Are You an Introvert? Here’s Your Dilemma
Selfies, bad grammar, cryptic status updates (“some people don’t deserve my time…”) and verbal diarrhea. Ugh. What is the obsession with social media? How can anyone enjoy this drivel?
And who has time for it? With everyone competing for attention no one is going to pay any attention to you, right?
Why would you put yourself ‘out there’ only to be ignored, or worse, ridiculed?
Using social media for book marketing can be an intimidating prospect for any author, but especially a self-published introvert. Fortunately, you can learn how to make it work for you.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Using social media for book marketing can be an intimidating for introverts” quote=”Using social media for book marketing can be an intimidating for introverts”]
The “Problem” with Social Media
As an introvert, I’ve been more than a little baffled by the rise of social media. Sure, on the one hand, it can mean we don’t have to spend as much time socializing with real people (exhausting), but on the other, it seems we have to be always on, permanently connected to the rest of humanity and unable to switch off.
For us introverts, downtime is hugely important, even necessary. But let’s get one thing straight right away. Introverts are not necessarily shy, and we don’t hate talking to people.
We just don’t care much for small talk.
And for a good percentage of the time, that’s what social media streams have.
What your partner’s boss ate for dinner, how much laundry your neighbor has piled up, and photos of children … so, so many photos of other people’s children.
Don’t get me wrong; I love food, reassurances that I’m not the only inefficient housewife and pictures of cute babies. But I have my limit.
The good news is that social media may be like this for individuals, but it doesn’t have to be like this when using it for business. And yes, I mean your book marketing is a business.
All those things you hate about social media; the oversharing, the incessant noise, the shallow conversations and the political statements that make you feel uncomfortable as you discover one of your closest friends has radically different views to you, those things don’t have to be a part of your book marketing.
Introverts Can Shine on Social Media
If you’re an introvert, you’re most likely to prefer meaningful one-to-one conversations over small-talk and enjoy structured social activities, such as a class or club, more than a loud party or gathering.
Social media can be as draining as a noisy get-together for many introverts. And as introverts can also be highly sensitive, it can feel like a dangerous and exposed place to hang out.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Social media can be as draining as a noisy get-together for many introverts” quote=”Social media can be as draining as a noisy get-together for many introverts”]
But here’s the thing. Introverts can be incredibly confident and interesting to talk to when they have something to say that they care about. They also tend to write better than they speak and be good listeners. These qualities can help introverts to shine on social media.
Social media feeds often give the impression that everyone is shouting, trying to be heard over everyone else, and no one is listening. If you do stop and listen, however, you’ll learn so much more about the needs and wants of others and can tailor your messages to help them.
Any book marketing expert will tell you not to shout ‘buy my book’ on social networks, but to engage with potential readers instead. Engaging can be hard at first but should start with listening.
As you listen, you will find that people tell you what they want to hear.
Sensitive introverts can also worry about how many ‘friends,’ ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ they have. When someone unfriends us, or if no one ‘likes’ a post, we introverts can take it personally. Even more terrifying is the thought of someone responding negatively to our posts. It can feel safer to simply not participate at all.
When I was first in charge of social media for the magazine I worked for, I resisted ever asking questions online – something that is needed to encourage engagement among your followers. Openly asking for a response and not getting one, and the whole world able to see your epic failure was a terrifying thought. It would be like making a joke at a party and no one laughing, but worse.
The reality is, when no one likes or comments on a social media post, it very quickly disappears, and it’s highly unlikely to be personal. It’s far more probable that the network’s algorithms didn’t serve your post to many people in the first place. Take it as a lesson learned and try something else instead. If you’re listening to what others are saying, you’ll soon get a feel for what your followers are most likely to engage with.
Plan What You Will Say
Once you know what your followers need to hear and have given some thought to what you want to say, you can take your time to write the perfect post.
That’s not to say you should overthink this part (something else introverts can be prone to doing) or spend too long on it, but the beauty of social media is you don’t have to think on your feet as quickly as when having a face-to-face conversation.
Social networks can be terrifying places for introverts who don’t like to draw too much attention to themselves, but no one can see you and no one needs to know you’re an introvert! By planning what you want to say, and even scheduling when to say it, you can keep control and draw attention to yourself in the right way.
Make Your Social Media Activity Meaningful
Many authors say they don’t have time for social media. I would argue that what they really mean is they don’t have time to waste on shallow conversations and inauthentic relationships.
That’s a valid point. The answer is to ensure that what you do on social media is meaningful and rewarding for both you and your followers.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Think about your social strategy” quote=”Think about your social strategy”]
Here are seven strategies to help make social media easier to manage as an introvert:
- Develop a persona. On social media, no one knows you’re an introvert, so you can choose not to be if you like. As a writer, you’re probably good at inventing characters, so invent one for yourself. Don’t stray too far from the real you – you still want to be genuine – but fake the confidence if you need to.
- Think about your social strategy. What goals will you set and what can you post to help you reach them? A steady, well-considered plan will serve you better than sharing photos of your dinner any day unless you’ve written a cook book perhaps.
- Schedule posts. Plan what you want to say and schedule it ahead of time so you can then switch off. Have set times for checking your social networks, responding to comments, and finding content to share, but otherwise, leave it alone, so it doesn’t zap your energy. There are numerous tools and apps you can use to help manage your social accounts.
- Forget the numbers. In marketing, it’s common practice to develop a customer persona to tailor your messages to, but it’s also helpful to focus on just one person to avoid overwhelm online. Don’t fret about the number of likes or followers you have, focus instead on having a meaningful conversation with one person who needs to hear what you have to say. Think about it, what’s more important, 100 followers who truly engage with what you stand for, or 1,000 who like the funny meme you shared but are never going to check out your books?
- Follow fewer people. It’s absolutely not possible to follow hundreds of people and keep up with everything they’re saying, not if you also want a life. You can be more selective about who you follow, and organize those you do follow into lists. There may be some writer friends you want to add to one list, book marketing experts to another, and people who are useful for research to another. You can check in with each of these lists whenever you want an update.
- Take a break. Allow yourself downtime. Most introverts recognize that having spent a certain amount of time socializing they need to rest and retreat for a while. We need time alone to re-energize. Social media can be just as draining as in-person events. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn’t mean you can’t use social media. Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself the timeout when you need it.
- Be genuine. Authenticity always wins on social and being your true self will pay off. The schmoozers may be most popular at a party, but online people are more drawn to those who have something genuine to say. It may appear that those who shout the loudest and most often are the most successful on social media but spend a little time searching and you will find that those with the most engaged followings post useful and shareable content, not pouting selfies. Unless you’re one of the Kardashians, focus on being helpful above all else.
Selfies Not Needed
As a self-published author, book marketing is an essential part of your book’s success. Whether you choose to promote your book at in-person events or online, being an introvert can make this challenging. However, it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Social media is likely to play a big part in your book marketing and author platform, so you will need to learn how to make it work for you. I hope the tips given here will help. Just remember, pouting selfies are most definitely not necessary.
Author of this Post: Belinda Griffin is a book marketing coach helping indie authors achieve greater book exposure and sales without experiencing overwhelm or burnout. A former journalist, content marketer, and freelance writer, Belinda now runs SmartAuthorsLab where she helps self-published authors learn about book marketing, build their author platforms, and make their books more visible, so readers can find them, buy them, and read them. Grab her FREE guide Are you making these 10 book marketing mistakes to check your book marketing is on track. Follow her on Twitter @SmartAuthors.
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.
Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web
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