Next week I’ll be a panelist at APAC (Audio Publishers Assoc. Conference) on the topic: MARKETING SUCCESSFULLY AND WITH MANNERS.
At the heart of the topic is the issue of how AudioBook narrators should augment their work by actively promoting their finished books to advance sales. And at the heart of THAT issue is how to promote yourself, your brand, and your online presence.
A constant parade of social media “experts” have written long and convincingly about this. Let me reiterate that I’m skeptical of people who call themselves social media “experts”, as the realm is so constantly changing that I believe the highest attainable status is “student”. But that’s another discussion.
The many blogs, forums, webinars, seminars, e-books, and videos you can absorb on this subject start to reveal a sameness, and I’m going to distill it down to the answers of the two questions I’m most often asked about Social Media.
The first question is: When and how often during the day should I engage my social media channels?
I’ve attacked this issue from many angles, and my best answer is an analogy. Remember when dieticians discovered that your digestive system is more attuned to snacking lightly all through the day rather than seeking three squares? Get it? Sure, you can sit there for hours on end, pounding the keys. But I prefer checking in for short spans, several times a day. That way you can sort of “hit ‘n’ run”. When you come back, you can see reaction to your posts, and pick up the thread. Or, if nothing suits your fancy on THAT network, visit a different one each time. This method also has the added benefit of keeping your presence high throughout the different dayparts.
The Playing Field
Remember, there are 5 huge platforms for social media, and each have their strengths, drawbacks, and unique offerings. In order of importance (my take):
3) Google Plus
Honorable Mention for Voice Actors:
SoundCloud, Vimeo, and maybe AudioBoo
The Social Media Tools
I’ll make this quick ‘n’ easy. Everybody has a desktop, laptop and a tablet computer, or some combination thereof, so it becomes a matter of apps, programs, and innovative streaming technology that dictates this category. They seem to come and go, or get bought out, but an absolute MUST for successful social media students is a smartphone.
Finally, in answer to my first question, many people like to automate, or schedule their posts. I do this, but very carefully. If you CAN’T be a snacker…coming and going all day long to your social media channels, then automating can lend the appearance that you’re present when you’re not. It works OK. Just OK. But if you do it a lot without reinforcing it with real committed personal time on the social media stream, and you will begin to appear false, absent, unengaged, and disingenuous. Hootsuite and Buffer allow painless scheduled posting.
This is the biggie question, and answering it will set the tone for Question #1. The question is:
How do I successfully convey my brand, or my persona in the online channels?
First of all…you ARE your brand…not a logo or a catch-phrase. Neither of those fetching and concocted constructs will replace the real you.
So, the question is how to present you…the REAL you in a virtual medium? As amazing as these social networks are, they are still mostly 2-dimensional…even the videos, so don’t expect to EVER have the impact online that you can have in person (why do you think I’m actually going TO New York City for APAC?)
Here’s is my 3-part answer:
1) Be genuine
2) Be consistent
3) Be helpful
Let’s unpack those:
1) Be genuine. You can be genuinely angry, genuinely sarcastic, or genuinely prickly…but for the purposes of Social Media I’m saying you need to be genuinely charming, positive, and friendly (98% of the time). Unfortunately, wry humor, innuendo, and inside jokes just DO NOT translate well in written word…I don’t care how many emoticons you use. Keep it upbeat, light-hearted, and unambiguous. About all you can do beyond that is be thoughtful, pensive, or questioning.
2) Be consistent. This refers to many things: style, attitude, times of day, direction, approach, knowledge-base. Whatever you decide is your priority…the most important thing about you and the image you’d like to project — do it, and do it consistently. Do it time and time again. Hammer home in every social platform you visit that consistent person, image, thought, and brand. Consistency also refers to your choice of online associations and relationships. Play the field far and wide if you want, but giving your most productive time to a focused core of relationships you hope to develop.
3) Be helpful. Another way of saying this is pay-it-forward. Don’t expect reward. Ask how you can help. Offer factoids, news, videos, and links that play to your consistent brand and interests. Share stuff you don’t think others have heard or seen that might be helpful your friends, followers, and prospects. In this way, hopefully, prospects become friends, become trusted friends, and that leads to rich results.
Woven through all these points is your chance to be “you”. Use words you like to use. Assume non-controversial positions on topics of interest to you. Express non-controversial statements about you and your world. You’d be surprised how much people like to talk about the most unassuming things. (I started a FB thread about shaving preferences once that lasted three days, and over a hundred posts),
It may pain you to be non-controversial or non-confrontational on some threads, but in the end, the true you shines through anyway. Be controversial if you want on private chats, but not in public forums.
There you go…social media secrets revealed from an admitted “student” of the medium. You just got the core of the message I hope to convey at APAC.