I jumped on the opportunity to be part of a See Jane Write panel at the Birmingham Author Expo but almost fainted when I saw the topic about social media. I am not a social media expert. I have not even played one on the internet. What on earth would I share with the crowd about utilizing social media as an author?
I read over the questions several times that Javacia sent me. I watched for the answers on the different social media sites. It was important that I be prepared and leave the listeners with all of their answers in place.
It did NOT work out that way for me. With each question, I shared my experience and also discovered that within those experiences where the very answer I had been trying to discover. The panel discussion may have helped those in the group, but the experience was definitely for me and my own journey.
What I Learned Giving the Author Expo Panel Discussion
1. Choose one social media and focus on that. Only after you build your consistency there should you try to expand out into other sites. I am already on many of the “must have” social media platforms, although my presence is merely a bleep on the radar. I took the words to heart and I focused on one. I am seeing a HUGE difference in the engagement from others because I am making an effort to engage them. Hmmm, maybe this “building relationships” thing has some merit.
2. The quantity is not nearly as valuable as the quality. Several years ago, I was listening to an agent talk about an author platform. “What is the magic number?” Everyone in the crowd wanted to know how many Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or website unique visits were necessary to get the attention of the agent. He refused to give a definite answer. The crowd at the Author Expo asked the same thing – or some form of it. “The engagement from your connections is more valuable than the number.” I said those words – but I also heard them for the first time. Although I still look at my numbers, I am equally interested in the number of shares, retweets, comments and other engagement numbers – even more so, I think.
3. Everyone is an expert to someone. I may not know all there is to know about social media, but I know more than someone else knows. My husband is just now starting to post items on Facebook, so to him I am a Facebook expert. I have been using social media for a few years now, so to others that are just starting out, I am an expert.
4. Everyone can learn something for someone else. I may know more than my husband, but I am learning from his journey. The person in front of me may not have logged on to Facebook, but he may be an expert at engagement. Learning to listen to the experience and information swirling around me at all times can be the key to building social media success (and success for life).
The panel discussion was a huge success – and not just for me. I have already had several contacts from the event and each one has been a delight. My learning experience continues to expand as I remember the words shared by those of us from See Jane Write and those in the audience as well. It turns out that if I am willing to look and listen then everyone knows something worth learning.
And remember - Knowledge IS Power