Would you rather spend your writing time on your work in progress, or crafting copy for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter? Is it frustrating to squeeze your brain cells for meaningful post descriptions and captions, only to be met by crickets? It’s time to put the ol’ Hero’s Journey to work on your marketing strategy, and try social media storytelling.
Hint: You’re Not the Hero This Time…
You’ve heard that gruff adage (or seen the meme): “It’s not about you!” Well, when it comes to your author social media profiles, this is so true. Even though your author profile has your very own name (or pen name) right there in bold font, the driving purpose of your content is not to promote your work. I know, I know. Of course the author platform is about self-promotion. Why else would we go through all the trouble of juggling multiple accounts? Isn’t our goal to get our work into the hands of readers?
But it’s for your reader’s sake, not because you’ve always dreamed of being a professional writer.
If that strikes you as unfair, pause for a bit and think of that guy on your own personal account feeds. You know who. THAT GUY. The one who only posts about himself, who’s always selling, pushing, low-level-motivational-speaking, and posting selfies and not-so-subtle brags about all his achievements. It’s my bet that a lot of our aversion to self-promotion stems from guys like him. In fact, if you haven’t politely hidden his posts from your feed yet, you probably don’t even read or notice them any more. Your eyes glaze over and you scroll on by, catching only the faintest glimpse of duck-face or ocean sunset.
Knowing our response to self-promoters like him (or her — I’m looking at you, gym-rat-hair-don’t-care lady), you can see why only posting about our books can be a turn-off, even to fans.
Make your reader the Hero. Every day is a new story for them, with obstacles, crises, and battles to face. Give them content to solve their problems and help them win. Use what you know — or what your own characters discovered — to assist your reader as he or she navigates the day.
If Self-Promotion Feels Icky
Pause again and flashback to a moment when you held a book in your hands. This book changed your life. I mean, you can point to that moment and tell me how you were altered after reading the book. To everyone else it looked like pressed paper neatly contained within a nice cover, but to you it was hope. Now imagine you could connect with that author on social media. Finally, imagine that you are that author.
Not selfish, is it?
When creating your platform, remember to put the ‘social’ in social media. You may be the encourager who inspires other writers to take a risk and go for their most reckless dream — to be a professional writer. Again, even if this is technically self-promotion, it’s bigger than you. Does that relieve the pressure, or apply more of it 🙂 Remember, your legacy is bigger than your written words…
So What’s Your Role?
If you’re a real Hero’s Journey junkie, you’ve already narrowed it down to two possibilities. And yes, you can choose either. But whichever you pick, try to keep the voice of your posts consistent. You are:
If you decide to take on the sidekick’s role, you’re likely still in the trenches yourself. Your motto would be: “We’re all in this together!” You’re Samwise to Frodo, Robin to Batman, Jane to Elizabeth Bennett, and so on. Every hero has a best friend, and it can be you. You’ll offer insight, encouragement and assistance. Even if you’re a few steps ahead of your reader, you’re both still on the same path. Strike a tone of camaraderie, extend the right hand of fellowship, and welcome your readers and followers to join you on the journey.
You may choose this role if you’ve been on your author’s journey for a long while. You know enough to offer expert wisdom, advice, and guidance. And, like I said, no pressure–but you really know how to show up and say the right thing at the right time. Don’t worry, though, you won’t have to sacrifice yourself so the Hero can live to fight another day… Actually, now that I think of it, you’ve probably failed so many times over the years, you already have sacrificed yourself so that others may learn from your mistakes. Whoa!
Be prepared for readers to reach out to you, to tell your own story back to you through the filter of their experiences.
Plan a Little, Save a Lot of Frustration
If you want to organize your social media storytelling strategy, join my Writer’s Resource Library and download the free worksheet: Social Media Storytelling. You’ll also have access to other free, printable resources as well. Have fun taking on your new role and let me know how it goes!
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