5 Professional Tips For a Strong Networking Backbone
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When you are an author it is important to think of yourself as a business. This frame of thought will help you form a professional foundation on which you’ll build your book sales and most importantly, your network. I know what you’re thinking. How is a network more important than my book sales? You have to put the horse in front of the cart, my friends.
There is both an art and a strategy to networking but the biggest caveat is to remain genuine. Your unique personality is one of your biggest assets when it comes to making connections with others. People can see right through a fake persona plus, it is so much work to maintain. In this article I am going to outline five of the fundamental strategies for developing a strong network.
One: The Elevator Pitch
Ideally you should have an “elevator pitch” memorized for yourself, your book (Heidi Angell offers some great tips), and/or your company. You want to make a good, quick impression by giving succinct information that will leave people wanting to follow up with you. Make sure your social profiles are filled out and accurate. When you know someone can easily find out who you are, what you do, and where you live on the internet, it frees you up to concentrate on the why. In his TedTalk, Simon Sinek explains thepower of why. This perspective will help you shape your pitch in order to connect with others.
Two: Earn Word of Mouth
It’s a marketing and networking tale as old as time. Before the advent of catchy jingles and cartoon mascots there was only one way to advertise. You had to make such an impression on one person that they would run and tell another. Over and over. Sites like Amazon and Goodreads are based on the very concept of “word of mouth,” and now we call that tactic “reviews.” The Write Life gives us some insight on why these reviews are so important.
Of course, that isn’t our only option today, but it still the most important. Be sincere in your dealings with others. People are the bottom line when it comes to your network. When you care about people, deal with them fairly, and deliver high quality, they will talk about you. But more than that, they will bring other people to you.
Three: Be A Social Media Butterfly
Scheduling and automating content is incredibly helpful when you have a full plate. However, you can’t depend on automation to replace honest to goodness interaction. Set aside time each day to focus on answering comments and addressing concerns. Additionally, be sure to comment on others posts with probing questions and well thought out responses. People will naturally seek out further connection with an author who brings more to the table than just witty one liners and well timed gifs (although, those are always appreciated too!) When I schedule something ahead of time I know I would like to follow up on deeper and discuss, I mark it on my planner. “You scheduled an article about writing in coffee shops for today, add some pic comments and shout out the Triple Moon Coffee Company.”
Four: Following Up
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Yes, we live in the real world and things happen and people are so understanding but… If you want to be taken seriously in this new hybrid world of literature, you must be dependable. Everyone gets busy, but following up with people builds a trust in your brand and develops loyalty. Make notes in your planner or on your calendar to remind you to follow up on obligations, show up at a supporter’s event, or just follow up on an issue they are dealing with. Letting people know you care adds value to the brand and persona you are building.
Five: Events, Meetups, Open Mic Nights
We live in the digital age. Sometimes we can become so hyperfocused on social media and online ad space we overlook our most primitive marketing technique: Getting out and meeting people in the real world. This goes hand in hand with the aforementioned “Word of Mouth.” The business part of authoring can be stressful, the authoring part of authoring can be lonely, but the hands on approach of events is pure magic. This is where you get to shine your little introverted light and bask in the glow of other’s muses. In my opinion, multi-media events are the best as I love mingling with musicians and painters as much as other authors.
Go Forth and Build
Now that you have a grasp on the basics for networking, I recommend following up with Heidi Angell’s Twitter Tips to start putting these strategies in action. Twitter is a great place to extend your network with carefully cultivated feeds and a healthy balance between automate content and active participation.
Until next time scribe happy and stay sassy!
If you haven’t already be sure to visit my Patreon page for a dark and stormy walk through the park of my imagination. New stories are posted monthly along with playlists, polls, and more. You can read my supernatural thriller, Next Best Seller, in Tales From Our Write Side available on Amazon.
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