Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Unconventional marketing…because why be normal? by Melissa Tagg | Guest Post

When Emilie asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for her blog about unconventional social media marketing, I instantly said “yes.” Not because I necessarily think I’m an expert on this. I’m not. Seriously, guys. Pinterest makes me twitchy and anytime someone gives me a “rule” for social media, my instant urge is to go and break it.

But no, I jumped at the opportunity to write this simply because in the past couple years I've happened to stumble upon a few things that really seem to work for me social media-wise…especially when it comes to my Facebook page, which is what I’m going to focus on here. No, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers, nor would I win any awards for having the coolest, most consistent presence around. But I do have fun with it and have, thankfully, seen some nice results.

I’d like to specifically talk here about how to create posts that are unconventional … charming … quirky … fun …[insert any word that’s the opposite for “normal” or “boring”].

To make this super organized (a massive feat for the girl who arranges her life by post-its and has never once made it through a whole year of using a planner), I came up with an acronym! So here we go.
Note: All the examples included below are from my Facebook page…not because I think I’m the only one with great content but simply because it’s easier than trying to gather other examples. In other words, I’m lazy.

How to make your Facebook posts more fun and less conventional
Be Relevant:

No, you don’t need to infuse all your posts with up-to-date pop culture references. But before crafting a post ask yourself: Does this have any relevance whatsoever to a) my readers and b) my books and c) my relationship with these people I’m interacting with. And it’s okay if the post is about YOU. I think sometimes we worry that we’re going to come off as self-centered, but people wouldn’t be following our author pages if they didn’t want to actually know us. Crafting posts that give readers insight into both your books and your life creates a meaningful connection.

Example: I did a post recently about how I’m an early bird. I included a picture of my open window and talked about how I love to write during sunrise. I asked my Facebook fans whether they are early birds or night owls. It let my readers know a little more about me and my writing process and also invited them to participate in the conversation.
Be Enthusiastic:

I read this quote once from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin: “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically and people will like it more.” It made me laugh…but man, it’s so true. Enthusiasm is contagious! We can foster that in our readers and online friends by writing posts in which we’re just plain excited…not only about our stories and characters, but about the other things in our lives that make us unique and personable. (And also, by being intentionally enthusiastic, we avoid the kind of complainy, ranty, whiney posts that no one needs to be subjected to!)

Example: I wrote a giddy post recently about how much I love baby goats and why I’m putting one in my next story. I had tons of fun interacting with commenters, ended up getting invited to a goat farm AND it gave people insight about me and my upcoming book.

Be Authentic:

Nope, this is not a call for intense and uncomfortable sharing of too many personal details. LOL! Authenticity can be as simple as being silly. I have crafted posts about my slight (okay, fine, massive and ridiculous) crush on my own main character, for instance. But it can also mean sharing little snippets of what God’s doing in your heart or what you’re learning through your writing.

Example: I work at a homeless ministry and recently had the chance to interview a man with a powerful story and big dreams. I wrote a looooong post about how much he inspired me and how I believe God doesn’t give us dreams for no reason. It was a sincere peek into my heart and life that hopefully inspired readers.

Be Lenient:

Be lenient with yourself. Back when I was trying to follow all the marketing experts, literally ALL the fun of social media drained away for me. But lately I’ve pulled away from much of what I thought was a must-do in the past. I’m to the point now where I don’t feel guilty if I need to take a few days away from my Facebook page. Or if I write a post that’s *gasp* six paragraphs long and *double gasp* doesn’t include a fancy graphic. By being lenient with myself and taking off the pressure, I've found myself crafting much more fun and engaging posts—because it no longer feels like a task with a ton of rules attached to it.

Example: Last year, I began doing a series of classic movie/actor face-offs on Facebook. They were a blast and frankly, got lots of traction. But I found myself having trouble getting the posts up on the same day each week. And sometimes I skipped a week. A couple years ago, I would’ve lambasted myself for not being consistent. But I realized, fans couldn’t care less if I do the face-offs on the same day each week…or if I happen to skip a week here or there. Eventually I stopped doing the face-offs for a time, then reintroduced them around Christmas-time. I’ll probably do another round soon. By not forcing myself to keep to a strict schedule or worrying about others’ expectations, it’s keeping it fun and fresh for me.

Did you catch the acronym? Be REAL. Really, I think that’s what the best social media marketing comes down to. Being a real person. Building real relationships. And having real fun. :)

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. She’s also a multi-published novelist. Her latest book, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as retreats and workshops. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever–not that she’s biased–watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

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