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If you have published a science fiction or fantasy novel, you'll need to promote it on social media. I know the thought of engaging in yet more social media makes you cringe, but like it or not social media is here to stay. And you may, in fact, be pleasantly surprised at how effective it can be.

Here are some social media platforms that can help you promote your book for free. Although they allow promotion, most of these platforms are not strictly promotional. Their main purpose is to host discussion groups, book clubs, and writing critique groups.

In addition to the ever-present necessity of promoting your work, I would encourage you to take advantage of these non-promotional functions for two reasons: 1) As a writer, it's essential to participate in discussions about your craft and genre, and 2) You may make some valuable contacts with other authors in the course of those discussions. (I did.)

Facebook Groups

Facebook is a huge social media platform, which means it can produce dramatic results. First, set up a page for your book. (This is a must.) Then join writers' groups. The largest and most active writers' groups are listed here: 43 Facebook Groups for Authors. There are also several active Facebook groups geared specifically to science fiction and fantasy writers. These are:

Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers in America. (Closed group) This is for writers who focus their work mainly on science fiction and fantasy. The site is for writers to post small pieces of their work to get others' opinions on them, to offer or request advice about the art, craft, and business of writing, and to exchange interests concerning science fiction and fantasy writing with like-minded individuals.

Cyberpunk Science Fiction & Culture (Closed group) Group dedicated to all things related to cyberpunk: culture, literature, music, film, technology, games, fashion, lifestyle, etc.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. This group is open for anyone who loves the genres of science fiction and fantasy. They welcome readers, writers, viewers and all lovers of the genres.

Science Fiction. (Closed group) For all those interested in science fiction and fantasy adventure reading.

Space Opera. Space opera is a sub-genre of science fiction dealing with stories of epic adventure and conflict on a grand scale. If you are a fan of authors like Poul Anderson, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, E.E. Smith, David Drake, Neal Asher, John C. Wright, Iain M. Banks, Walter Jon Williams, Dan Simmons, Jack Vance, David Weber, Vernor Vinge, Stephen Baxter, Larry Niven, or Louis McMaster Bujold, this group is for you. Authors can promote their books through special promotion threads.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Fans. This is a virtual book club of fans of science fiction and fantasy.

SciFi,Horror,Endoftheworld,Truestory.,other,Books,Screen,Music,Writers. This group is for authors, novelists, screenwriters, and bloggers to share their pages and/or published work.

Goodreads

We PROMOTE Fantasy/Sci-Fi Writers/Authors - "If you need help promoting your work, my Sci-Fi/Fantasy Team can advertise your book in our active Facebook fantasy & sci-fi page with 117,000+ Likes, Twitter page with 20,000 Followers, and feature it in Fantascize.com. We can also help you reach thousands of readers through book reviews, author interviews, book trailers, and any other type of advertisment/promotion you may need. For more details, Email my team at fantasynscifi@gmail.com or me personally at berserkxxo@yahoo.com if you're interested."

SciFi and Fantasy Book Club (15669 members) - This is mainly a discussion group, but there is also a folder for authors to promote their books. Make sure to read the rules before posting. 

SciFi and Fantasy eBook Club (3538 members) - Self-promotion is allowed in the Authors' forum for active members.

Dystopia Land (2047 members) provides a folder where authors can post releases, giveaways, free books, and short stories.  

Twitter Hashtags

#SciFi
#SciFiChat
#scifibookclub
#speculativefiction
#fantasy
#sciencefiction
#DarkFantasy
#Fantasy
#Dystopian
#Paranormal
#PNR (Paranormal Romance)
#SteamPunk
#UrbanFantasy
#ScifiRTG or #SFRTG (Sci-fi Retweet Group)
#IFNRTG (Indie Fantasy Re-tweet Group)

General marketing:

