I took the microphone at my local writer’s club the other day and asked the audience two questions. I opened with, “How many of you were told that you need to build ‘a platform’?” Almost every hand went up in the air.
Then I asked, “So, how’s that working for you?”
The audience chuckled.
I’ve observed a lot of writers struggle to use social media effectively. They understand how important it is to have a marketing platform and a customer base. Social media provides a great opportunity to do both at very little expense. Plus, they are writers, so generating content should be an area of expertise for them.
Why then, is social media not working out for so many writers?
I think there are a number of reasons. Some are intimidated by technology to be sure, but they are a minority. Many more use technology in general, but don’t use social media for their own personal use. They believe there’s value in doing it for their writer’s platform, but they don’t feel it in their bones. While the cost to get in is modest, many are rightly concerned by risking a huge investment in time with little benefit. Finally, I was being disingenuous about content creation earlier. Social media content is as different from novels as journalism is from children’s’ literature. Writers often specialize in one form and have real trouble crossing over into others.
Critique groups are a wonderful resource for any writer at any skill level. For readers who don’t know, a critique group is a simply a group of peers who get together regularly and critique each others’ writing. But there’s no reason that a group of peers working to develop a new skill needs to be limited to that, so I’m working with my writer’s group to develop a group that focuses on social media and marketing.
Judging by the meeting last weekend, I think there is a lot of interest. I’ll keep folks posted how it goes on my blog.