I listen to a lot of podcasts for authors and entrepreneurs. Every now and then I hear something so great that I have to stop the car, pull over, and write it down.
It happened again a couple of days ago while listening to a Kobo Writing Life podcast interview with Hugh Howey. Hugh Howey is the bestselling author of the Wool series and has become the posterchild of indie publishing due to his massive success and large fan base.
Howey was answering a question about self-promotion and got on the topic of social media. He talked about how he has used social media from the very beginning of his career even before he was a famous author. His answers were real and authentic. It was golden advice from an author who cares.
I grabbed a crumpled up receipt, took out my G2 pen, and scribbled down this (mis)quote:
What he actually said, though, was:
“I use social media not to ask new people to like my stuff. I use social media to connect with that one reader who likes my stuff.” — Hugh Howey (29:55)
Social Media is for the fans.
If you read my exploration of social media metrics, you know that I warned (myself really) against focusing on the results because they can prevent us from doing our work and sharing it freely.
I suggested focusing on the people instead. Hugh Howey takes it a step further: we need to focus on the people who already care.
Don’t just focus on people, focus on people who already know, like, and trust you. Focus on serving your true fans, not attracting new ones.
This is freeing. Rather than worrying about what people might think about what you post, you have the freedom to share what your true fans love.
By focusing on real fans, you have some space to inspire rather than impress.
As a result, you can be true and authentic and unafraid to be yourself.
Social Media Posts for Current Fans, Not New Ones
So what can you do?
Since I’ve begun this study of social media for authors, I have to say that Howey is right on the money. I started using this posting cheat sheet daily and my engagement has gone up 300%. It’s just crazy. All seven of these post types are focused on two things:
- Providing practical tools and inspiration to current fans.
- Sharing what I’m already working on (i.e. not adding any extra work)
But I haven’t gotten many new likes/fans. Mostly, I’m just getting the people who are already connected two take action. It was very reassuring to hear from Hugh Howey that this approach is the way to go.
Download the Social Media Posting Cheat Sheet for Authors.