#amreading
#indieauthors
#mustread
#kindle
#kindledeals
#BookMarketing
#IARTG (Indie Author Re-tweet Group)
#YA (Young Adult)
#indiebooksbeseen
#Amazon
#BYNR (Be your next read)
#BookGiveaway
#Free
#Freebie
#FreeBook
#FreeDownload
#FreebieFriday
#FreeReads
#KindleBargain

Google+

Google + communities are an ideal platform for book promotion. These communities are lively, and posting is effortless. (All you need to do is post a URL and a brief intro.) Before you start joining Google+ communities make sure you have set up an attractive profile on Google. It's easy to do, and I guarantee people will be visiting. (My profile has gotten over 5 million views.) You can also set up a page for your book. Don't forget to read the rules of the groups before posting!

Speculative Fiction Writers - This Community is a place where all writers of science fiction and fantasy, from brand new to published authors, can come together to share trials and triumphs in developing new worlds, human and nonhuman characters, and stories large and small. (No promos)

Science Fiction Writers - Any and all discussion related to science, fiction, or any intersection of the two is welcome. This community does not allow self-promotion, but feel free to post book reviews and announce the release of your latest work.
Science Fiction - Authors, please feel free to post information and links for your books, blogs or other promotions, but please be sure to do it into the correct category and be sure to limit your self-promotional posts to once per week.

Fantasy Writers - All active members who post and comment on writing-related topics are welcome to promo their work on Saturdays.

Reddit

Reddit is underutilized for promotional purposes, probably because the site actively discourages self-promotion and ads. Nevertheless, several authors have been "discovered" on Reddit, and have developed sizable fan bases, usually through r/books and its subreddits. (The trick to Reddit is knowing which sub-reddit is appropriate for your topic.)

r/books. This is a very active community dedicated to the world of books. There are no direct promotions allowed on this page, but they do have a “new releases” section where you can promote your book. You are allowed to promote your own writing in "new releases" as long as you follow these two rules:
  1. The books being discussed must have been published within the last three months OR are being published this month.
  2. No direct sales links.

All the sci-fi related subreddits have been collated into a Big list of SF-Related Subreddits. There are too many subreddits to list here, but if you take a quick look at the Big List you will find many in the "writing" section that will be useful. (Also make sure to check the genres list.) There are two sub-reddits that are particularly active, and which allow some self-promotion. (Please read the rules before promoting your work!)

r/scifi (238,420 readers) Saturdays “self-promo Saturdays,” so log in on Saturday to promote your book. If you look at the side bar you'll find numerous subreddits, and within those even more sub-subreddits. 

r/sciencefiction (34,189 readers) This reddit is for fans and creators of science fiction and related media in any form. 

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great tool for sharing information. You can set up a board for your own publications and include photos of your book covers, signing events, and anything else related to your writing. You can also set up a group board devoted to related science fiction or fantasy topics, such as self-published science fiction or your favorite classic science fiction books, and allow others to share their titles. You can join established boards as well. (This is a great way to get followers.) Here are some group science fiction and fantasy boards that welcome new pinners:

SciFi Books – Community Board

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

Bookaholics Anonymous

Indie Authors and Self Published

! Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

For more detailed information about how you can make best use of Pinterest see:  How to Use Pinterest to Build an Audience (For Writers)

 
 
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Have you been approached by services that offer you 10, 000, 20,000 30,000 !!! Twitter followers for a nominal fee?

Don't do it.

Tens of thousands of followers might look good on your home page, but if those followers aren't reading your tweets, looking at your blog posts, and buying your books, they are just meaningless numbers. What you want is real followers, people who are interested in what you have to say, and in what you have written.

How do you get genuine followers?

First you have to find your ideal audience. There are several ways to go about this using three essential tools: Followers, Twitter Lists, and Hashtags.

1) Make a list of successful authors who are similar to you. Look at their "followers" list, and follow accounts that are active. (It helps if they have a significant number of followers - more than 2 digits. Avoid accounts that look like spam, or that don't appear relevant.) This may take a little time, because you will have to actually look at their accounts and see when they last tweeted. (Ideally they should be tweeting at least five times a week.) There is no point following people who don't tweet, because they will not tweet about you. It seems selfish, but the best use of twitter is not what you tweet, but how many people are willing to re-tweet. That's called marketing.

