Four Ways to Make Your Own Luck Using Social Media

Alexis GrantGuest 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:

1. Make yourself interesting.

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.

2. Tag, tag, tag.

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.

3. Make it a habit.

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.

4. Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere.

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.

What’s your favorite social network, and what’s the best thing that has happened to you because of it?

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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!

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  • http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com Bonnie Harris

    Awesome guest post! Thanks for the tips. :)

  • Megan Sayer

    This is great advice Alexis. I’ve had a strange thing recently happen with Facebook that I’m quite excited about developing – what started as me making silly comments about being a SAHM and wanna-be writer has blossomed to the point where people I’m vaguely acquainted with are stopping me on the street and commenting on how much they love my posts!
    It wasn’t intentional, but I’ve developed a following. Now I just need to figure out how to grow it.

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      That’s so great, Megan! One of my favorite things about social media is that your presence can develop in ways you didn’t expect… and I bet that makes it more fun than you expected, too!

      • http://hmallon-ftheeiwasateenagequaker.blogspot.com/ Helen W. Mallon

        Alexis, what’s your blog?

    • http://hmallon-ftheeiwasateenagequaker.blogspot.com/ Helen W. Mallon

      This is so cool I just want to run into my daughter’s bedroom and start wearing her clothes. I know that makes no sense, but it’s, like, so encouraging? You know?

      • http://hmallon-ftheeiwasateenagequaker.blogspot.com/ Helen W. Mallon

        Oh, crap. I mean Alexis’s comment was so encouraging that…etc.

  • http://neuroticworkaholic.blogspot.com Neurotic Workaholic

    I especially appreciate the part about making social networking a habit. It becomes a lot easier to do it once you get used to it. I think that’s one reason why a lot of people abandon blogs; they never got into the habit of blogging.

  • Gloria G. Esquerra

    Still February here in Arizona – 10:15 pm. Great blog. Very helpful. Thank you.

  • http://erinshakespear.blogspot.com Erin Shakespear

    Brilliant post. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • http://www.arbynblog.com Robyn Roste

    Thanks for sharing Alexis, I’ve noticed you around the web and am thrilled for your connecting with Rachelle! Wow way to go :)

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Thanks, Robyn! Nice to connect.

  • http://www.villagedrummerfiction.wordpress.com Richard Alan

    Good advice. I was glad to read your suggestion of picking 2 or 3 social media sites. I use Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads, along with publishing a blog twice a week. I’ve been told to get on Google+ and LinkedIn also. There just isn’t time to do all that and write. I’m trying to get good on the tools I’m currently using instead.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Good for you for making writing a priority! Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing only only networking and forgetting that our main job is to write.

  • http://thenighteaglessoared.blogspot.com/ Steve Newman

    Great advice. Shared and tagged on facebook, Christian Authors and Marketing Strategies! Here is another blog I stumbled on yesterday that you all might enjoy. http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2012/02/the-fruits-of-our-labors/

    Thanks Rachelle!

  • http://4broadminds.blogspot.com/ carol brill

    Hi Alexis, I love the simplicity in your post, breaking Social Media down to a few doable steps. Thank you

    and I love that Steve “showed” he got it by doing exactly what you suggested in his post
    thanks, carol

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Thanks, Carol :) Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.cgblake.wordpress.com CG Blake

    Alexis, thanks for the great tips. What you said about selecting a few social media outlets and focusing your energies on them is so true. As a relatively new blogger I have found it takes awhile to hit my stride. These tips are very helpful. Thanks again.

  • http://www.godspeakstoday.net Sandy@Godspeakstoday

    Thank you for this post! I felt immediate freedom when you gave me permission to choose my favorite social media sites and concentrate my efforts there. The pressure to join Pinterest and Twitter is a bit overwhelming. I prefer Facebook.

    Sandy

  • http://lindsayharrel.blogspot.com Lindsay Harrel

    Yes, yes, yes on everything you said! There is nothing like being bombarded on Twitter with people’s self-promotion. Blah. Usefulness is key. I use Facebook the most and Twitter second-most (although I have a lot more I could do with Twitter…have been considering HootSuite for awhile now to schedule Tweets). I really like using Twitter for little conversations or to recognize fellow bloggers, etc. It just builds your relationships one tweet at a time. Love it!

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Hey Lindsay — I LOVE Hootsuite. Huge fan. Not only does it help you schedule tweets, it also makes so many other little tasks (like RTing) easier. That’s part of my course actually, helping you find tools like this that make your social media life easier and more fun!

