Author Brands: Which Type of Influencer Are You?

Brand. Platform. Influencer.

Do these words scare you? If so, they shouldn’t because the fact that you’re online and interacting with this post means you understand a couple, if not all of them. Part of my brand is sharing useful information with writers, so you come here to gain knowledge from my platform.

Your personal or author brand is simply the way you conduct yourself and interact with the world. Online, your brand is everything from the color choice of your Twitter header which can evoke a certain mood, to the specific tone of articles you choose share on Facebook (uplifting? funny? motivational?). Developing a brand is just owning who you are, deciding what you want to say to the world with your work, and strategizing the best way to communicate it that reflects your brand (also known as a marketing-version of your identity). And lastly, and most important, being consistent with it.

Platform can mean two things: the type of social media site you like to use (i.e. Twitter is a platform) OR it can mean an “author platform” which is your network and ability to reach potential book buyers (i.e. 20,000 e-newsletter subscribers, a podcast, a column in a newspaper). Who knows you are? And why do they care what you have to say? Your brand is the angle and the platform is the way you share it.

Now, let’s talk influencers and check out this matrix from social media curator Klout. Look at the words across the top and the category names in the boxes. Start to think about where you fit into this.

klout-influence-matrix.jpg

WHO DOES WHAT?

In this matrix, I’m a “Specialist.” I post highly focused content about a specific industry. Mike Shatzkin of The Idealog is a “Thought Leader.” Media Diversified is an “Activist.” And as you start to think about where you get your information from, and from whom, you start to see the value in being certain types of influencers.

Think of some of your favorite authors: how active are they are social media? What square do they fit into? Which authors do you admire on social media? What are they doing that you’re not?

THINKING ABOUT HIDING OUT? THINK AGAIN.

You’ll notice that there is a listening corner for “Observers” however these people are inconsistent and do more watching than interacting–many new writers sit here. However, be careful not to stay here or fall into this category when you’re leading into book promotion time. Think about getting yourself into another square. You know why it’s important. Making time for interaction and engagement shouldn’t be on the bottom of your to-do list.

HOW DO YOU PIVOT?

To move between squares, look at the side bar to see what you need to improve. “Observers” should be moving towards “Curator” or “Networker” in order to increase their following. In order to do that they need to increase their usage (get more consistent!) and increase participation (If you agree with someone, tell them! If you read an interesting article, share it with us! If you want other people to promote your book launch, try promoting other writers’ launches!).

Once you reflect on how you’re interacting with others online you can work with your strengths to increase your engagement: expanding your brand. How can you share your world-view with more people? The more people in your circles who like what you have to say means that when it comes time to publicize your book they’ll be right there with you promoting you too.

That’s why writers get themselves stuck in a corner when they blog about writing. It’s best to use social media instead of a blog if you don’t have another topic to write about. That way if you want to talk about writing you can post links instead which will give you an influencer category more in the “Sharing/Creating” spectrum like “Feeder,” “Curator,” or “Tastemaker.”

I hope this is a helpful tool to help writers move out of their comfort zones and into higher engagement. Because higher engagement means more followers and more potential for book sales! Therefore, happy agent and happy publisher.

Q: So! Have you solved the puzzle? Which type of influencer are you? …and–if you want to pivot–what square do you want to move into?

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19 thoughts on “Author Brands: Which Type of Influencer Are You?

  1. Love the matrix with its descriptions. It’s hard to know where you stand when you’re starting out without much reciprocal interaction from the online world, but this is helpful for goal digging nonetheless :)

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  2. Hi Carly, I’ve been a blogger since 2009 so I am somewhere between a Feeder and a Broadcaster. I don’t cover just topics on writing–though I have thought about it. There are so many bloggers that do that, instead I’ve chosen to use the label –Your road to mind-body wellness for a longer life–which allows me to write about many things including relationships, books, and health. My goal is always to create a positive relationship with anyone I come in contact with. I belong to three major online groups: Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Midlife Boulevard and my own personal circle of friends. Great post and thanks.

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  3. This is a great post! The matrix is clear and concise. I immediately felt related to the 16 personalities test, and all those funky test that are out there. It could be a great compliment to use a personality test with this platform matrix and your comments. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Without a doubt, greater engagement is key, and I like the concept of pivoting to a more influential square. Some very useful suggestions here, Carly. Thanks for getting the gears turning this morning.

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  5. Methinks I am somewhere between a Socializer (I keep major tabs in the worlds of pop culture and publishing) and a Networker (I love connecting with people and connecting others). While my author brand is still under development, I like to think that my content attracts a certain demo of women (late 30s college-educated with kids). All in all, this post gave me something to think about. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey! A good read, thanks for
Sharing . I’m new to blogging, would you mind following me back and checking
Out my
Blog? Thanks Bex xx

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