By: Chris Syme
Self-published authors work hard building a personal platform. The journey to stand out, find your readers, and sell your own books is a lot of work. Your “brand” is how your readers see you and remember you. One of the most important branding strategies for authors is to build and protect your name. And that is why every author needs an account on every social media channel.
In a recent podcast interview with Jim Kukral, founder of The Author Marketing Club, Jim called the process “claiming your digital land.” I call it having an outpost strategy. Setting up an account on a social media platform and choosing to be active there are two entirely different processes.
It used to be that marketers encouraged people not to set up a social media account where they had no intention of interacting. We were worried about someone searching a name and then seeing an abandoned account with no posts, tweets, pins, or engagement. Now, that philosophy has changed. With the proliferation of people on social media and the powerful search engines being developed on those channels, it is important that people claim their branded username on all the important social media channels to insure their brand is protected.
Set Up an Outpost
I liken this strategy to the “fort” system in the old west. Before the U.S. settled the west, the military maintained an outpost system designed to protect the property and people that were settling in the area. That outpost was attached to a main regional fort or central headquarters:
“A military outpost is a detachment of troops stationed at a distance from the main force or formation, usually at a station in a remote or sparsely populated location, positioned to stand guard against unauthorized intrusions and surprise attacks; and the station occupied by such troops, usually a small military base or settlement in an outlying frontier, limit, political boundary or in another country.” –Wikipedia
Your purpose will be to claim your brand name and set up a “holding message” that will direct people to places where you are active. That way, if potential readers search your name, they will be directed to your main locations. This is fairly easy to do with cover photos and pinned tweets and posts, and bio information that directs them to your main social media channel and website.
But Isn’t Social Media About Connecting?
Yes, it certainly is. But with people spread out over so many channels, it’s important to grab people where they are and send them to places where you are active. Don’t worry about not engaging on every channel. Choose the top one or two where your readers are and concentrate on building personal connections with your fans there. An outpost strategy is strictly aimed at people who are searching for you. It’s about discovery.
Start With a Consistent Username
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