Control Your Newsfeed 2

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In THIS post last week I talked about gaining some control over your newsfeed by tweaking the “top end”. This was about the “see first” options where we are allowed to pick 30 Facebook users only, whom you can always see what they post, and “see all posts” for all groups and pages that you don’t want to miss anything from.

But Face8book still only shows us each about 10% of what we could see if all our friends popped up on our news feeds. That means that I could still miss some stuff I’d hate to miss for whatever reason.

So the last few days I’ve been experimenting and the results have been way better than I imagined. This is more of a long-term tweaking project, but I did quite a lot of it earlier and feel I’ve broken the back of the job. And unlike the more purposeful yet vital task of the “top end”, this is even easier and faster and you don’t have to count.

Basically, any posts that appear in my newsfeed that I don’t deem in the top 30%, I click on the top right corner of the post and down pops a bunch of options, and I click “Unfollow Xblah-blah”. And that’s it. They are still my friend, they can still see my stuff, I can go and find them to see what they’re up to any time I like, they will never know they don’t appear on my newsfeed, and I will still see their major events.

However, when they click on every single post about bacon, 47 times a day, those don’t appear on my news feed anymore. It isn’t a moral issue, it isn’t about cutting them off, and they will never know the difference.

The vital part here is to remember that I no longer have bacon funnies taking up 5 of the precious 10% of all my friend’s newsfeeds! While those posts are harmless, it is easy to forget those posts are there INSTEAD of Mary’s grad pictures, Bob’s new baby, and my best friend who is currently in hospital or on an overseas trip.

You may not want to see Bob’s baby pics and those bacon pics may be the highlight of your day. Again, I stress, this has nothing to do with right or wrong. But Face8ook is currently making these newsfeed choices for you and you have the option of taking back some of that control. Say no to Bacon so you have a bigger chance of seeing babies … or the other way around if that suits you better.

The result: I have been blown away by the posts which have appeared on my newsfeed which are way more interesting to me than those whom I’ve unfollowed. And the good thing is, unlike the top “see firsts” of which there are only 30, the quantity of bottom bits, which I have “unfollowed”, is unlimited, and each time I unfollow someone, someone else pops on! (and if they are also not top 30% worthy, then they get unfollowed too).

Here are some reasons why some of your favourite people may still qualify for unfollowing:

  • You see them every day anyway, or
  • They belong to a Face8ook group you are in and both of you are very active there, or
  • You are in the same circle of friends so you see them on other’s posts anyway, or
  • They never share any news, or photos so you don’t get anything from them Face8ook wise anyway, or
  • They share mostly what you see as rubbish, or
  • They perhaps should be employed by click farms, or
  • They have a chronic interest that bores you to tears,
  • Etc….

Please don’t judge them and please remember that they will never know, and you can still interact in all kinds of ways, including Face8ook where you look them up or see them on regular posts by mutual friends.

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To unfollow them you can go to their profile but the easiest way is to do it from your news feed. As each post pops up I ask myself, “is this worthy of the top 30% of posts I want on my newsfeed?” and if the answer is no, then I click on the 3 dots at the top right-hand corner of the post.

 

 

This box pops up when I do that: I click on the “Unfollow Xblah-blah” …. img_2469-2

You will get a confirmation that you’ve unfollowed them, which is great but also note the bottom line which I have circled in red. This is another way to check your preferences and “see firsts” at any point that you want to make sure you’re happy with your choices or tweak them 🙂

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Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
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Scale or Genre?

img_9243I’m sure I’m not the only one who agrees that not all Romance books are created equally. Neither are all crime novels, all memoirs, or all violence-themed thrillers. To me, there is a clear scale, and in our Writing Group we have been discussing this at length. It’s a hard discussion to have because we also all have filters that determine where we would like our books to fit. We then also add moral or “better/worse” scales to the equation and struggle to see things as being of equal value, just “different”.

Here’s an example; At one end of the scale, Romance can be clean as a whistle. No sex scenes, no sex before marriage, no disrespect towards women (except from the bad guys) and so on. Some may scoff at this idea but this writing space is huge and the world is filled with mostly women readers who are tired of the sex thrown at them from every billboard, movie and TV advertisement. They want to enjoy and believe that there is still a place in the world for respect, true love, and deeply heroic, decent men and that women can still be swept off their feet for all the right reasons. (and I like to think that these people do still exist!)

