Throughout all of time and history – what has been the absolute most effective way to get new clients for your business or gain new readers for you books? Answer: Word of Mouth Referrals

Social Media is “word of mouth referral” today. Just watch the younger generation (you know, the ones “born” with a mobile device in their hands) and see how they use the Internet, Social Media and Apps. They are conversing and sharing their likes, dislikes, where they are and what they are doing on a minute-by-minute basis. You can see that it is alive and growing at a tremendous rate. These are your consumers and readers today and into the future. You can bet they will look for you on Social Media.

But there is a right and wrong way to use Social Media – and in my humble opinion, using it incorrectly can do more damage than not using it at all.

First, you need to recognize the fact that in order to use social media to grow your business or your readership, it’s going to take some time – allow for that time and you’ve reduced some of that stress right off the bat. It’s not a get-rich-quick over-night success scheme- or shouldn’t be touted that way. When handled properly it will follow a natural flow and slowly gain in speed as it progresses.

It’s not all about You! Social Media marketing is about sharing. It’s about building a community of people who share relevant information with each other- it’s about building trust– and it’s about building a relationship with your readers, your clients. And the most important aspect is that it’s about giving to others.

How do you do that? Let’s say you write a blog – share it. Share it on FB, Goggle+ and Twitter – let others share it too. Let your advice or helpful hints reach out to thousands of people. This is an especially wonderful venue for writers. Share your struggles, your advice on how to succeed, your writing tips to beginners.
What if you don’t write a blog? Do some research—using the search engines we have today it’s easy to find articles that say what you’d like to say. Share them!
Read other people’s blogs and Twitter posts to find useful and inspiring articles that bring something to your followers and share it with them. Reach out to others and invite them to your community by offering information and support.

Give readers something that inspires them, gives them some happiness, or makes them more successful in their business or their life, and I promise you’ll receive more followers – and most will be giving back to you, also.
It’s actually a wonderful concept when you think about it. It’s very much like giving back to your physical community- but this “community” can span the globe and reach millions of people.

But using Social Media the wrong way is worse than not using it at all.
What do I mean?
To be clear: just throwing up a FB page or setting up a Twitter account is not considered actively using Social Media. Even if you “Like” or “follow” other people, it’s not enough. As you now know- it’s about interacting with others.
And nothing turns off a prospective client more than a blank FB page with nothing filled out in the profile. Who is this person behind the business, or book?And when there are no recent posts or activity, they can’t help but wonder if you are even still in business, or still writing.
And then there is spamming. Companies and corporations have to get past the idea that Social Media can be used just like all the other “advertising venues” and instead, learn to interact with their clients, and build trust.
Authors seem to be the worst at this, most likely because they have been instructed to “get their name out there”.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with letting your “community” know that you have a new book coming out or received a great review. But constantly posting status up-dates of “buy my book now” or “Look at my great Review” without actively interacting with your readers and caring about them comes across as blatant hawking of your wares. It will cause people to stop following you and you will lose readers.

Give something back to your community in return for their loyalty and they will be excited about purchasing your next great novel or newest product.

Just use common sense. Think about what you consider as thoughtful, helpful posts that you enjoy and do the same for others. Remember to make sure that what you post or share fits with your “brand” or who you are. And go ahead and share some fun sometimes too – just make sure it’s in good taste.
Indy Quillen Media Fast Lanes

Check back soon for my up-coming Best Practices for Social Media blog, for additional tips. And as always, if you find this all just too over-whelming, seek out the help of a Social Media Manager – we can take the stress away and give you the support you need- freeing you up to do what you do best, running your business or writing.