2) Reviewers are your audience, too. To find book reviewers, do a search on #review plus your genre. Ex. "fantasy review." This will produce a list of recent reviews. Click on the account and if the reviewer has tweeted consistently about reviews/books, follow and add them to your list of reviewers. (Note: If you search "reviewer" instead of "review" a list of promotion companies will pop up.) You can also look at the followers on popular review sites.

3) Don't follow blind. Before you follow people, read their recent tweets. If you are interested in their tweets, chances are they will be interested in yours.

4) Look at the Twitter lists of authors in your genre, as well as businesses that promote books, publicists, agents who represent your genre. Do they keep a list of publicists, promotion sites, reviewers? If an author who writes in your genre keeps a list of reviewers, odds are they will be interested in your book. (Make sure you mention how you found them in your query, or in your tweet to them.) If the list is public, and looks as if it will be useful, you can subscribe. Then do steps 1 and 2 above.

5) Expand your scope beyond writers. For example, if you write about politics -  political thrillers included - find people who have similar political views to yours. (Use hashtags to find them. Ex #progressive.) Chances are those people will be interested in what you are writing simply because you share the same point of view. If you write children's books, tweet about parenting, education, and other topics that interest people raising kids. Be engaged with the world.

6) Express yourself. If you feel strongly about something, don't be afraid to have an opinion. You want followers who believe in what you are willing to stand up for. Writers are leaders.

7) Tweet at least 5 times a day on different topics. Vary your tweets to include some with images, some that are an image only, some that are a comment, some that include a link (make sure to shorten it with bitly), and some personal news (your upcoming release, a new project you are working on, etc.) Check to see which tweets get the most responses on Twitter analytics. The tweets that are the most popular are an indication of what your audience likes to hear.

8) Use hashtags in your tweets. People who are on the lookout for topics, genres, free books on Kindle, and news events will search for them using hashtags. (If you aren't using hashtags, your tweet will get lost.) You can use those hashtags to find people who tweet on specific topics. Check out their home page, and if you like what they tweet, follow.

9) Don't be afraid to use Twitter to communicate directly with people - even if they are not your followers. I find that people who tweet me get my attention. Whether they are commenting on one of my tweets or offering something, I almost always respond, either by tweeting back, or by checking out the link they've sent me. Literary agents are more likely to respond to a tweet than to a query. To get the attention of readers and reviewers there is no better tool than direct communication via Twitter. (Don't DM - direct message. People resent DMs. Just mention them via their handle @personyouaretweetingto.)

10) Make sure your bio includes the information that is relevant to potential followers. For example, if you write sci-fi, include your genre so that sci-fi readers can find you.  Don't include the fact that you have three kids, unless you specifically want Moms to follow you. Include what you tweet about and a personal closer that will get attention (e.g. something witty, funny, cute, dark - anything with a punch). Ex: "Author of scifi novels & short stories. Tweets about astronomy & Indie publishing. Building a time machine in my basement on weekends." Always include where you live on your profile, your website, and a head shot. (No eggs!)
Finding your ideal audience will take time and patience, but if you devote 15 minutes a day you can build a significant following within a few weeks. Two thousand active and engaged followers are worth more than 10,000 followers who exist in name only.

Related posts:

225 Hashtags for Writers

Platform, Shmatform: Social Media - How Numbers Lie

Twitter: How to Build a Following - for Writers

 
 
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Scroll down for an absolutely fabulous blog post by Rob Eager, which appeared on Tools of Change a couple of weeks ago. 

The article struck a chord with me for two reasons. The first is that my stats teacher said exactly the same thing to us on the first day of classes. (I think they all do.)