At the other end of the scale, there is written pornography in all its forms. These ends of the scale clearly are not the same thing, and while they may well both fit into the Romance genre, they are unlikely to be enjoyed by a single reader, or written by a single author.

But the bigger questions are:

  • Where is the middle line?
  • Who fits on either side of it?
  • And is someone who reads the red end (explicit sex) more likely to also read and enjoy books with explicit violent scenes? And is someone who enjoys the pink end (squeaky clean) more likely to also read squeaky clean ends of other genres too?

The same then applies to crime/violence, social justice issues, religion, and other genres does it not?

In my subjective experience, pretty much no one I know only reads a single genre. There are a whole bunch of genre that they will not read, but of those that they do enjoy, all pretty much fit on the same place on the scale.

Let’s make an imaginary scale. 1-6 With an imaginary wall in the middle. That wall has a door in it, that can open or shut. Whether the scene is in a bedroom, police station, crime scene, hospital room, battlefield, history museum, or anywhere else on earth, in any genre imaginable, the scale is divided down the middle and the reader is either taken through into that room, …or they aren’t.

  • 1= Squeaky clean on all levels. In a nutshell, there is no room!
  • 2= There are some hints and innuendoes about private or gory details, but still everything is pretty much left to the imagination.
  • 3= Sex and/or violent scenes may be present, and big issues raised, however, they are implied and alluded to, but no details are given. You are not actively taken into the bedroom, the crime scene, the bar brawl or the morgue.
  • ————————————
  • 4= The imagination is still very much in play, but the author spells out a number of details about what is going on. The reader is taken through those doors, but briefly.
  • 6= A good deal of time and explanation is given to these rooms, issues are dealt with in depth and scenes are built quite fully. But there are still many details which are left to the imagination.
  • 8= No holds barred. A spade is a spade. Nothing is left to the imagination. Anything and everything goes and the more detail, the better.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t read about sex, zombies, horror or ghosts, but I’m a 6 kind of gal!! (writing and reading)

What are you?

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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@JPeaSmith

Author Instagram!

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 1.43.11 PM.pngSo I’ve heard there’s no point in Instagram for authors. But here is how it works for me:

1: First and foremost, I think of it as my shop window. People who love Instagram (and LOADS of people do!) look people up authors and people they are interested in and if there’s nothing there, then they often lose interest. So it’s a good thing to have. By having it, and it being a good representation of who I am as an author is worthwhile.

But while that remains true, who wants to spend a whole bunch of time on something like this if it’s not your thing? But Instagram is owned by Facebook and so a photo I would otherwise post to Facebook, I post to IG instead, and it goes to both instantly. So I don’t think of my IG time as IG time at all, but as HQ (Facebook Author Page) time.

I don’t get hung up on IG results and here is why:

Yesterday I posted this photo to IG:

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The photo received very little attention, in fact, it was so pathetic it only acquired 3 likes and no comments!

 

But remember that as I posted it, it went directly to Facebook as well!

 

 

 

 

On Facebook, it received 9 likes and 21 comments (some of them are mine, of course, but I can only really comment in response to other things). So the singular act of uploading ONE photo (which is also WAY quicker to load to IG than to Fb by the way) in total got 12 likes and 21 comments!

I killed 2 birds with one stone, and to be fair, there are days where a photo falls through the cracks on Facebook, but gets loads of attention on IG.

I could totally just add it to Facebook only, but instead, I may as well hedge my bets right. And not a second of my precious time is lost in the process.

So if you don’t have Instagram, or you do and you are concerned it’s a waste of time, I don’t think it is if you use it simply as an upload method … 🙂

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

How Do I Tell Them Their Writing Sucks?

IMG_2074How do we support fellow authors when we feel their writing is not of a standard that we would be proud to share?

Today’s question is a lot more sensitive than usual as none of us wants to hurt the feelings of fellow tribe members. But the reality is, we come up against this problem all the time, and we need to put it on the table fully and purposefully if it isn’t going to become the elephant in the room very quickly! Ultimately it will only going to get bigger, and we need to clean up all that poop! So let’s sort it out now before it settles in.

I am no expert on this subject and I find it extremely difficult to tackle. So I’m just going to throw out some thoughts on this one, and hopefully, you can all build on it?

