Monday, January 29, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part Two

Continuing from Part One...

How consistent are you with managing your MySpace account? I myself intended to make weekly blog updates, but I sometimes feel lucky if I get in for messages etc. Do you think being consistent if not very active is important in social networking?

Carrie: I have to admit to not being that consistent with updating the blog on MySpace, probably because it's not my main writing blog. That is here. I also have a few other writing blogs dotted around the place that also get very few postings published to. I no longer have a personal blog to write on due to too many nasty comments and reactions. I log in at least once a day to pick up blog subscription messages, friend requests and messages. I think it's extremely important to do that because I want to keep the account updated and fresh for promotional purposes.

Jolie: My MySpace page is updated once a week. It's very important to update at MySpace on a consistent basis.

Autumn: I login at least once a day. I blog - well, I try to blog twice a week but I'm happy if I've added something interesting once a week.

Is it important? Definitely. People won't come back to your blog or your space if you don't have anything interesting to read/view/listen to. And if people write you messages and you don't get back to them for a week at a time they think you don't care. Once again, it all goes back to people feeling that they have a relationship with you. And actually developing relationships with people - not just putting in an appearance once in awhile.

What do you use MySpace for? (Here are some ideas, feel free to add your own ~ and if more than one purpose, please guesstimate percentages.)

Marketing/selling to clients/customers.

Networking with other professionals in your field.

To establish connections with press, writers, publications you hope will help promote you.

The free blog service.

Ability to start a group/community devoted to yourself or your works.

Socializing/staying connected with friends & family.

Really, it's just for the free link(s) to your sites &/or projects; you put little thought into its larger purpose.

Autumn: As I've already mentioned, developing relationships with potential readers/clients is important so that's the biggest thing for me. Not just potential buyers, but the ones who like to read for free as well. They are just as important as the buyers. (I'd say 50% is for this purpose!)

Meeting other people in the industry is important as well. There is so much to learn for someone who is so relatively new, like myself. IBA is almost a year old but I started out knowing virtually nothing. A lot that I've learned has come from people I've met ... (About 20% for this purpose.)

The bulletins are a great way to make people aware of new things you have to offer. For instance, my Members Area just opened in January, so bulletins are good for making people aware. I put on a pre-sale special in a bulletin (as well as the blog) so that people here would have a chance to purchase memberships at a drastically reduced price. (10% for bulletins)

Carrie: I use MySpace for Networking with other professionals in my field. I've received a few review requests via MySpace and establishing connections with press, writers and publications. I don't expect anybody to promote me though I've had one or two posts written about me and about my work. I would say it was about 50/50 on the percentages. I don't use MySpace for forming close friendships offline or for keeping in touch with family.

Jolie: I use MySpace for promotion.

Do you have specific goals with MySpace? (Say, hitting a number of friends, targeting specific audiences, recruiting etc.) Or do you just participate and see what comes of it all?

Carrie: I tend to just participate and see what comes out of it all. I'm quite lazy in that respect but really, it's more to do with the lack of time more than anything else. If I'd used it that way when I first started out on the Internet it would have worked out better but I didn't know about it right at the start so I missed out on that opportunity.

Autumn: Sara had some very definite goals. One was to hit 1000 friends by Christmas and I was very impressed that she did that. Another was to visit and comment on every friends page, which she also did. I, myself, not so much. My main goal is to update a couple times a week at least.

Jolie: I'd like to hit a goal of 1,000 friends, but it's not planned. I don't send out friend request. They come to me!

When it comes down to it, MySpace is just another way of networking ~ only instead of a professional organization, it's a much bigger pool with more 'public' to reach. This is good in the sense that you can reach more people, but also each profile or member is a single piece of straw in an immense pile... How do you stand out? What do you do to be found?

Jolie: I have over 800 friends, but I try to keep in contact with about 100 of them. A lot of people have me on their top 24 because of the contact.

Carrie: To increase my exposure I link to my profile from my main writing website, post comments on other friend's profiles on MySpace and I make sure my profile is attractive to look at. Most of the friend's requests I've received are from authors who I've worked with and reviewed their books/websites who have then gone looking for me on MySpace.

If you have a website or blog independent of MySpace, is there any difference between marketing/promoting it as opposed to your MySpace page?

Jolie: I update my website but it doesn't have the people interaction like MySpace does.

Autumn: Blogging, bulletins, and comments. And of course, responding to messages!

Carrie: I do have a website and blog independent of MySpace and I consider these more important for promotional purposes. My main website has been around for 6 years at various domains and I've worked hard to get it where it is today. It still requires more work, though, from me to get it higher up in the search engines. My daily traffic is really low compared to my partner's website! I consider my main website as more important than MySpace as it looks and reads more professional. It holds so much more information than my MySpace profile. I don't like to overload my profile at MySpace because it can then look cluttered and amateurish. There are no ads or pop-ups on my site.

Do you feel you reach more professionals in your area (for ex. authors meeting other authors or publishers) or more consumers (continuing the example, authors meeting book buyers or book reviewers)?

Autumn: So far I would say more professionals.

Carrie: I feel I've reached more professionals via MySpace. Mind you, I can't tell if any of the hits to my book on Lulu.com has come from MySpace or elsewhere! Few people go from MySpace to Hentracks or Sexography, though.

Jolie: Actually, both!

I find that I've had more interaction with and concrete results with professionals at MySpace ~ for example, this whole interview or conversation happened there ;) But when it comes to readers or consumers, not so much. To be fair, it's not always possible to 'see' transactions that occur at other sites. (Hits to my sites, but sales not so much.) Can you definitively state that you have made sales because of MySpace, and if so, pls. describe. If not a direct sale, what other deals or connections have made MySpace worth the time?

Autumn: Definite sales, no. Page views, yes.

Jolie: I don't have a way to tell about the print anthologies, but I have sold ebooks through my MySpace contacts. I've also received book reviews from MySpace friends.

Carrie: I can't say for definite I've received any sales or downloads from MySpace. I've got no way of tracking the hits or download stats of my freebies so I just keep them up there any way! I have had many contacts with authors though which enable me to reach them when I have review offers taking place. This is a good way of networking and it's given me an idea of changing the way I request review submissions. Hopefully, I can increase the amount of requests even further by adding the ability to accept them on MySpace.

I have made linking partners though, which is another important part of increasing your presence on the web.

So, there's a lot of effort which goes into social networking. Overall, do you consider MySpace a worthwhile endeavor?

Autumn: Absolutely. The more effort you put into it, the more you reap the rewards!

Jolie: YES!

Carrie: I would say that it is, definitely. I have had more chance of getting to know people in the same field and genre as me and it has connected me to some excellent erotic magazines thereby increasing my chances of publication. If you don't mind the ads I would recommend it to anyone for networking and promotion.

The Participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

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