The other is that my experience coincides with Rob's. For example, one of the newsletters I edit has 35,000 subscribers. Only 12.3% of them open the newsletter. Of those, roughly 1% actually read more than the first article. While I love telling people that over 100,000 people subscribe to the newsletters I assemble, it certainly doesn't mean I am reaching nearly that number.

The same is true of Facebook. With over 17,000 "likes" on the FB page I manage, how many of those people actually look at any given post? I am lucky if it is a tenth of that. And very few of those people click on the link to the main site.

And don't get me started on how many of those people actually purchase anything.

Does this mean you should stop posting on Facebook, tweeting, and so on? No. The numbers may ultimately be meaningless, but prospective agents are always impressed by four or five zeros after any integer.

Apparently, none of them has never taken a stats class.
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Numbers never lie…unless you’re talking social media: Measuring results in our rush to be followed, liked, and shared

By Rob Eagar on TOC

Back in college, I took a class on statistics and never forgot the first lesson my professor taught us, which was, “Anyone can manipulate numbers to make them mean whatever they want.” I see this point magnified today by the mass adoption of Twitter and Fakebook, err – I mean Facebook. We’re at a period in time where numbers can mean so much and simultaneously mean so little.

The more people use social media, the bigger a desire to be followed, liked, and shared. We live in an age where online popularity has the ridiculous ability to control major business decisions or determine someone’s career. Yet, there’s never been a time when big numbers can be inflated so easily and deceptively. For example:

1. According to the New York Times, people can buy fake followers on Twitter for $18 per 1,000. I’ve also seen shady businesses on Ebay offer fake Facebook followers for a similar price range.

2. Facebook claims to offer an effective advertising medium, yet their average click-through rate is .0005 (5 in 10,000) In addition, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 4 out of 5 Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network site.

3. In addition, researchers at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute found that less than 1% of fans of the 200 biggest brands on Facebook actually engaged.

4. A guy claiming to have 50,000 Twitter followers bragged that he could use his influence to generate a bunch of sales for my new book. I put him to the test, let him send out his “tweets,” but never received a single order related to his audience. (For some time-wasting fun, check out http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ to help analyze how many legitimate Twitter followers someone actually has. 59% of Barack Obama’s followers are fake.)

5. According to ConstantContact, the average open rate for email newsletters is only around 19%. So, an author who claims to have 5,000 newsletter subscribers is probably reaching around 1,000 readers.

6. My own experience with the ShareThis WordPress plug-in for bloggers revealed that anyone can easily run up the share counter that’s displayed without actually sharing the information from a blog post with anyone. The counter may display “100” shares, but there’s no way to verify an actual number.

I’ve seen some bloggers (I don’t mean to bash, so they’ll remain nameless) promote an artificial number on their blog that combines all of their different social media followers and subscribers into one large number, which is designed to make you think their platform is bigger than it really is.

When the human ego merges with social media, there seems to be no limit to the level of nonsense that people will create. Numbers that are supposed to mean so much can actually mean very little.

As my statistics professor warned, be careful about putting too much faith in numbers. Just because someone displays 10,000 Twitter followers or Facebook friends doesn’t mean their sphere of influence is at that level. In an age where numbers are easily manipulated, we’re better off focusing on the only numbers that really matter, which is how many books sold, how many new readers added, and how many dollars deposited into the bank.

 
 
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How to Get 40,000 Readers Without Guest Blogging

Guest post on http://kikolani.com/how-to-get-40000-readers-without-guest-blogging-2.html by Gregory Ciotti December 12, 2012 . Greg Ciotti takes an unconventional view of guest blogging. His methods might not be well-suited for most writers' blogs, but his comments on reciprocity are cogent. (The original article has some neat graphics. It's worth taking a look.)

Only a few months ago, I started my recent project, an electronic music blog by the name of Sophistefunk.

Before I get into the details, let’s get with the goods:

I’ve hit over 40000 unique visitors after only being live for a few short months.

And I did it without a single guest post about this blog!

But how?

