The Art Of The Backdoor Brag = Social Media

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Photo courtesy of Marcus dePaula

Many people turn their noses up to the idea of marketing. They don't feel comfortable "self-promoting," they don't like to talk about themselves, they feel like they are bragging, and so on. Or they feel like they need to have a degree in marketing to have any idea how to do it. The authors that I talk to give a huge sigh of relief when I tell them that yes, social media is a form of marketing but it's the approach that makes it completely different. It is self-promotion, per say, but it really is about making new relationships and creating conversations that sets social media apart from marketing.

Or as I like to cal it: The Art of the Backdoor Brag. A backdoor brag is basically slipping something great about yourself or what you are doing into every day conversation. Does this sound kind of smarmy? Yes, but hear me out.

What we are doing with social media is narrowing down a specific audience that is interested in what we have to say or what our book is about and creating conversations around it. So for example, our focused audience involves authors and those in book publishing. We share information that they will find interesting and helpful. While it's not focused solely on us and our services it is still points back around to how we can help and serve authors and their communities.

Not so smarmy, no?

Every author can build a solid social media presence by taking marketing out of the equation. Here are five points to keep in mind.

1) Marketing = Promoting and Selling;  Social Media = Conversation and Relationships

When we have a book to sell, a speaking engagement to promote, or some other "thing" to let others know about we automatically go into marketing mode. Now, don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for marketing and we have to do it, but that shouldn't be your focus on social media. Let's say a friend of yours introduces you to someone at a party and the first thing this person does is start asking you to buy what they are selling, without getting to know you or your interests. I think it's safe to say you would be turned off and say, "Well, look at the time! I gotta go!"

The same goes with social media. You have to let your fans get to know you, and you them. Can you share that you have a new book or speaking engagement? Absolutely! My approach is always 80% conversations & engagement, 20% promotion. Conversations outweigh the promotion.

2) The Dinner Party Approach

Have you ever been to a dinner party where no one really knows each other? The only thing tying you all together is the host that invited you. It's the hosts job to get conversations rolling, talk about certain subjects that they think would be of similar interest, and so on.

Imagine your social media outlets as being a huge table at a dinner party and you are getting the conversations started. What questions will you ask? What tid-bits will you share? What articles have you read that you think might spark some conversation? It's through these conversations and interaction that will create genuine relationships and devout fans.

3) It's Not All About You

Do you know anyone who only ever talks about themselves or what's going on in their life? They never pause to ask how you're doing? Who wants to be around that person?!? The same goes with your social media outlets. It's not only about you and what you have to offer.

4) Social Media Is A Big Fat Arrow Pointing Back To Your Website

One rule of thumb to keep in mind is that your social media outlets are conversational, your website is informational. That is why creating quality content on your blog and website is so important. When you can drive and point fans back to your website you can be more focused on the information and content that you share. That is a tad bit more focused on the topics or products that you want to share with them. Creating consistent content on your blog will not only give fans a reason to go back to your website (and hopefully they will stick around to explore it a bit more & make a purchase) but it will give you ammo for your social media outlets as well.

5) Communication Isn't Talking AT Others

In this day and age I think the art of communication has become the mindset of just talking at people. Communication includes just as much listening as it does sharing. In fact, it should involve more listening…now more than ever. When you listen to what your fans say you know what content to create, what topics to discuss, and how to engage them. When you listen to your audience and include them in the equation rather than what you want to promote, you will see your fan base grow like wildfire.

When you create conversations and ways to interact with your fans without pushing your agenda will essentially promote what you have to offer. You don't have to be pushy or overbearing about it. Let the art of the backdoor brag do its thing…

QUESTION: Have you been hesitant in starting your social media presence because you feel like it's self promotion? What held you back?