“How do I get started on social media?”
It’s a question literary agent, Karen Ball, gets asked a lot. In “Keys for Effective Social Media Use,” Karen states: “Have a quality website. That means a website that looks and acts professional. Which generally means don’t do it yourself unless you really and truly know what you’re doing on every front, including design, SEO, and other things about which yours truly knows very little.”
Karen makes three excellent points:
1. If you’re trying to build brand recognition on social media, START WITH A WEBSITE.
Social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube serve as a REFERRAL SOURCE – in other words, the links you post on social drive people to your website and blog.
Social networks drive over 30% of traffic to websites [Shareaholic]. That was back in 2014, the latest date for which I could find statistics. I’m guessing that now, referrals from social networks drive closer to 50% of traffic to websites.
2. Your website must look and act professional.
So many DIY website builders assume they can slap something together and that’s all they need. But let’s peek into Karen Ball’s world. She’s a literary agent. Which means that every pre-published author on the planet wants to be her friend, in hopes that she’ll notice them and agree to be their agent.
The first thing Karen’s going to do when she meets a prospective client is check out their website and social presence. Let’s say Karen’s prospective client writes women’s fiction. Karen may already represent several women’s fiction authors – some of them, best-selling authors.
She wants to know what makes this unknown author’s writing and marketing skills unique and attractive to a large audience. If the unknown author’s website is non-existent or unprofessional-looking and Karen already has other women’s fiction authors in her stable who have professional, attractive websites, I’m betting that Karen will opt to work with the authors who’ve already laid the groundwork for a professional writing career.
The publishing industry–similar to most industries–is ultra-competitive. If your website doesn’t stand out from the crowd (in a good way), chances are that you’ll be overlooked.
3. Don’t build your website yourself unless you know what you’re doing.
“But… but… but… I can’t afford to hire someone to build my website. It’s too expensive!”
I’ve made that same excuse. More than once! I cobbled something together, and it looked like “the cat threw up on it” (one of my favorite Seth Godin quotes).
I discovered I was operating under what Michael Hyatt calls a “scarcity mindset.”
I needed to stop asking myself, “How much will it cost if I hire someone to build my website,” and start asking, “How much will it cost if I DON’T?”