Well, that’s what I’m here today to tell you!

If you are looking for some sort of secret sauce, look elsewhere, but if you want to see some smart implementation of direct-to-success techniques that you can use in any niche, read on, this post is for you.

But first, let me address why I didn’t use guest posting for this new blog…

Seriously, Why No Guest Posts? When it comes to guest blogging, I will give myself a pat on the back and say that I’m fairly experienced in the process: I’ve used it to grow almost every blog I’ve ever started/worked with.

Almost.

What they don’t tell you in the blogging world very often is that sometimes, guest posting is not always a viable option depending on the niche that you are in.

Sure, there are always ways to post about your blog (no matter the topic) on “blogging about blogging” sites (only a small fraction of which contain any useful info, luckily Kikolani is part of that small fraction).

The thing is, these types of visitors aren’t always ideal: their main interest is in blogging, not necessarily the topic that your blog is about.

I really encountered this problem with my electronic music blog: music blogs almost NEVER accept guest posts, why should they?

Most posts on a music site are going to be media focused (videos & audio) and are relatively short, there’s no need to bring in another author.

So, for all of the support that guest blogging gets (and rightfully so), when it comes to a niche where you can’t realistically use it as a traffic generating method in a consistent manner, what is a blogger to do? Totally give up on the niche?

NO!

Where there is a will, or more specifically, a will to do some legwork, there is a way.

What Guest Blogging is Really About… As great as guest blogging can be for direct traffic, building awareness, and indirect traffic in terms of backlinking & SEO, the real benefit behind guest blogging is that is allows you to build relationships with people influential in your niche.

In reality, providing a ton of value with a great guest post can go a lot farther than a handful of new visitors to your site: by providing value to an author of a popular blog, you plant the seeds to build a relationship which can result in this author doing a lot more for you than just accepting your post.

In my interview with Leo of the BufferApp, Leo stated that he believes one of the most powerful aspects of guest blogging is that it typically leads to reciprocation between the guest post submitter and the blog’s author.

That is, if you provide a ton of value to another blogger with a guest post, they will often reciprocate by checking out your content, and if they like what they see, they’ll share it with their followers not because they feel indebted, but because they want to share awesome content.

These types of relationships are absolutely essential if you want to build a popular blog in a target niche, and guest blogging is really only a means to that end, rather than the actual end itself.

So I knew I could succeed in the end goal of building relationships, the only thing I was really lacking was the use of guest blogging to serve as the “ice-breaker” to the influential people in my niche.

Then it hit me.

What if, this time around, other bloggers were NOT the most influential people in my topic?

How To Build Relationships I began to realize that in my niche, it was actually the musicians who were the most influential in terms of having large followings and receptive audiences: music blogs are a dime a dozen, so building relationships with artists was a surefire way for me to stand out.

I began to realize that I didn’t need guest blogging in this circumstance, and my findings lead me to 3 main points which I’m going to discuss with you today:


  1. Why email is the greatest “social network” of all
  2. Sometimes it’s best to network with those around you, rather than those “above” you
  3. Social media, when used correctly, helps small ideas blossom into bigger projects
All 3 of these techniques played a vital role in creating the consistent traffic that I see today, and below I’m going to show you exactly how I went about it.

1.) Email Is King: Bow Down to the Greatest “Social Network” I’ve always had a saying when it comes to blogging that shocks many people when they first hear it, but I stand by it to this day…

You should be spending almost as much time in your email client as you do writing posts in order to build your blog!

It might sound crazy, but as many experienced bloggers know, email is where all of the magic happens!

Sure, social media is a great traffic generation source, and keeping in touch with people on social networks is a great place to build relationships (will get into that in a bit), but the fact remains is that the “meat” of your business dealings will take place behind the scenes, using email.

You should be as fluent with proper email writing techniques are you are writing blog posts.

Think about it: do you know the best way to approach someone for a guest blogging submission?

How about for bigger requests, like interviews, collaborations, or asking them to support your content because you think they’d be interested in it?

