Episode 7: Observations and Opportunity!

Hello there, all! Boy it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I gotta admit, I’m not very disciplined when it comes to this blog stuff. But hey, I’ve got a good excuse! I’ve been writing like crazy! Which means NEW BOOKS! But that’s not the point of this post. I’ll cover that stuff a little later.

This post is about Observations and Opportunity. I want everyone out there who has a social media presence for the sake of a business (or anything that isn’t just strictly personal) to definitely read on.

I had an opportunity present itself just recently. Now, I’ve been away from home for about a month and a half now, visiting and taking care of family. I have not always had an internet connection. In this span of time I’ve gone from living in coastal country, a remote island mansion, not-quite-a-studio apartment, a 27-foot sailboat, and back to coastal country. I will be home to Sacramento soon. But needless to say it has been hard to stay on top of things as AJ Gala.

I persisted. I made sure to get at least a little bit of content out over Instagram and Facebook. Mostly moodboards, but hey, that counts! But what happened to me, y’all… I am so glad I made the decisions that I did regarding my social media presence.

There’s a very quickly growing community on Facebook called The Authors’ Table. It’s led by a team of twelve published authors and they strive to create an engaging environment for other readers. There are live videos, there are cool discussions, there are giveaways, readings, all kinds of stuff. I liked and followed early on when I first saw it forming, but at the time I was just too busy with keeping myself afloat with work, writing, and life. I liked a post here and there, but that was it. Never more than that.

I was living in the not-quite-a-studio apartment when this particular THING happened. It was late in the day and I was waiting for my dad to get back from work. I had my little living/working space in the loft above his bed. Laptop plugged in. Typing up handwritten work for Book 2. Then BAM. I start getting Facebook messages from the head admins at The Authors’ Table.

They had a vacancy at the table. I was an author they had been considering to fill it. They’d been going through my social media for hours. Talking about me. Judging me. Seeing if I’d be a good fit or not. They told me that they’d put it to a vote and wanted to offer me the seat!

Now, TAT is not a huge group. But for perspective, it’s only three months old and has 2500 followers, most of which are engaged. That’s impressive. That’s dedication. That’s a team of authors giving interested readers interaction and news about books that many of them are already fans of. What an awesome opportunity!

And I can 100% owe it to the social media presence I built for myself. That’s the observation here.

You never really know who is paying attention to you. And I don’t mean that in a creepy stalker way (though it pays to be aware of that, too.) You don’t know what opportunities are out there waiting for you. The last thing you want is for your social media presence to turn them away. I’ve been paying attention to lots of authors, especially on Instagram, and for each one that is delightful and personable, there are fifty others who are straight up doing it wrong.

Take a serious look at who you present yourself to be and, if necessary, make some changes. Who you are matters. You are a brand.

Here are some key tips I’d like to share:

  • Be PROFESSIONAL. Your platform is not for venting. Save that for your personal pages. Don’t air dirty laundry, don’t make excuses for why you haven’t done something, don’t complain, etc. I can understand the idea at work behind doing these things–they make you relatable! But in a world where everywhere you turn you see someone whining about something… don’t add to it. Be an escape from that. Be professional.
  • Be PERSONABLE. I know that being raw and edgy is cOoL, but it’s real easy to insult potential followers this way. It works when you’re roasting someone or taking a stance against something, but when you’re just trying to promote yourself and what you do, all it does is make you look mean. Calm down and be a little personable.
  • Be APPROACHABLE. Friendly, warm, approachable! You want people to engage with you, not to feel threatened by you. You want opportunities to find you, not to be deterred! I know a lot of writers really aren’t approachable and they prefer to remain in the shadows. I get that. But if you mean for this to be more than a hobby, it’s time to crack open your shell and learn the rhythm of interacting with people and being open and approachable.
  • Be GENUINE. I know, BUT AJ, I’M GENUINELY ALL THE THINGS YOU SAID NOT TO BE! Shush, no you aren’t. You can genuinely be professional, personable, and approachable, no matter who you are. The worst thing you can do is be a caricature of who you really are. Don’t water it down, don’t bend it into something it isn’t. Be you. Be weird, be feisty, be spontaneous, whatever it is that YOU are, but reel it in and put a nice hat on it for your guests. That’s business. Find the best in yourself and let it be your brand.

And that’s that. That’s Observations and Opportunity. Assess your social media presence and ensure it isn’t holding you back, because you never know what opportunities you could miss!

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