First and foremost I want to stress that being given the opportunity to read and review and critique the work of another author is a huge honour and one that we need to be very very careful with. This is sacred space we are treading on, and no matter what we do, feel or say, we need to tread with a massive dose of humility and an even bigger dose of grace! Anything short of that is always going to go badly!

Here are some real-life examples:

I once read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of a book which from page one was filled with errors. I would have put down the book immediately but I had offered to read it for a friend and didn’t want to let her down. So I read a few pages more to see what was going on and soon realized that there was a beautiful story underneath there and that without the errors, it could be a success. So I put on the most humble hat I could find, wrote her a carefully worded message which was the least accusatory or judgemental that I could possibly write, and apologized profusely for being the bearer of bad news.

But I told her straight out, that I saw great potential in her story, and that I also saw some quite bad mistakes. I shared with her that in my own personal, totally subjective opinion, the mistakes appeared to me to be simply a translation issue (the book had been written first in a European language) and I gave her some advice on how to fix them.

I went to bed worried, but needn’t have. I woke the next morning to a beautiful thank you message, and over the next few weeks we put our heads together to come up with a solution. She sacked her translator, postponed her launch by a few weeks, and we combed through that manuscript over and over again. She ran it through Grammarly time and again, and I cheered her on from the sidelines every step of the way.

It was a great honour for me to be a small part in that and loved watching her beautiful story emerge!

Here is another real-life story:

I bought a book that looked great, and while it was a much heavier story, with all the things that I am passionate about (abuse, survival, tribes and so on), there too was an amazing story in there. The author wrote in a way that I felt brilliantly walked that very fine line between laying bare the truth of unspeakable abuse without having to go overboard and become gory or voyeuristic. She somehow kept the integrity of the abused child and later adult, without shying away from the horror that she endured.

But I also found the story a little jarring. Instead of building through to crescendoes and solutions and resolutions which built slowly and unpacked over time, the story moved from beautifully written tragedy to beautifully written tragedy with very fast solutions in between which came out of nowhere. I wanted to know how those solutions evolved and came into being, how trust was built and I wanted to live with the main character through her fear of failure with so much on the line. I wanted to rejoice with her triumph but it was a triumph that I couldn’t connect to as the reader was not taken on that particular journey.

Again it was my personal perspective opinion on the story and it was very subjective, but I wanted to share my thoughts with the author in the hope that they could take her writing to the next level. I still believe that she has huge potential as a world-class author, but that this potential blind spot could hold her back for some readers.

Her response was not as welcomed as the other author and she told me I was wrong. I have no doubt that I am wrong, who am I anyway, and it was just my opinion. But it laid out for me the question of how do we navigate this space of sharing our opinions and helping? I was honest with both of them and had completely different results.

And in both cases I believed in the authors and would read ALL of their books and be a huge Brand Ambassadors for them for the rest of their careers if they would learn from what I see as their potential blind spots.. I am not the boss of how successful anyone is, but I do follow authors I can get behind totally, but don’t want to read books that leave me feeling as though it could have been so much more.

Then again what would have happened in each of these 2 cases if behind their meagre blind spots, there wasn’t an amazing author there? What if those stories were boring or badly written, or mechanical or going nowhere no matter what efforts and “fixes” were thrown at them?

I invested in those stories and those authors because I LOVE their work. But there have been others where I simply don’t. Is it me? Is it them? Who am I to say. But I simply don’t have the time, energy, or know how to help them in any way that I can see will make a difference, and it’s best to walk away. Isn’t it?

So my only thoughts and experiences come to these conclusions:

  1. If I have the honour of reading anything for review or critique, then I do so remembering that this is sacred ground I have been given the honour of walking on. I need to treat it as such.
  2. If I LOVE it and it is perfect (how often does that ever happen LOL), then fabulous for me and fabulous for them! Woohoo!! I become their number one fan, write a great review, and become a brand ambassador for them FOREVER!  ….YAY!
  3. More likely, however, is that especially for a relatively new author (less than 5 full books under their belt) there will be a few blind spots that they would hopefully want to be aware of. Most authors want to be better and to know how to improve. But again, we are on sacred group here, so all feedback should be given with as much grace and humility as possible.
  4. How the author responds is about them not me. If I have been constructive, humble and gracious, that is all I can do. If they don’t want anything more then that’s fine and I honestly do feel for them as no one likes “constructive feedback” so they are entitled to feel a bit yuck. But whether they use that feedback as a stepping stone or not is up to them.
  5. If I can’t find the fluent, flowing author and his or her magic in there anywhere, regardless of mistakes big or small, then this is where I struggle the most. It doesn’t mean a fabulous, incredible author isn’t in there, or that their work is not magnificent, but some writing styles don’t speak to me, some stories I cannot relate to, some language grates on me rather than sings to me, and sometimes I can’t even unpack it that succinctly that I can put my finger on the “problem”. It’s just for me and that’s the end of that.

