time. If you’re writing nonfiction about a timely, topical subject, Twitter is your better bet for creating conversation. For timeless fiction, Facebook is a better place to create a community of fans and followers.

If you’re not yet using Twitter because you don’t see the value, I encourage you to explore a few popular author feeds, do a search for a term that interests you and read the feeds, or take a spin around Time magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2012. You may just experience a change of heart.

In the meantime, come Tweet with us!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #2: The challenges of being a Facebook early adopter

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

With that, here’s the second prompt:

Do you have a Facebook fan page for yourself/your book? How long ago did you start it? Did you do it yourself or have someone help you? Are you seeing lots of new people liking it? What kinds of things do you post? What have you found to be the most effective way to get fans/have people interact? IF YOU DON’T HAVE a Facebook fan page, tell us about the fan page for an author you know or like. Why do you like them and why did you “like” their page? What do you think they are doing well that you would like to model with your own page? Do you have a goal date for creating your own fan page? Be sure to give us the link.

I have been blessed with the MOST amazing mentors! One of the most influential is my former personal trainer, Scott White. He gave me a foundation for everything I know about social media, Internet marketing, and building my business. In fact, I doubt I’d be sharing this blog with you if not for his patient coaching and early mentoring. He’s the reason I joined Facebook and Twitter. He introduced me to Craigslist. He taught me about GotPrint.com — the best business card and postcard deals on the web!

FB personal

It was way back in early 2007 when I got started on Facebook. This was L-O-N-G before Fan Pages existed … so for a long time, my personal page was all I had, and I have yet to grow the support for the Fan Page for my business to anywhere near the 2,569 friends I have on my personal page. Interestingly, in all my study of Facebook Fan Pages, I know quite a bit about how it all works (wouldn’t it be a blessing if Zuckerberg’s minions would stop “improving things” long enough for us to figure out how the latest changes worked?) but seem to spend quite a bit of my energy building and supporting others’ (clients, husband, organizations I belong to) pages as mine rather limps along.

Although politics interests me and I follow many political topics, pages, and personalities, I tend to try not to post incendiary stuff on my personal page. Of course, what’s innocuous to me may be a lightning rod to someone else, and I did delete/block a few people during the most recent presidential campaign. The reason I mention this is that I’m still juggling the personal and professional on my personal page, perhaps the biggest challenges of pre-Fan Page success.

As client work has increased, I’ve slowed my personal posting down a bit, but the three things that helped me grow my personal page were the daily posts of: (1) an image that contained words of some sort, (2) a writing quote, and (3) a writing prompt. I posted these every day for nearly 2 years. I’m a bit more sporadic with my posts now, but I still put up images with words and the writing quotes, always accompanied by the same image. No one has told me they miss the writing prompts. Perhaps if I heard feedback to that effect, I’d start those up again, too.

fb posts

Though many have complained about the new (a year ago) Timeline feature of both personal and Fan Pages, they’re actually quite useful on the Fan Page side. One important thing you can do is create events or milestones to document things like your book launches or readings and other successes. The feature allows you to include up to 5 images, and used well, these become a great selling tool!

Jenn's signing

Here’s the post we put up to celebrate the success of a client’s first book signing event. Jenn Laurent is in California and we’re in Phoenix, but we celebrated virtually. This post was our opportunity to share Jenn’s success with our fans and by doing so, showcase our skill and expertise.

Laser FG

A similar story is true with this post, celebrating 4 years of working with a valued client, Samuel N. Asare of Laser Financial Group.

Another important thing authors can do with their Fan Pages is add the Author Marketing App. This is a great way to give your Fan Page followers an overview of your published work. The app installs as a tab on your Author Fan Page and then allows you to add details about your books and upcoming events. If you’re selling your books on Amazon, listing them is as easy as entering the ISBN!

There are dozens of little secrets like this that can help you improve your Facebook presence, and as a result, perhaps help you sell Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebookmore books. If it’s just not your strong suit to learn it, know it, and do it, consider hiring a pro to help you maximize your success. If you want a step-by-step guide through the process, please consider purchasing our eBook, Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business. It’s just $12.99 for nearly 200 pages of screen shots and step-by-step instructions.

