Findability ( … if that’s not a word, I’m making it one).
As an author, you’re an entrepreneur. That goes double (or triple, or exponential, even) if you’re a self-published author. The success or failure of your career is directly related to the effort you put in to make yourself visible to potential readers.
Never miss an opportunity for attribution
We all know that social media is one of the best ways to increase your visibility. But simply having a Twitter account, or a blog, or a Facebook page, or all three and more, is wasted effort if you are not making yourself findable. What do I mean by that? Well, for example …
I’m a big proponent of proper attribution. If I’m retweeting someone else’s tweet, I make sure that I acknowledge that person’s original tweet by adding “RT @JohnDoeAuthor.” Likewise, if @JohnDoeAuthor is tweeting someone else’s blog post, I take that additional step of determining the twitter handle of the post’s author, and including that in my retweet as well (this is called manually retweeting, and for more information on why it is helpful and how to do it easily, check out my previous post, Twitter for Writers: Retweet Manually to Build Your Following”).
But here is a problem I run into quite often. I’ve located the tweet I want to retweet, and I follow the link to the post, because I want to find the author’s twitter handle …
And it’s not there.
There are no social media buttons added at the bottom of the post for easy sharing, there is nothing on the author’s blog which shows me at a glance where that author exists outside of his or her blog. In other words, if I’m going to credit this author for his or her brilliant blog post, I have to do a heck of a lot of work.
Which, I’m sorry to say, I’m just not going to do.
What this poor author has missed out on by not making him or herself easily findable is the chance to be visible to my followers. The whole point of social media is to be visible and findable, to be tweeted about and shared, and to get people talking about you. This poor author has totally missed that opportunity.
Be findable. Be Shareable.
I know I’m not the only one who uses Twitter in this manner. Fellow author and social media guru Nat Russo talks about this also. In his post Are You Using Pinned Tweets (which is a different topic, but one that is equally worth a read, so I’d recommend you take a look when you get a minute), he talks about checking out his followers’ profiles to find tweet-worthy content. He says,
“I like to use my platform, in part, to support other up-and-coming writers … It costs me nothing to hit the “Retweet” button once, and the potential benefit to the person I’m re-tweeting (and myself at some future point in time) is quite large. I’m a firm believer in the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats.” But many of you are making it extremely difficult for me to help you.”
Findability has a profound impact on your author platform. If you’re findable, you will see a marked increase in the traffic to your page.
To illustrate what I’m talking about, here’s a personal example:
A few posts ago, I wrote a piece called 4 Things Publishers and Agents Want in a Writer. In it, I provided quotes from literary agents, and linked those quotes to their sources. One of those quotes came from Literary Agent Carly Watters, who actually saw my post. Know what she did?
She tweeted it to her followers.
And you know what her followers did? They retweeted her tweet, which had my Twitter handle in it.
What’s important to note here is that Ms. Watters probably wouldn’t have bothered to tweet my post if I hadn’t made it easy by setting up a “share this” button at the bottom. Because I made it easy for prospective readers to share my work, I made myself exponentially findable.
Make credit just one click away
When you’re setting up your blog posts, and your blog pages, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to credit you. Have your Twitter handle readily available. Add as many social media buttons as you can so that credit is just one click away.