What are your experiences and solutions to this dilemma?

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

 

Take Control of Your NewsFeed!

Today’s questions are all about how to follow your favourite PAGES and GROUPS on Facebook. This is super important for a few of reasons:

1: If you run a page or group yourself, you want to be able to tell your followers and supporters that unless they take a few steps to make it happen, they will not see the vast majority (if any) of your page posts.

2: If you want to be a valuable tribe or village member, then it can become extremely frustrating trying to find the posts of the pages and groups you want to support unless you follow these steps.

3: If you want to post fabulous things to your page without constantly going on about yourself, then following the steps below will ensure that you always have a newsfeed filled with the PAGES that you love. Then all you have to do is share a few of them, and your own page becomes full and active quite quickly.

FIRST STEP:

Let’s say you belong to the group ONE STOP FICTION LAUNCH TEAMS. It is a private group, so it isn’t a space for “sharing” but it is where your tribe resides, and where you get fabulous tips most days. It is also a space where you can ask questions about your book launch or street team.

If you open this group on your computer and hover over the word “Notifications” under the starfish, you need to click All Posts. This means that all posts will appear in your notifications and your newsfeed.

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STEP TWO:

Just say you’ve been away for a few days and your notifications are so full it’s hard to work through them. It can be easier to click on the 3 dots to the right of the “Share” button and click on “Pin to shorcuts.

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When you do this, One Stop Fiction Launch Teams will appear on the left of your homepage and newsfeed, and it even appears on the left when you are on any other profile, page, or group, under the word Shortcuts. You can see I added it here so instead of Chronic Readers being on the top, OSFLTs is now on top.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.38.35 AMYou may even prefer this method and to simply check in on what is happening in the group whenever you feel like it!

These two steps can be applied to any group or page you belong to… The first step isn’t totally foolproof so I highly recommend the second step over and above the first.

I apply these steps to ALL the pages and groups that I need to see all the time!

 

 

 

STEP THREE: “See first”

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If you click on the very right-hand side of the top blue bar of your screen, there is a down arrow. The third from the bottom option says “News Feed Preferences”. If you click on that, this large box will pop up:

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The first option, with the blue star/circle, allows you to prioritise your newsfeed. So click on it, and another box will pop up showing everything and everyone you follow.

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This option not only assures that every post from that site/profile/group/page will pop up in your newsfeed, but it will appear first, at the top of your newsfeed every time you open it! You can see that I follow all these great pages, but I want to make sure that I don’t miss posts from Beyond Your Past Coaching. This is a business that I am passionate about and believe in, so I am a brand ambassador for Matt Pappas and everything he is doing. So I have given him a blue star, which means his page will appear first on my newsfeed every time I open it!

The catch here is you only have a maximum of about 20 “see first” places (that number can and does change). So I have chosen the 6 brands for whom I am an ambassador, 10 pages which post things that I love to share because they are fun, interesting, a good representation of my own brand, and 4 others.

If you want to be the best Brand Ambassador you can be, and want your own followers and fans to do the same, then these easy steps are a great place to start and to organise your online experience 🙂

PS: On my phone, it looked like this:

The first screenshot I have opened to the author Page Jennifer Peacock-Smith, then I clicked on the “Following” button in blue next to the Liked button. It opened to the second screenshot where I had 3 options, “unfollow” “default” and “see first”. I turned the “get notifications” on, then I made “see first” turn blue, and then I clicked on “edit notifications” which opened me to the third screenshot which has a whole bunch of options. I clicked yes to the first three, and no to the last 2 which would pretty much undo all the good work if they were on :p

Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

 

Nov Author Blitz!

