Guest Blogger: Alexis Grant
When good things happen, people tend to think you’re lucky.
“Oh, that’s so lucky that you landed a literary agent!” they say. Or, “You’re so lucky you got a book contract!” Or even, “How lucky that freelance writing client found you!”
But the truth is, only a tiny sliver of what you achieve is based on luck. The rest is hard work. You get “lucky” when you work hard to put pieces in place so opportunities come to you, and when you work hard to build a network that wants to help you succeed. In many ways, each of us makes our own luck.
And lucky for us (pun intended), there’s a relatively new and super effective way to make our own luck: social media.
Social media allows us to access people who otherwise probably wouldn’t give us the time of day… to catch the eye of influential folks who will help us meet our goals.
Through Twitter, I made a new friend who eventually put me in touch with my literary agent (Rachelle!), I landed an interview with a hiring manager who’d previously never heard of me, and connected with a writer who included me on Problogger’s list of 20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012. Had I not harnessed the power of my online networks, I wouldn’t have any of that “luck” today.
So how do you use social media to make your own luck? A few tips:
If you want people to be drawn to you, you have to offer them something. Unless you’re hilarious, witty or otherwise entertaining, your best bet is probably to provide value, usually in the form of links. Read a helpful book about how to write a book proposal? Share the link! Discover a blog other writers would die to know about? Point them toward it! Start using a digital tool that’s changed your life? Tell the rest of us! Providing value is the shortest route to success whether you’re tweeting, blogging or interacting in a forum.
You can praise someone all you want on Twitter and Facebook, but that person may never notice your updates if you don’t tag them. So use Facebook’s and Twitter’s @feature as much as possible! If you’re telling your friends or followers about a fabulous book you read, go that extra mile and look up the author’s Twitter handle or Facebook page – and tag them in your update. This trick alone will do wonders for your network.
Don’t just log onto social media when you feel like you have to. Instead, incorporate it into your daily routine. Whenever you meet someone new, look them up on your network of choice, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. When you learn something or read something or see something that resonates with you, share it with your friends and followers. Try tools like Rapportive, a Gmail plug-in that makes it easy to connect socially with anyone who emails you. If you really want to make your own luck, you’ve got to be consistent.
With new social networks popping up everyday – Pinterest and Google+, anyone? – we feel more pressure than ever to be on them all. But don’t fall into the trap of trying to be everywhere – because you will fail. You’ll spread yourself too thin and feel like a failure. And if you try to be everywhere, you’ll likely do a good job nowhere.
Rather than succumbing to this pressure, choose two or three networks that work for you – I like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but your list could also include, say, Goodreads – and do an awesome job building your network there. When those tools help you get “lucky,” you’ll be glad you left the other networks behind.
Alexis Grant is a journalist and social media strategist who’s offering a new online course about how to use social media to Make Your Own Luck. If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your social networks, now’s the time to sign up![ Next Post → ] [ ← Previous Post ]