November 11, 2017
This week I realized I shared a comment on social media with a wrong motive. I was showing off, trying to force a connection with an industry professional I’ve never met. Disappointed in myself, I powered down my cell phone to get my heart right.
Some would contend that networking is a benefit of social media. Agreed.
But I was not networking.
I was acting the fool, smelling myself, showing my butt – or some other slang phrase meaning to act unprofessionally! That person may not have realized it, but I did.
Fortunately, I self-corrected. Albeit, I may have lost the opportunity to work with that person – or not. Either way, it was a reminder of how easily it is to participate online with wrong motives.
Get it Right
Generally, I avoid that pitfall while on social media. Not because I’m immune, but because I deliberately work on my motives. That’s because, over the years, I’ve learned that wrong ones will stop us from being effective while pure ones will prosper our work. Always.
Here are six right motives. Connect on social media to:
1. Enjoy Relationships. Social media is a powerful tool for developing and/or maintaining relationships. It allows us to bond with people near and far, sharing their lives online as we also connect offline, where possible. Make connecting to enjoy relationships a top priority. It is perhaps one of the best motives for using social media. On Facebook, for example, my “friends” include my relatives, long-time friends from elementary school through college, and new friends I’ve met since. I’m also linked to many, many writer-friends, and others in publishing.
2. Glean Knowledge. Social media offers a plethora of information. When we connect with writers and others in publishing we expose ourselves to needed material not always readily available in other venues. Included: genre-specific material; new submission guidelines; upcoming contests; writing opportunities; and, links to research resources. Also available: material about training opportunities – from onsite conferences, to online workshops and webinars, and more! Opt for attendance, or sponsor someone else.
3. Get Support. Use social media for obtaining support generally, or for specific writing projects. Find needed encouragement and inspiration. Find a mentor. Bask in encouraging words, and cyber high fives. Accept comfort for disappointments, and other difficult life moments. But also remember to generously support others.
4. Enjoy Fandom. Openly connect with writers and other creatives whose work you love, love, love. Join in conversations about their projects. Share their messages, when applicable. Promote their projects and/or events. Enthusiastically encourage others to become fans. But don’t be that weird, creepy fan. Ever. Similarly, be social. Accept fans’ requests to connect with you. Use privacy settings or develop author pages, if desired, to maintain a separation of your private and public lives.
5. Have Fun. Social media usage can be fun. Actually, I believe it should be! Ramp up the fun by: 1) adding or removing followers; 2) joining other platforms; and/or 3) being authentic. If those strategies don’t work, perhaps it’s time for a social media hiatus.
6. Build Platform. Reaching intended audiences for our material is important, and social media is an effective method of achieving that goal. But do not use social media solely for building a platform. Too many writers have tried and failed. Why? Because they forgot the human element. They focused more on their goals, than on meeting needs of their online audiences. Never forget: people are people before they are book buyers, workshop attendees, or street team participants.
Love it or leave it, social media is important to writers. It offers us many benefits, including the ability to connect with other scribes – and others in the publishing industry – for inspiration, information, and opportunity. Plus, it’s so important many traditional publishers seek information about a writer’s social media engagement when considering projects.
As responsible social media users it is essential that we engage for the right motives! Doing so increases the likelihood we’ll remain engaged, active users, reaping the many associated benefits. So, choose to engage with the right motives – starting with the six above.
Lisa A. Crayton is an award-winning freelance writer, multi-published author, conference speaker…and more. She loves helping writers, and challenging them to achieve their goals and dreams! Connect with her on Facebook.