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 8.32.05 PMIt’s November!! That means that the October #ArtBlitz is over, and it’s time for #NaNoWriMo (woohoo!!) and November #AuthorBlitz ! Thank you to last month’s winners and I look forward to seeing who wins this month!

The competitions are back on, and again I will be awarding three prizes at the end of the month.

1: The Purple Heart Award will be up for grabs again, for the steady and constant support of one of Faithfuls (you know who you all are!! I love you!).

2: To make it easy for everyone here, my first book will be FREE every Saturday of the month, so that anyone can read and review! (see links below).

So obviously, one of the prizes this month will be the Review Prize!

To those who have Amazon accounts, honest reviews will gain mega points, but getting friends to do the same will gain even more! Also, here is another easy way for more points if you have already left me a review:

I LOVE that I have such an international audience, but sadly, it has shot me in the foot. I need 50 reviews on my book on Amazon.com. in order to be allowed into all kinds of writing spaces, and while I do have more than 50 reviews, they are spread among the different regions of the world instead of just on .com

So while new reviews through November will be greatly appreciated and points given with glee, points will also be given to those who have already reviewed (thank you thank you!!) but only on one of the three biggest sites.

Below are the links to the others too, you are welcome to copy/paste your original reviews to the others, so it should be very quick. But if my UK and Aus reviews could be duplicated to .com … it will open big doors for me!

3: The Facebook Prize this month will be called the Writery Prize, and will focus on this, my Author Facebook page, as well as my blog ( https://jenniferpeacocksmith.wordpress.com ) and my articles on The Mighty ( https://themighty.com/author/jennifer-peacock-smith/ ).

Points towards this prize pool pick will go to those who share and comment lots. Sadly “likes” don’t count much for anything anymore as far as Facebook is concerned, as they have worked out that some people just “like” everything on their newsfeed without even looking. I know none of you do, LOL, but I need traffic, and only comments and shares create traffic.

Thanks SO much for being a part of my team, I hope you have some fun this month!

Here is my book on .com
http://ow.ly/DjNc30fXSoy

Here it is on .co.uk
http://ow.ly/TkXV30fXTg4

Here it is on .com.au
http://ow.ly/YLP730fXSWX

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Brand Ambassadors!

What is a Brand Ambassador?

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Let me start by telling you a bunch of facts which I seriously dislike but cannot do anything to change. They are like gravity… they happen whether I want them to or not, and they don’t just happen now and then… they just are!

1: We are moving to an era of information exchange. The big guys (Am8zon, Face8ook, and Goo8le) all gather massive amounts of information ALL the time through their “free” services. Many of the smaller social media sites are owned by the three major big guys, and they share info as well. They do this not to control us, but to direct the MASSIVE advertising dollars they get, our way. They get money from advertising but also from selling the information they gather from our habits to other major organizations. For the most part, this is a blog for another day, but for now, I just want us to remember that they have a very strong agenda and if we try to work against it, we will fail, and fail miserably.

2: They are also moving (in case you hadn’t noticed) to paid promotion. A decade ago, EVERYTHING we posted could be seen by ALL our Face8ook friends. But as the sheer numbers grew, less and less appeared on our screens and many of our friends whom we would love to see fell between the tracks. Now all the social media platforms have moved to the model of showing about 10% of posts to newsfeeds. This is for two reasons. The first being the assumption that most posts are boring rubbish, the second being that if the poster wants more people to see his/her post, they should pay for it! Even then, when you pay to “promote” or “boost” your post, it never gets to even 50% of your followers!

3: The only posts which get any level of attention without being paid, are posts which are actually newsworthy. So if I post something and the 10% of my followers see it but move on, then it disappears into the oblivion of 90% of posts. However, if my friend Joe comments on it, then it gains “newsworthy” points. And if 4 other people comment on it, it gains more “newsworthy” points. All the big guys guard their algorithms very closely and no one has access to the details, however, one way or another, whether I pay for my posts to be shared more than 10% or not, they are going to go nowhere unless they gain a huge amount of “newsworthy” points. Things that “go viral”, things that “trend” are the posts with the highest “newsworthy” points. They could be because someone famous posted them, but more often than not it is because the public likes them.