It might sound scary, but you are going to need to know how to talk to influencers via email and know how to capture their attention.

I used email as the absolute backbone for grabbing attention for my blog.

Generally speaking, my two most popular post types (keeping in mind that this is a music blog) are:
  1. Interviews with artists
  2. Premieres of brand new tracks

Neither of these things could be accomplished without the use of email, so no matter how many tweets I sent out, I can safely attribute to my blog breaking the “initial hump” solely by my consistent quality of content and my effective use of email.

There are a few key points that I want you to know about when it comes to email (and I’m a guy to both sends and receives a ton of email…)

  • Always keep your messages short, unless you’ve come to agreement with the recipient to talk about a topic at length
  • Keep your subject line as straightforward as possible, and use numbers so people can gauge time commitment
  • Try to reference a past experience with the person in question, even if it’s just something like “enjoyed your latest video/project/blog post”

Here’s a sample email that I’ve used to land interviews with popular musicians:

Subject Line: 3 quick interview questions [Notice how I address what the interview is about, use a number and the word "quick" to signify a small workload, and get right to the point] 
 
Hey (Artist Name), 
 
Just wanted to shoot you a quick email, I’ve had your latest album on repeat lately and I’ve been featuring you a ton on my blog Sophistefunk.com, big fan of your music.
I was wondering if you had the time to answer 3 quick interview questions for me and my readers, I know they are always raving about your work and it would be my pleasure to feature some of your thoughts on my blog. 
 
I’ve done past interviews before with [Example] and they turned out really well:http://LinkToAPastInterview Here are the questions below, thanks again for your time and keep making great music, and I’ll keep supporting it =)
You’ll notice I advocate a 3-5 paragraph max, with no more than two sentences per paragraph.

Really, the shorter the better, this one was actually a bit longer of an example because I wanted to fit a few strategies in.

You’ll also notice that I start off with “I’m a fan”, signifying some loyalty to the person I’m reaching out to.

I also state the benefits in a direct manner: “My audience would enjoy…”, telling the person that I have an audience that they could get more exposure to.

Lastly, I post a the best example I have, one of mine is an interview with Michal Menert, which got over 180 shares in 24 hours.

2.) Networking With Those Around You When it comes to creating real connections and doing smart networking, most people have the right idea, but far too often I see people attempting to network only with people “above them”, and they often miss out on the great connections that are in plain sight around them.

The thing about networking with the “little guy” is that they are much more likely to reciprocate, and by showcasing their content, you are putting the spotlight on an up-and-comer, which is much more interesting than posting about the “big guys” that everybody already knows about.

This kind of networking can be really rewarding, just look at how Tom Ewer’s post on 5 Non A-List Bloggers You Should Be Following got mentioned on one of the biggest Problogger posts of the year, and how I’m mentioning it right now!

So, how was I able to utilize “helping the little guy” to build my blog up to 40,000 visitors, and more importantly, how can you do the same?

When it comes to running a music blog, the artists are king, since they are really the content providers for your site (although I published my thoughts and the occasional electronic music podcast, artists still rule the roost).

I began realizing that my featuring of much smaller artists had a larger relative impact, in that by featuring their music or by linking to them, I was sending them a respectable amount of traffic, but a mere blip on the radar to huge, popular artists.

By featuring a larger artist’s music, I wouldn’t even get a friendly tweet (that’s not to disrespect them, with more popularity comes less time for networking with small to medium sites like mine).

Yet, when I would feature an independent or “just getting started” artist, they would almost always share the post on social networks, send me a thank you email, and much more (such as providing unreleased music, just for my site!)

Think that this strategy is exclusive to my niche?

Try replacing the word “blogger” with “artist” in the paragraphs above.

You can pursue the same strategy, reaching out to “up and comers”, by connecting with and featuring soon to be superstars in your niche.

My personal take on this strategy?

