Some people have trouble with platform building, because they carry around the wrong ideas about what they're trying to do. For instance, some writers think they're just trying to push their information out to others (and sell-sell-sell). Still others think they're just trying to gather huge numbers of friends and followers. But how I view social media and networking (online and off) is an attempt to make real connections with other like-minded people. There may be moments when you're able to help others; there may be moments when others may be able to help you.
Make 3 New Connections
For today's platform-building task, make an attempt to connect with at least three new people on one of your social networks. Doesn't matter if it's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc. The important thing is that you find three new people who appear to share your interests and that you try to friend, follow, or connect to them.
As a person who has limited wiggle room for approving new friends on Facebook, I'd like to share what approach tends to work the best with me for approving new friend requests. Basically, send your request and include a brief message introducing yourself and why you want to connect with me.
That's right. The best way to win me over is to basically introduce yourself--something along the lines of, "Hello. My name is Robert Lee Brewer, and I write poetry. I read a poem of yours in XYZ Literary Journal that I totally loved and have sent you a friend request. I hope you accept it." Easy as that.
Notice that I did not mention anything about checking out my blog or reading my poems or buying my book. How would you like it if a stranger introduced themselves and immediately asked you to buy their stuff?
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A Final Word on Making Connections
Also, it should be said that the end goal is not to just have three new connections. Over time, you should try interacting with the person. That means responding to questions, offering advice, and sharing your experiences.
In other words, you should try to continually deepen your connections. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Ten deep connections are more valuable than 1,000 completely disengaged connections.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.
A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.