4: “Newsworthy” points are measured not by “likes” thanks to Click-Farms and Like-Farms, so no matter how many Followers like your post, they gain no traction AT ALL unless people start commenting and sharing. So please understand this clearly; by someone commenting and sharing, my post gains “newsworthy” points, so it is not just about their share being to their audience (which is good too), but it also means that MY followers will more likely see it. It will appear on 20% or even 30% of my Followers newsfeeds, instead of the 10% it was allocated when it first appeared. I can have a beautiful page, I can put up fabulous things, but I NEED newsworthy points.

5: How to get newsworthy points?

  • Share and comment on (and from) OTHERS pages. So many people fuss about having nothing to post on their author pages. But if your newsfeed is filled with the fabulous and beautiful posts from famous authors and great quotes and beautiful pictures, then you are likely to share things that are newsworthy and you will gain those points too. So make sure that on your “see first” settings, and your “see all posts” settings, you Follow people who’s info and posts you are proud to add to your page. You only get a handful of “see first”s, so choose them wisely! It takes 30 seconds each morning to open your newsfeed, comment on 5 posts and share 3 posts. Even if you never post your own stuff, or anything else, your page will be full, active, busy and people will want to see what you are sharing next!
  • Have your own posts that people WANT to comment on. You do this by having great stuff on your wall (as above), but you also get this by sharing lovely pictures and interesting blog posts etc of your own. As I said, if you aren’t confident doing that, then just do the above, but if you can some stuff to add too, then great (I’ll do another blog on those details later in the month too).
  • You need to have a handful of BRAND AMBASSADORS! You get no “newsworthy” points if no one comments or shares.

It is so easy to go to bed every night feelings sad and hurt. You posted stuff, good stuff, and no one saw or cared. The reality is, that it didn’t appear on 90% of your followers newsfeeds, and that is never going to change without brand ambassadors.

6: A Brand Ambassador in my own words and understanding, is someone (preferably not your granny) who believes in you. Who believes in your products (books, causes etc), and who shares and comments on YOUR POSTS for you. They have your page on their “see first” and “see all posts”. It can happen organically but it is way more effective if they are deliberate and if they do the same things but in slightly different ways. For example. I often post a blog post and get a handful of beautiful private messages about it. I LOVE that and it makes me feel like I’m on the right track. But when anyone at all stumbles on that post, there are no comments, no shares, and they assume it’s a dud and won’t even read it. Yet if those private messages had been placed on the comments instead, the post would gain “newsworthy” points and appear on more newsfeeds, the encouraging comments would make another handful of people want to stop and read it for themselves, and the shares would help them to get more eyes in general… The same encouraging comment can privately do NOTHING for me, or it can leapfrog my post to the next level. A brand ambassador gets that.

So two things from this:

  1. If you want a full, rich social media presence, then be a brand ambassador for the people and pages you feel proud to share, and comment and share their stuff! Fill your page with newsworthy stuff, so people want to come and see what you are sharing next.
  2. Ask a handful of people who already love and support you, to be your brand ambassadors! They will have YOU on their “see first” and “see all posts” setting and each day will interact on your posts so they move to the next level.

Where to get brand ambassadors? What tribes do you belong to? Read THIS blog I wrote yesterday about tribes and villages… this is where you will find your strongest brand ambassadors!

Here is the One Stop Fiction Launch Teams closed Fac8book group that I co-run, where we are building tribes and gathering brand ambassadors like mad!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

Flatline or Sky High?

All authors love Am8zon reviews. And not because of vanity or approval, but because in many ways these reviews have become the modern measure of authory success, the virtual currency of the trade, the key to certain otherwise closed circles, and the gold stars of literary approval. They are needed if one is to succeed. Period.

And so I see people asking, even begging, for reviews, and have been known to stoop so low myself. It is so frustrating and most readers don’t understand the power that they hold in that 1-second click on the star chart, and 30 seconds of writing to send off a review.

So the internet is filled with ways to achieve another review. You are not allowed to pay for reviews, you are not allowed to swap them, and nor can family or friends give them. And so one has to find other ways, which can not only be nigh on impossible but quite deflating and soul destroying. You can send out emails to reviewers, you can join groups who create round robins and so on, but still, the effort involved is huge, and often so is the cost.