      • http://lindsayharrel.blogspot.com Lindsay Harrel

        Awesome! Off to go follow you on Twitter… :P

  • http://waibelworld.blogspot.com Mary W.

    What a great post! I just asked a question about social media use on my blog this morning, and then opened and read yours. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Susan

    This is great advice and much appreciated. I’d like to purchase that book at some point. I’m sure it is loaded with great information.

    It is rare that luck plays a major role in success of any type.

    I have to focus mainly on my writing but I feel I must continue to study social media.

    Social media is like planting a seed and nurturing its growth until it blossoms.

    There’s a great deal of power in the world of social media.

    I plan on tapping into it in a big way.

    Thank you Alexis for this great post.

    Rachelle, this is a wonderful example of valuable information you continue to supply outside of the area of the basics.

  • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp

    Wow. What a wonderful post. Here’s the thing. Until just now I didn’t know anything about how to “tag” someone. I used to a be a facebook skeptic. Now I can’t believe I ever lived without it. Not just for the connections, though. What stuns me almost every day is how supportive and truly encouraging people are. Thanks for this helpful piece.

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Yes, yes! Tagging is such a stealth tool :)

      • Robert Lynch

        I am a little confused on the “tag” issue. I did a very short review on my Facebook page of a book I just finished. I am connected to the author through his fan page on Facebook. I wanted to tag him, by including his full name in my post, but only friends with the author’s same first name came up for tagging purposes. I could not find another way to tag him. Can fan pages not be tagged?

        • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

          Pages can be tagged, but you have to LIKE the page first. (And even then, sometimes Facebook’s finicky.)

          • Robert Lynch

            Well then, must be the “finicky” thing. Or me!

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TC Avey

    Thanks for the tips. I need to do better at remembering to use tags!

  • http://www.jacksonbooks.com Linda Jackson

    Thanks for the tips, Alexis. This year, I decided to become a dedicated blog follower and commenter. As a result, just this week, I have won two pitch contests which resulted in a 50-page submission to two wonderful agents. I know I would not have had these opportunities had it not been for following those blogs.

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Love this example, Linda! That’s so YOU MAKING YOU OWN LUCK!

  • http://differentcornersinmylife.blogspot.com/2011/08/questions-questions-questions.html karen

    Great advice Alexis. I fall into the trap of #4 and find myself trying to keep up and then wanting to just shut off the computer and walk away!

  • http://www.rashadpharaon.com Rashad Pharaon

    Twitter, hands down. Incredible what it can do once you get the hang of it.

  • http://www.artesianministries.org Donna Pyle

    Thanks for this great advice, Alexis! You’re right – if we try every single social media option, we cannot effectively develop the ones that work best for us. I’ve found Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest work best. I’m a newbie to Pinterest (less than 2 weeks), but within the first week, I received over two dozen orders for my Bible studies from people I’ve never connected with before. Just blew me away! I’ve added a board for my blog now…we’ll see how it goes. Thanks again!

    • Robert Lynch

      Hi Donna

      That’s pretty exciting stuff! Congratulations on your quick success with Pinterest. Would you mind sharing a link to your Pinterest account so that I might see an example? I have just recently discovered this site (people posting on Facebook), but I guess I don’t really get how best to use it yet!

      • http://www.artesianministries.org Donna Pyle

        Hi Robert. I agree, it’s exciting stuff! Absolutely – here’s the link to my Pinterest boards: http://pinterest.com/donnapyle1/
        They’re listed under the board “Bible Studies I’ve Written”. Good luck!

  • http://www.parchmentandpixels.com Rachel

    #4 is a great point. I worked for a company for awhile that wanted to be on a lot of social networks that just weren’t right for them, based on their goals and customer base. I tried to tell them this, but to no avail!

  • http://infinitecharacters.com/ Connie Almony

    Your comment about luck reminded me of a conversation I had with my ten year old daughter last week. I told her I bought my piano as a teen with money I’d gotten from a legal settlement from a dog attack when I was two. She said, “Lucky!” Ugh!
    I have to say my favorite social media site at present is Pinterest. Having just started, I am thrilled to have connected with other authors who are now great resources for an upcoming series I plan to do on my blogs about the church helping returning vets. I would have never connected with her if I hadn’t pinned the cover of a military thriller book on one of my boards. Cool!

  • http://walkthevoid.blogspot.com Voidwalker

    Wonderful guest post indeed. We have such awesome tools at our disposal, but some people just don’t know how to utilize them to the fullest. Even those of us who think we have a good handle can learn a thing or two.

