I’m in the middle of a series of weekly (?) posts about how Authors and Writers could use LinkedIn more effectively if they wanted to and tomorrow I’ll be putting up a post about the Top Ten Groups for Writers and Authors.You can read the earlier posts on the Marketing for Authors and Writers page.
I’ve noticed two things from the posts I’ve already written; first very few people have commented on the posts and secondly those that have, have been less than enthusiastic. This makes me think that perhaps most writers and authors feel that LinkedIn is not their network of choice because they want to spend as much time as possible building that elusive Author Platform where they can connect with their fans quickly and easily. I would surmise that most seem to feel happier on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari or their Blog. It seems that LinkedIn may be dismissed because it’s for business and professionals and it’s not a fun, happy ‘share my cute photo of a cat’ sort of place.
I’m here to burst that bubble and I’m hoping that today’s post may just begin a process of swinging your opinion around just a little in time for tomorrow’s clincher.
Before I talk about Authors and Writers though I need to set the scene and I hope you’ll bear with me.
I work with businesses large and small all day, every day. My role is to help them use the online opportunities afforded by things like Social Networking more appropriately to help them grow their business. Let’s look at two different factors that influence business (writing) success
1. The Four Ways To Grow Your Business
According to most business guru’s (such as Jay Abraham) there are only three ways to grow a business (and yes, if you are taking your writing seriously this is a business like any other). I have added a fourth which I believe is equally important.
The first way to grow your business is to increase the number of customers (readers) and this is what most businesses (and authors) hope social networking will achieve; the second way is to increase your prices; the third way is to increase the number of products and/or services you sell to each customer (repeat business) and finally the fourth way (in my humble opinion) is to reduce your costs thereby increasing your profitability.
As an author or writer, your activity on the social web needs to address one or more of the areas you feel you can control, this may or may not include pricing simply because there is a consumer mindset about how much books cost. If you are jobbing writer on the other hand then you can charge what your market will bear. You may also have a broader base to your writerly business which could include speaking, presenting and teaching in which case price can easily be a significant factor.
2. The Groups That Can Help You Grow Your Business
There are also four groups that you could choose to work with to help you grow your business in any given network too and choosing just one of these groups and one network can help you meet one or more of the four ways to grow your business:
- Customers – in this case your readers and commissioners (obviously)
- Suppliers (printers, proof readers, editing services etc….)
- Competitors (other writers and authors)
- Intermediaries (publishers, agents, book sellers, festival organisers etc ….)
I’m hoping you are starting to get my drift here 🙂
Putting Them Both Together
Let’s take a look at just one of the networks, the four ways you could grow your writing business and the four groups you might choose to work with and see what happens:
Facebook is primarily a network where the consumer rules. You will see many of the big consumer brands like Kindle Direct, Love Reading and Goodreads on there, as well as an increasing number of pages from authors such as you and I too.
The purpose of being on Facebook is to tap into its consumer driven micro-economy. If we break down our activity then, we should be on Facebook to increase the number of customers and encourage repeat sales (by creating fans). We are therefore working with group 1 (the readers) and, if we are savvy enough, group 3 because after all writers are readers too and we may find ways to engage and entertain each other.
Facebook however, is not typically where you will find suppliers unless you happen to be exceptionally lucky as I was when I found a great stationary supplier (you can click here to read about how Facebook networking really can work). And it’s certainly not the place to find the intermediaries either – unless you happen to stumble over them or they are exceptionally well-networked like Rachelle Gardner (see my post about top ten Facebook Pages for authors and writers).
It’s also not the place where you are going to reduce your costs, in fact with the changes to Pay to Promote it is quite likely your costs will go up instead. Nor is it the place to set prices – to be honest I don’t think any of the networks are as this is an internal question for your own writerly business based on what you are selling.
When it comes to social networking, the trick is to find the right network for the right group and the right method to grow your business. We all need to do this; successful authors and writers do not simply focus on increasing their readership – they look across a broader spectrum of opportunity and so should you. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how to use LinkedIn to begin doing just that 🙂