Facebook pages we own, have built, or manage:

Write | Market | Design

Albert Mensah Student Speaker

CareerPro Résumé & Writing Center

Mickey Clement – Acoustic Guitarist

ABWA – Valley of the Sun Express Network

In the meantime, we’ll see you on Facebook!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #1: The Genesis of Marcie Brock

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

With that, here’s the first prompt:

Tell us about your blog. How long have you been blogging? Do you write on a regular schedule? Do you plan your topics in advance or write as the spirit moves you? What was your favorite post? At which post do you look back and wonder what you were thinking when you wrote it? What has been the best feedback you’ve ever received? Have you ever written anything that was perceived as controversial, though you didn’t intend it that way? What tips would you offer other author bloggers?

Marcie Brock was born on May 2, 2011, so she’s about to turn 2. Marcie is my alter-ego. She’s a savvy communications expert who LO & Marciewill share with you everything she knows about marketing your self-published books. The blog came about as I moved deeper into book marketing as a significant component of my business. After years of working as an editor, helping my clients get their books written and published, I began to notice that most of them had very little skill when it came to marketing these books they’d worked so hard to create. I had marketing expertise, so it was a natural fit to expand my services to first include — and now focus on — marketing their books. I now specialize in teaching self-publishing authors to think like marketers, meaning that they are planning their launches, building their platforms, and crafting their marketing strategies from the moment they begin writing.

As valuable as I KNOW writing on a regular schedule to be, life and business don’t always allow for it. It helps me stay organized to have  themes, and I believe it also helps my readers, as topical series allow me to explore topics much more fully than random single topics would. Of course, being a continuous learner who loves to share what she learns, I also write impromptu posts fairly often.

It’s funny that what I enjoy writing is not necessarily what readers seem to see, like, or comment on. Of course, blog posts that teach (which is most of them) are fun. Blog posts where I tell stories about real-life incidents are also enjoyable. But the post I truly love is the one titled, “The Art of Captivation: What makes us LOVE that book, movie, song…?” U2 is my favorite band on the planet. I was listening to the A side of Joshua Tree for perhaps the 500th time, when the question occurred to me. What makes me LOVE this music so much? And what draws us to particular art or movies or books?

The post that shattered all records was just about a year ago, on March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day. Marcie Brock had been getting some good traction in the search engines because I was posting pretty regularly, and then a strange thing happened. It seems that traffic to the International Women’s Day site itself – which had the #1, #2, and #3 results for that term – overwhelmed the site to the point that people were unable to load the pages they were seeking. Our post contained just basic information about IWD, with links to a few events around the world and a link to the main IWD event calendar. But it must have been enough of what people wanted, because we captured the residual benefits from ranking #4 for the term “international women’s day” with NEARLY 1,000 HITS over March 7 and 8! Our previous high had been 192 hits in a single day.

In July 2011, I wrote a post I thought was very clever, titled 10 Ways Marketing is Like Bowling. It was a fun little post inspired by a girls’ Marcie the bowlernight out with some new friends. Imagine my surprise to receive this EXTREMELY disapproving comment:

Too bad you brought beer into this article. It was quite funny and interesting, but then you mentioned alcohol and you lost my attention. People really should stop advertising alcohol and associating it with fun. Alcohol is the leading cause for accidents, violence, abuse, job loss and heart attacks and strokes. Advertizing it is wrong.

Seriously? I wasn’t glorifying drinking, but obviously this was a trigger issue for the commenter. One thing I’m learning the more I put stuff out there: there’s no pleasing everyone. I choose to allow unfiltered comments on my blog, as I don’t want to put any extra barriers (besides the internal spam filter) between my readers and their ability to comment. And so far, this is the worst feedback I’ve received. When people write snarky comments on your blog, you have the options to comment back, hit the delete button, or let them stand without reply.

For more ideas about blogging, see the many posts I’ve written on the topic.

Happy blogging!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

Read Full Post »

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