I’ve had the most amazing week! Thinklings Books did our soft launch, and I’ve been all over Facebook and Twitter spreading the word. I interacted with so many people (from the comfort zone of my office), shared my heart, discovered/developed skills I didn’t know I had (mainly, social skills!), and everyone I talked to was so supportive and positive, I just . . . words aren’t adequate to express my elation. Best week I’ve had in years! In fact, it inspired me to make the above meme.
I’ve also been reading Michael Hyatt’s book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I’m skipping around to different chapters that apply to me, like the Twitter ones (since I’m tweeting for Thinklings), and in that process I discovered—and really love—his “20-to-1” rule. Hyatt writes:
"One important word about building your brand via your platform: this is not something you should see as an opportunity to blast your message out to thousands of followers—for free!—and sell them stuff.
"A thousand times no! Twitter, Facebook . . . and other social networks are relational tools, not transactional ones. Contrary to what many think, social media rewards generosity, other-centeredness, and helpfulness.
"These tools are vehicles that appeal to our deep, (I believe) God-given desire to connect to others. They work when there is trust. When they become just another form of spam (violating people’s trust), they fail to be effective. . . .
"[Chris Brogan] practices digital generosity [Hyatt had described how Chris provides helpful recommendations and rarely asks his followers for anything]. As a result, when he does ask for something, his followers and fans respond.
"This phenomenon is what I have come to call the 20-to-1 rule. It represents a ratio. It means that you have to make twenty relational deposits for every marketing withdrawal. This isn’t science. I don’t have any hard, empirical evidence to prove it.
"But I have observed that if you just keep asking people to do something—buy your book, come to your conference, sign up for your cause—without making adequate deposits, they will begin ignoring you. . . .
"No one wants to be spammed. Not today. There are too many alternative sources of content. If you want to build a social media platform—one where people listen to you—then you have to be a giver, not a taker."
Be a giver. A great rule for any area of life, really. So that’s what I resolve to be! I set myself the goal to like, retweet, and comment on Twitter, at least a few tweets per day whenever I can. And also to start liking and commenting on more Facebook posts, especially in the writer/reader groups I joined. It doesn’t cost me much! Just a little time. (Hopefully I won’t become a social media addict and spend too much time in there!)
So far I’ve seen pretty awesome results: after the first day of implementing my strategy, I gained two dozen new Twitter followers! Jeannie, Thinklings’ CMO, was quite impressed, and she pointed out that my attitude of sincerity also plays a role in winning people over. I was super pleased when she said that, because sincerity is a quality I highly value. (The Japanese character for sincerity is tattooed on my arm.) It drives me nuts when people pretend to be something they’re not, or act a certain way only to get what they want from you.
Be authentic! Relax, be yourself, and open up. Share your heart. Show (don’t tell—as per the rule of good writing) who you are, and others will be attracted to that. Affirm the worth of other people; show them respect. Just be positive! :) Right now that is so easy for me, since I’m on fire with passion to promote my new company, because of its mission to help other writers, which is near and dear to my heart. After 36 years on the planet, I’ve finally found my vocational calling.
And I’m miles and miles away from where I began. Years ago, I was a very withdrawn and negative person who shunned most socializing. I’d been bullied so much in school, K–12, that I built up walls to prevent myself from being hurt any further. I clammed up. But isolation hurts like hell, and with me it turned to suicidal thoughts and drifting in a dark abyss for half of my twenties. And let me tell you, I did not climb out of that pit on my own. I wouldn’t have been able to.
But in 2011, I had an “awakening.” I won’t go into detail because that would make this post too long, but I got connected with a church group that was just so wonderful—they showed me acceptance and love I never dreamed of feeling, and they helped me realize people aren’t all bad (a lie I’d been swallowing). On top of that, within months I met the man I would go on to marry. My goal wasn’t to find Mr. Right, but that was a side-effect. My goal was to get connected to the body of believers so I could grow in my faith, and boy, did that happen to a degree I’d never imagined it would!
You see, God is a giver. He is relational. He is also, I believe, the happiest Being in the universe; I can’t imagine the state of perpetual bliss He must live in, but this week I think I’ve come closer to imagining that! Anyway, God has made so, so, so many “relational deposits” in my life and has never been forceful or demanding. He’s been so gentle, and He knows that I really need people to be gentle with me since I’m a sensitive person.
As I said in a previous post, Jesus came telling stories. Telling stories is worlds apart from being preachy. He spoke in parables, stories that mainly point to who God is and show His character. He is a loving father who welcomes back prodigal children. He is a king who cancels a servant’s debt that was impossible to repay. He is a shepherd seeking and rescuing one little lost lamb.
So to be more like my Father, in one way, I endeavor to make my stories (and my marketing plan) the opposite of preachy and pushy. I just want to show who I am and what I’ve been through and how awesome things have been in my life. Just doing that, regardless of results, has given me a stellar week, and hopefully many more to come!
Much love to you! <3
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.