The return rate on emails, Facebook posts, groups joined and so on, is less than half a percent. And those numbers drop even further to even a fraction of that pathetic number if you don’t individualize your requests, make them genuine, and put homework into every single one. Then what do we do when we eventually get one? We have no choice but to move on to the next 100 emails, the next round of social media begging, and to trawl through Google to find another fifteen groups to join, introduce oneself, buy more books we don’t like, review 14 other people’s books and put ourselves through the ringer again! And all the while we could have been writing our next book!

This feels to me a little like flatlining. With the odd blip on the chart when you manage to score a review. Honestly, unless you’ve done this yourself, you cannot imagine how soul destroying it is! It’s heartbreaking and most authors aren’t skilled in these social areas. Quite frankly, it leaves me feeling just a little bit ill.

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The chart above shows the green line down in the grass. The gold stars are 4 successful reviews, and you can see that each time one is achieved, they then have to go back to square one and work on finding the next one. They grow in numbers slowly, but each review is what I call “touch and go”. Success but move on to trying to find the next one. To me, this is lonely and awful.

But what if you wanted more than a flat line that continues year after year, book after book, each one with the hope that it will be the kind of review that kickstarts a trajectory to “real” success? What if each review, instead of being a solo exercise, was a way to “level up”? What if each review came with something more than just a few words from a complete stranger and nothing more? What if the same 4 reviews helped you to reach for the sky just a little bit?

Our greatest recommendations don’t come from reviews believe it or not, but from recommendations by people we trust. People we know personally, or personalities that we believe we trust. These are what we need to build trust in our writing and ultimately sales and more reviews.

Rightly or wrongly, as humans, we trust tribes and communities more than we trust individuals on their own. We all believe a bunch of rubbish if the whole village is behind it before we believe the truth from a leper on his own in the wilderness! So we need to create villages around our books and our authorship. Villages that are appealing to the outside, villages that make outsiders feel welcoming. Villages that leave readers feeling drawn to, and outsiders and lepers busting to get in.

Reviews don’t build villages, brand ambassadors do, and next time I will be writing a whole post on what a BRAND AMBASSADOR is and does. How you can be one, and how you can help your friends, families and communities to as well. ou cannot expect others to be your ambassadors unless you can be one yourself. And it’s not just about “paying it forward” or “do unto others” either. It’s about the laws of nature and human beings. We were created to be in communities and we need to behave as if we belong to communities if we want to draw others in. If we behave like lone strangers then we will be treated as such.

But you cannot expect others to be your ambassadors unless you can be one yourself. For your own brand, and some of their brands as well. And it’s not just about “paying it forward” or “do unto others” either. It’s about the laws of nature and human beings. We were created to be in communities and we need to behave as if we belong to communities if we want to draw others in. If we behave like lone strangers then we will be treated as such.

Over the past year, I have read some fabulous books and written some great reviews. I get that for the big writers with thousands of reviews I am merely a drop in ocean, however, many of these books have had only a few reviews. The authors are relatively new and would still be thrilled to receive my added reviews. I have become a brand ambassador for them, taken screenshots of their books, posted them and tagged them across all social media, and without being a crazy stalker, I gave them what I would give my eye teeth to have someone else do for me! It’s good for them and it’s good for me.

At the “best” end of the scale, some have said thank you. But that’s it! At the “worst” end of the scale, they have completely ignored me!

To me, they were handed an opportunity on a silver platter. They accepted my “follow” on Twitter and followed me back, they “liked” my post etc. But every single one, bar none, has proceeded to do NOTHING more with that. And all but 3 have unfollowed me a month later. As authors, they had the chance to level up… but they didn’t. They were so busy chasing the next review, that they ignored me.

A recommendation by another person is always a thousand times better than us blowing our own trumpet! We should share that other person’s recommendation and share it lots! We need to interact, build a level of personal interaction, and you both may soar just a little bit! Soar with half a dozen people and it can take you to the next level. Outsiders watching flocks and tribes soar together want to a part of the action. They look on longingly.

Soar with half a dozen people and it can take you to the next level. Outsiders watching flocks and tribes soar together want to a part of the action. They look on longingly. We become inviting in numbers!

There are two sides to this coin. We need to build villages rather than be alone, but we also need to remember how to treat those who come into our spheres. How to leverage their recommendations!

So for anyone who still doesn’t understand why I believe so passionately in tribes and communities, I hope this goes some way to explain that!