    Thanks Alexis for this post. I’ve linked your site and this particular article on my own blog. Good stuff.

  • http://akasoulbird.wordpress.com/ Robin

    Thanks for the information. I feel so much better knowing that I don’t have to be in all of those places at once. I have felt the pressure to join other social websites beyond the ones I’m most comfortable with, but now I know that as long as I continue to work hard on my few it will eventually pay off. :)

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    The best thing I ever did was to start blogging. I met so many wonderful Christian women and men. My blog posts helped me to fine tune my writing and led directly to my book “Refreshment in Refuge”, published by WestBow Press.

    This is great advice, Alexis! Thank you!

  • http://vickiorians.blogspot.com Vicki Orians

    Thanks for the pointers! :) I’ve found, so far, that blogging and Twitter have been the most effective. But I’m also on Goodreads. Hope to see something blossom there, too!

  • http://www.simpledaisy.blogspot.com Simple Daisy

    This is fabulous!!! Thank you:)

  • Nancy Petralia

    Thanks Rachelle for including this informative info. I’ve been following Alexis for a while and like her specific, helpful advice…just like yours.

  • http://alabambaemptynester.blogspot.com/ Karen

    My dad always said that you make your own luck. He was very successful, so I guess he knew what he was talking about. It is true that working toward a goal will produce luck. I’ve found also, that I have to step outside my comfort zone a little to help generate that kind of luck.

    Great post. Thanks for the tips about linking and using @ and #. I’m never sure exactly what those are for.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.jodysdevotionaljournal.blogspot.com Jody

    This is such good advice. Thank you, Alexis:) I am still trying to get the hang of all this. Facebook and Twitter, a blog and Hootsuite are my current social media learning areas.

  • http://pjcasselman.blogspot.com/ P. J. Casselman

    Thanks for the advice, Alexis. I have about 2,000 followers on Twitter, but I am trying to learn what to do with them.

  • http://bizziwriter.com Carrie Schmeck

    I think the “choose your favorite” social network is the standout winner here for me!

    Also, headed over the Rapportive to check that out. Love tools that make life more efficient.

    Thanks.

  • http://crowproductions.com Joan Cimyotte

    There’s so much to learn. Thanks Alex and Rachelle!

  • Jeanne T

    Alexis, what a practical post. Thank you! I’m still figuring out how to develop an online presence. :) Facebook is my main mode of “being out there,” right now, but I know I’ll join Twitter sometime in the next few months.

    I especially liked your tip about making myself interesting by providing valuable information (as in links and such). Thanks so much!

  • http://www.writerspenn.blogspot.com Ruth Douthitt

    Great tips! I have met so many wonderful people on social media and am creating a brand. I look forward to using social media even more this year!

    I will follow you on Twitter and I added your blog to my own: http://www.writerspenn.blogspot.com

    Blessings!
    Ruth

  • http://creativitylifecoaching.blogspot.com Sherrie

    One thing that happened with Facebook is that I met two very interesting people in person that I found on FB. One of them, I met in NY when I went to visit family. I have learned a lot from her about editing, publishing and the writer’s life, not to mention the fact that I spent time in the capital and my hubby has begun to see that NY has a lot to offer.
    The other person is an amazing photographer who has lived and traveled all over the world. She happened to be back home because of her mother’s illness so we met up in La Jolla. We had a great day and I now consider her a friend.
    Of course, there are also the couple hundred friends and family that I had lost touch with over the years (you see, I used to be a wanderer), including my ex’s family. They are important to me as my novel takes place in their country. They will be a big help in the future.
    The downside is that I waste a lot of precious time on-line. I love commenting on the news and events in the world and seem to have become very opinionated in my later years. Who woulda thunk it?!

  • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

    My favorite social network is facebook. Sometimes, I am so consistent in following that I have to set goals for myself – such as this morning: I will not look, I will not sign-in, until I break 60,000 words on my current WIP. By far, the best thing that has happened to me through social media (besides keeping current with my three grown children) is coming to feel that I know authors, like Susan Meissner personally. Through knowing those authors, I found links to helpful blogs like Rachelle’s.
    Thanks for the additional tips on how to make social networking even better.

  • http://www.sueharrison.com Sue Harrison

    Thank you for all the information, Alexis! My favorite social media is FB. We’re functioning as a big extended family and having a lot of fun. They’re also cheering me on as I write my novels.

