Platform Tips––Part III

from Flickr

from Flickr

Though we hate the word, authors must have “platform.” We’ve defined platform as influence and measured in terms of “discoverability.” Maintaining a blog is one part of a multi-discipline approach to platform. Social media is the second most important thing you’ll do to build your platform. Click to Tweet #amwriting #platform

Think of your “platform” as a stage with four sections. The first section, which we talked about last week, is blogging. The second section is social media.

In 2004, four college graduates put together a networking website to keep in touch with each other. They called it Facebook. Just 12 years later, Facebook is “the” main social media connection for those desiring to build discoverability and platform. With the popularity of Facebook, other social media venues have cropped. There are numerous places to connect, but I’ll only cover a few. We’ll talk about Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN today.

FacebookAbout seven years ago, I signed up for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN. At that time, everything was new and exciting. It was explained this way in an audio workshop I attended at the time.

Facebook is the backyard barbeque. At that time, MySpace was also popular, and it was categorized as the bar after work. LinkedIN was the office. Twitter came along and exploded due to it’s tweetables. Those short, little blasts of information and links have rocked the social media world.

In response to the growing trend of using Facebook to “advertise” goods and services, Facebook created a “commercial” page that people could “like” instead of being a “friend.” Both are important to building your Facebook platform. Agents and editors look for your discoverability. When asked what kind of numbers they look for, editors usually say something like “At least five hundred in three different places.”

My example: I now have 992 Facebook friends and 306 likes of my author page. I have 957 followers on Twitter, and I’m linked with 622 connections on LinkedIN. So, even though my numbers meet the minimum with some to spare, I’m still growing my platform. Just not as intentional about it as I was a year ago.

I had to step out of my comfort zone last year when I became intentional about platform building. I went through the “People you may know” section of Facebook and asked people to be friends, if I knew them, who they were, and how many mutual friends we had. I was so thankful that many returned my friendship, and I grew to over 500. Since that time, people have been asking me to become friends. I allow it, because they’re growing platform, too. Not all, of course. I use wisdom. It depends on how many mutual friends we have and what they post.

Social media is important to continue to grow your numbers. Push through your comfort zone. Put yourself out there and grow platform. Click to Tweet #amwriting #platform

What about you? Does asking people you don’t really know frighten you? Leave a comment and let me know.

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