Every now and then I'm asked to give workshops to writers' groups on the subject of social media. After I've blathered for awhile about blogging and Twitter and Facebook, someone in the audience will raise a timid hand.
"It looks fun and all, but how does that sell books?"
It's a question I love answering even more than the one about how to have a steamy makeout session without messing up your lipstick (because frankly, I'm not sure about that one).
But the answer to the former question is that you have to redefine what you consider selling.
In the social media world, selling does not involve beating the consumer over the head with your product until he falls to his knees and throws his credit card at you as a means of self-defense. It involves forming connections and friendships over shared experiences, laughter, or what you had for lunch.
And because people like the idea of supporting their friends, they'll take it into their own hands to buy what you're offering and suggest their friends do the same.
If I'm organized enough to have a Powerpoint presentation prepared for my workshop, I'll show few screenshots that illustrate my point.
As soon as I saw this exchange on Twitter a few weeks ago, I knew I'd add it to my collection of favorite examples. It started with my blog post about people laughing at my new hat. I was delightfully surprised that a regular blog reader was kind enough to tweet about the post to her followers, and things unfolded from there:
And just like that, I have a new reader. Well, assuming she followed through. I've considered figuring out where she lives and peering in her windows to see if I can spot one of my books lying on the sofa, but my editor might frown on the negative publicity of having me arrested for stalking.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of social media, I also want to share this incredible video I saw last week at a marketing workshop I attended for the day job. The instant I saw it, I searched YouTube from my iPhone to find a link. I immediately emailed the link to three marketing colleagues, tweeted about it from my author Twitter account, and posted it to Facebook.
Talk about illustrating the point.