I started a weekly feature called “Follow Friday” where I would feature 7 independent artists who had submitted their tracks to me.

By pairing up these talented but not yet established artists, I would 7 separate personalities (and their growing following) sharing the same post all at once.

This not only provided a unique feature for my site, but it instantly got me more links and social shares.

Funny how that works: people with a lot to gain from you mentioning them will be grateful in return.

How to apply this to your blog: Outside of just doing a featured post or linking to other bloggers, engage with them directly!

As an example: I did an interview with Rafal Tomal for my marketing blog Sparring Mind.

This post got a tremendously positive response, and it was because I took two talented WordPress designers who were established, but not so known as to make them “over-discussed”, and I got them to dish out their real opinions on what kind of blog designs convert well.

I took a topic people wanted to read, found under-appreciated talents that knew what they were talking about, and put them together for one dynamite post.

What kind of interviews & collaborations could you be forming with up-and-coming bloggers in your niche?

I had to ask myself that very question for both of these projects, but for my music blog I decided to go with musicians over fellow bloggers, but the general concept remains the same: collaborating with unique talent is a great way to build rapport with talented people and also provide useful content along with it.

3.) Using Social Media Correctly (Saving Time & Sanity) I’ve got a love/hate relationship with social media.

On one hand, it’s great as an “icebreaker”, and creating connections that have long term positive effects for your brand, as well as being a good traffic source.

On the other hand, unless you are actively pursuing these end goals, social media can be a complete waste of time, even worse, it makes you feel like you are “working on your business” when in fact you are doing a whole lot of nothing.

The thing with a “cold” email is, without recognizing you, some people might simply ignore your initial contact or be hesitant to respond back to you.

I’ve found that for my blogs, social media (especially Twitter), is fantastic for laying the groundwork for future email discussions, which are usually where the real work gets done (I’m telling you, email really is top dog).

It’s often as simple as “tagging”, by utilizing mentions on either Facebook or Twitter to let a blogger (or in my case, a musician) know that you’ve mentioned them in some way.

I’d often do this for new music premiere’s, and many artists would gladly retweet to their large following, just as a way to say thanks.

Noted Psychology Professor Robert Cialdini (author of the popular Influence book) would describe this process as reciprocity, one of the 6 key ways to being more influential.

Giving to others often leads to them giving back, and scale is important in determining whether they will reciprocate and in what fashion.

What I mean by “scale” is how much your initial act effects them, that’s why connecting with those “around you” works so well: your impact on them is much greater.

Social media is your way of alerting them that you are doing do, and a great way to “pursue” traffic and increase the influence of your network, rather than just sitting around and waiting for these things to happen.

I use social media for two very specific purposes for my blog, one that is something general that any blog can do, and another that is very niche specific but brings me in a lot of traffic. (Hopefully they will serve as inspiration to you).

The first I briefly touched on above: I use social media as an icebreaker for larger projects.

I typically do this by starting a conversation with the a specific person’s latest tweets, and later I let them know I’d like to chat with them via email.

When people see you are interested in discussing something via email, they are generally receptive if you’ve shown yourself to be a coherent human being with good social media etiquette: that means it’s likely your email will most likely be interesting for them.

The second is simple notification, it’s something I use to practice effective guest blogging and it’s also something I use for my music blog.

On a guest post, alerting people via social media (or if you’ve established a relationship, via email) is a great way to notify them that you’ve featured something they’ve on a big blog. They will likely reciprocate by sharing the post with their followers, since it features them and they want repay you for the mention.

With my music blog, I would instead notify all of the independent artists who I feature using Twitter mentions and Facebook tagging. The thing is, 95% of people would then share the post, grateful that I had taken the time to feature their music.

Bloggers are likely to do the same, especially if you are connecting around you like I mentioned above (big bloggers don’t always have the time to reciprocate).

So, don’t just use social media to share links and post about your thoughts, use it to be social, notifying people and breaking the ice, which will hopefully lead to more productive discussions via email.

 

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