The first question any publisher will ask you when you pitch your book is, “How strong is your platform?”
What do they mean? They mean how many people follow you or are connected to you on social media, and how many people subscribe to your blog.
Most people are scathing about the value of social media. Fair enough; most social media is trash. So let’s get clear on what I mean about social media as your most valuable asset.
Social media is not a showcase for your “wonderful” life and business
Unless you are my close friend or family, I am not interested in your personal successes and triumphs. To be brutally honest, the more you make yourself the “hero of your story”*, the more I dislike you. I know. Mean, eh?
I am interested in HOW you achieved those successes and triumphs especially if you share the pain of getting there.
Bragging on social media is designed to make other people feel their life is not as good as yours. Is that the best value you have to offer? Is that how you want your clients to feel?
Yes, it is a form of social proof. But your website is where you brag (or, more accurately, provide social proof) as well as providing incredible value through your blog.
So, how many times are you allowed to brag about your successes, show pics of you receiving awards, being given a standing ovation? In my view, zero, zilch, nada, never, not at all.
Social media is a platform for sharing value
Our incredible online world is chock-a-block with valuable free content. It is your job to contribute to that value with your blog. And, as an expert, you know all the other experts in your field who write valuable content or share podcasts.
Social media is the place where you share:
- Your valuable content (blogs, podcasts and freebies) There should make up about 20% of your shares.
- Your peers’ valuable content (blogs, podcasts and freebies) These make up about 80% of your shares.
So maybe you are thinking, “Why should I share other people’s content? Aren’t I giving away potential customers?” If you want to know why curated content is cool, here’s a blog that explains it. Suffice to say when you curate content, you create a following. They love you at least as much as the other experts whose content you share.
Make your blog a launchpad for every product you sell
To be a launchpad for your products, your blogs cannot be thought bubbles; they must be well-thought out, well-researched articles about a topic of critical interest to your reader.
Blogs are not places to brag about yourself any more than social media. Do NOT write about what you ate for breakfast – unless it is relevant to your audience (for example, you are a dietician). Only write on topics you deeply understand from your own research and experience. Always attribute other people’s ideas.
Build your platform to build your business
If you want to build a business, create, publish and share valuable content and use social media as a way to build a following for your ideas. Make sure you are generous in sharing the content of other thought leaders; you will build a bigger following if you do.
When the publishers ask you “how big is your platform” you will have a fantastic answer for them based on an excellent program of blogging and social media.
*I love the term, “the hero of your own story”, which I first heard from the founder of the Thought Leader Business School, Matt Church.