  • http://www.brokengirl.info London Crockett

    Good advice, Alexis. I have to take exception with one sentence, though: “But the truth is, only a tiny sliver of what you achieve is based on luck”

    That’s one of the great American myths, but it can be readily be shown in a vast number of situations how much luck matters. The random bounce of a ball can determine who wins a game; showing up five minutes early (or late) can make an introduction that leads to huge things; car accidents and other random events can alter lives forever. I’ve lost jobs to scheduling conflicts; gotten them from being available at the last minute.

    We tend to take on the burden of “success,” demanding perfection from ourselves and others when much of it is out of our hands. Acting as if you are in complete control of your life can be valuable, but only if you recognize the limits of your control.

    • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

      Hey London — Have you read OUTLIERS? I just read it recently, so I get where you’re coming from when you say chance plays a big role in where we end up. But I still believe that luck can’t happen unless we put ourselves in the right place at the right time.

      • http://www.brokengirl.info London Crockett

        Hi Alexis, I haven’t read OUTLIERS, although I’m familiar with the concept (my protagonist is an über-outlier). I think I’ll save you and this board with a huge off-topic conversation about luck and probability. But whether luck is something we make or not, I try to follow all four of your tips. Need to get better at tagging though.

  • http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Cool! I’m right on target.

  • http://www.theartoftoadkissing.com Heidi Lee Munson

    Alexis – great advice. I’ve found a strong support community in Twitter community, and I’ve foud that sharing the encouragement goes a long way in goodwill.
    I’m thrilled for you and your success – I’ll certainly be watching. Best of luck!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    “… when you work hard to build a network that wants to help you succeed …” I’m finding it’s better to build relationships than platforms. As I near a book launch, I’m finding your statement ringing so true. People I’ve supported and encouraged and who’ve done the same for me are showing wonderful signs of support. “Let me know when your book’s out …” “How can people find your book?” Alexis, you share excellent counsel for the writer.

  • http://mavieenviolet.blogspot.com Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge

    Well, I’ve met some really nice people while blogging, and that’s really been my primary form of social media. On the other hand, I’ve recently gotten a twitter, and I’ve very interested to see where that takes me.

  • http://caseykay1.wordpress.com Casey Kay

    Great tips! I’ve been trying to get more into social media. I use Twitter and G+ to follow others and play games, but now I am trying to incorporate them into my blogging. I’m also working on blogging more regularly and trying to get better at it.

    My favorite is Twitter because you can share things quickly. It also is more accessible to me because I can use text messaging (I went back to a “dumb” phone about a year ago and the screen is too small for good use of the Internet away from Wifi.)

  • http://bookinamonthmom@blogspot.com Heather Gilbert

    As someone who’s finally dipping her feet (okay, plunging headfirst) into the waters of twitter and FB author page, I’m so thankful for posts like this. Two years ago, I would’ve had no idea what you were talking about. But managing social media is a must for authors in the 21st century. AND it’s not so hard (though time-consuming)–I’ve learned so much through my fellow writing bloggers and blogspots like Rachelle’s! Now going to check out your twitter! Thank you!

  • http://hmallon-ftheeiwasateenagequaker.blogspot.com/ Helen W. Mallon

    Good vibes, good advice, everyone. But I am afraid Twitter will suck my soul out through my eyes and fingertips and it will wander forever, hollow-eyed, through cyberspace. I mean I love Twitter. I also might love crack if I tried it.

  • http://www.girlmeetspaper.com Jane Graham

    Another fantastic post! Thanks to Alexis! I “got lucky” when my blog was discovered via Facebook links, which led to a freelancing job with a major corporation. My work there was noticed, and I was offered a contract to ghostwrite the CEO’s first book. Sometimes it still seems unreal that this is part of my story! …and I’m still amazed that God used Facebook and my blog to make it happen :)

  • http://www.socialsitecreator.com webmaster

    Fantastic post! Definitely making present to every social network sites helps your blog discovered.Twitter and facebook really helps nowadays.

  • http://haloupek.posterous.com/ William Haloupek

    What is the right balance between writing and promoting? I try to spend most of my time and energy on writing. Maybe a couple of hours a day on social media?

  • http://www.unlimitedfblikes.com Randy Jackson

    Unlimited Fb Likes provide the options to buy Facebook fans and Facebook Fans for widening the more targeted traffic over the site. We provide options like increase Facebook likes to come in Facebook notifications and to promote the products and services indirectly. Facebook offer different type of tools that you can use to promote your products. These applications allow you to market products far more effectively than other tools available in the rest of social networking sites.

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  • Bob

    How much you wanna bet she just loved Eat,Pray,Love…

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