If anyone wants to build a village around their authorship, get on board! It’s free, you will be welcomed with open arms, and we can soar together!!!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Tribe Talk 001

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.15.18 AMIn case you’ve missed it, I’m passionate about tribes, and working within and through them. So I thought I’d do a series on how they work for me, and with November being Author Blitz month for me, I think it’s a great place to start.

So I spent this morning explaining a little bit about social media, how I use it, and its role in tribes and villages.

You can watch the video HERE.

In a nutshell, it explains the following:

•It explains villages and tribes…

•How we are just millions of dots randomly spread everywhere. Nowhere near the highways.

•That there are virtual highways, and if we organize ourselves well, we can place ourselves along them.

•If we jostle, shout & push, we will get nowhere, but if we collaborate we will more likely find a place.

•But we tend to congregate now in bunches of our own, selling to each other and getting nowhere.

•Instead of a butcher, a baker & a seamstress, we are a row of authors, or a row of bloggers/fitness instructors/artist/etc. Our numbers aren’t putting us on the highways!

•Tribes, villages & Shopping centers work for a reason and we need to go back to them… But lets first look at the shop itself.

•Here is what they look like:

◦Home

◦Back of House

◦Back doorstep

◦Front of house

◦Shop Window

◦Lamppost

•They are slightly different depending on what kind of shop they are. Coffee shops are all front and barely any back. Dry Cleaners are all back and hardly any front. This is more than just space, it is also atmosphere and wanting to be there. Compare Starbucks front where it is all about the experience to dry cleaners who are notoriously grumpy.

•Do you simply provide a service regardless of how grumpy you are or do you need to draw customers in?

•This can feel overwhelming, but it needn’t be. This is what works for me:

◦I understand how these different parts work and why. I don’t waste time trying to make any of them be something they aren’t.

◦I have a strategy so that as I am working on each piece of the puzzle I am not stressing about the rest!

◦The pieces speak to each other! (e.g.: IG automatically posts to Fb, Blogs to Twitter and Fb etc)

◦Context is something you’ll hear me talk about a lot. I don’t try to do all things all the time. I spend time in each context and set it up well. No one puts posters on lamp posts every day, but now and then they pop out and check/replace them …. etc.

•We all belong to a number of villages. In the olden days we belonged to one and one only. It was physical, but it was also spiritual, educational, emotional, everything. But then people started moving to the city where they could choose their village and belong to a few. Study in one, live in another, work in a third and even worship in a fourth. It is a good thing for the most part but can also be lonely, fickle, & unreliable. The option of leaving means these villages can be unstable.

•A baker does not set up shop in a town of bakers. He sets up shop in a town with NO bakers… and lots of hungry people! In the olden days a bad baker who was the only baker still thrived. Now one has to be the best baker or people move on. And setting up against other bakers is asking for disaster.

•People in villages walk past our shops if they are shopping in other places. We need to belong to communities or tribes that will see our shop windows or our lamp posts when they are “surfing” their High Street. The villages/tribes that I belong to are:

◦My health community

◦Church

◦Expat

◦Neighbours

◦Old school buddies

◦Art associates

•But I need to reach beyond them. I need to have those in my community share my stuff so that their tribes can also see my stuff. And people hitting “like” through their newsfeed is not support that goes beyond them-and-me. Just last week I tagged a friend to show her a post she really needed to see as it was about her. She “liked” my comment but still did not take the action she needed to take (she didn’t even read it!). Click farms and Like farms have killed “like” as a support measure. We need “Comment Ambassadors” who aren’t bakers, to comment and share our content so that their tribes see it, more of my tribes see it, and those people passing by can see that it has a level of earthly worth.

•I’ll do another video on what this looks like and how to get it as soon as I can, as this is getting a bit long… so comment below as many questions as you like….

——————

•THERE ARE SOME BASICS HOWEVER:

•1: If people can’t find me at all, or they do and I have nothing to show, they will keep on walking past. You can’t change that fact.

•2: I need my shop fronts & windows to be active, clean, inviting, inspirational, warm, welcoming, and interesting.

◦IG

◦Fb

◦Website

◦Pinterest

◦YouTube

◦Goodreads

◦Amazon

◦The Mighty

•3: We cannot expect a place on the internet highways unless we collaborate, share, interact, and earn our place.

•4: Product/content is King!! Unless our products are brilliant, no formula in the world can make it a success.

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith