Posts Tagged ‘community’

Why every author can not (and should not) be like Gary Vaynerchuk

While at the Interactive portion of the South by Southwest conference, I heard or participated in many conversations about the author’s role in marketing their book. In almost every instance Gary Vaynerchuk’s name came up as the perfect example of what every author should be doing.

While I have complete regard and respect for the online empire that Gary has built, that line of thinking is completely ridiculous.

Gary Vaynerchuk built his business over a long period of time that consisted mostly of creating new web content every day. Once he was ready to release his book, he had the huge following needed to make it a best seller. The problem is most authors have other things going on in their lives, as well they should.

Authors like Dan Ariely or Clay Shirky don’t have time to spend every waking minute creating new web content because they are busy doing the research that makes their books so spectacular, not to mention teaching at their respective universities. The same goes for many of the business book authors out there. They are spending their time building profitable, innovative businesses and would have nothing to write about if they spent that time creating web content.

So this notion that Gary Vaynerchuk is the example that every author should follow is a farce and will only cause discouragement on the part of other authors. Their thinking is what’s the point of trying if you can not do it like Gary, right?

Wrong.

Authors can be successful in building an online platform without it consuming their lives or being the focus of their business. While it does take showing up daily, it does not mean you need to spend hours every day building your online presence. It would be a complete shame if an author was distracted from the seeds of their great ideas by striving to create “enough” web content every day.

The truth is that, while the author does have a responsibility in marketing their book, it does not have to consume their lives. You can begin the process of building your tribe by spending just a few hours a week. It does not have to consume your life. Get started. Keep at it. Little by little, your community will grow and you will sell your book and spread your message.

6 steps to building a fan based community

If you’re wondering how you can move from no audience to a large fan based community, here’s the 6 steps to follow that will get you on your way.

1. Find where people are already showing up and join them. Your potential fans are already congregating together in different places. Show up in person (or better yet, get an opportunity to speak) at conventions and conferences. Follow people on Twitter and get involved in Facebook groups and pages. Do interviews with other experts in your space. Find where people already are and then get involved.

2. Start a blog and write regularly – This is your home base and where you want everyone that finds you via social media to inevitably land.  Use it to expound on your ideas and teach what you are learning.

3. Setup your email marketing – Gain access to directly email your fans.  This is where the people that truly care about what you are doing are going to be.  Move people from blog readers to email subscribers.

4. Train your community to get involved – This is key.  Start small with things like Q&As but ratchet it up over time.  From early on, teach your fans that you expect them to roll up their sleeves and work with you.

5. Cultivate your top 1% – As you ask your community to get involved you’ll start to see a few people’s names show up over and over.  Invite them in to interact with you and start giving them tools to get even more involved.  These will be the people that will have the biggest impact on growing your fan base.

6. Connect your fans to each other – The goal is not to grow a large list of disconnected followers.  The goal is to build a community.  This means they need to interact with each other.  Give them opportunities to do this via digital and physical means.  Forums, Ning communities, workshops and book signings are all examples of this.

These are the steps that have been used over and over to start and build a community of fans that will buy your book and help spread your message.  The exciting thing is you can get started right away!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Picture via notsogoodphotography

An author’s guide to using Twitter

Even though Twitter has been around since 2006 it can still be be baffling to a lot of people.

“What can I say in 140 characters?”

“Do people actually read this?”

“Why do so many people think pictures of their food is interesting?” (ok, that one is mine.)

But the truth is that Twitter can be very powerful in building your following and connecting directly with your community. It is the most filter-free mass communication tool available. There are no editors. There are no public relations. Just your words sent directly to your audience.

It is the easiest digital means of having direct contact with your fans.

But how does this help you?

Before we get into the specific advice, it’s helpful to keep a few social media guidelines in mind:

  • Your top priority is helping your followers. Whether it’s news, knowledge, or laughter, your goal should be adding something valuable to your followers’ lives.
  • Respect your followers’ time. Skip the mundane. Tweeting that you’re eating a burrito is alright if your followers are family and friends. But if you’re trying to build a large following of fans, make sure you respect their time and only post updates that are worthwhile (as stated above).
  • Interact with people. You don’t have to reply to everyone that replies to you, but make sure you’re regularly communicating with people that speak to you. There’s nothing more exhilarating on Twitter than when somebody you’re a fan of replies to you. It will build a much stronger bond with your followers.

Now that we’ve got some general guidelines in place, let’s look at our goals with Twitter.

What is the point of an author getting involved and staying active on this platform? Here are a few things you want to accomplish:

  • Establish your credibility and authority
  • Build a community of fans
  • Funnel people to more parts of your online platform (blog, newsletter, etc)

With these goals in mind, how do we accomplish them?

  • Post links to articles that are the subject material as your book. This accomplishes two things. First, it provides interesting and relevant information to your followers. Second, it shows that you are regularly keeping up with new research and findings on your subject material which further establishes your authority.
  • Post snippets of thoughts you have while researching or writing. Everybody loves previews and outtakes. By updating your audience on projects that aren’t released yet you’re giving them a sneak peak into what you’ll be releasing and also what your thought process is while in the process.
  • Retweet relevant tweets. If one of your followers or another expert posts something on Twitter that is interesting or helpful in your area of expertise, post it for all of your followers to see. This accomplishes the same things as mentioned above.
  • Post links to your own content. Whenever you add a new blog post or have an article published online, let your community know. Self promotion is okay when you’re helping your readers (sharing information) and when it’s balanced by other content.

By following these guidelines you’ll quickly start building a following that view you as an expert in your field and readily share your content.

Extra Links

Picture by respres