Online Introvert: How I Fail at Social Media Marketing

The Need to Change [and My Selfish Desire of Wanting More]

I had always been a shy child. I remember, distinctively, how I would hide behind my mom and dad when a stranger came near. I had no desire to meet new people, and even less desire to know how much I could possibly disappoint them, whether that be by my looks or manners. This is why I am naturally averse to being social on the internet. I do not know who I am talking to, or even if they are being genuine. It is a tricky business.

In my previous post, I spoke of how wary I am of self-promoting my work online. I believe that, as an author, I should let my work speak for itself. As a person, I fear that by communicating with readers and writers, I may disappoint or, worse, offend them with my comments or personality. It is a defensive trait of mine to close off my voice outside of Nocte Yin.

And I was perfectly fine with being silent outside of my medium. I was quite satisfied with just checking my e-mail and occasionally uploading chapters on FictionPress and FanFiction. I avoided forums and chats, and I was both excited and scared to exchange e-mails with readers. LiveJournal and (my failing) deviantArt accounts were surprising risks for me, but an attempt to reach out.

Social media had never been a priority for me… until now.

After a year of immersing myself in the publishing program (which I am now a graduate of), I have come to realize that it is very important for brands and publishers to be involved in social media. That is where most of their audiences reside.

With that knowledge, I realized that I am a “brand” as well. My “brand” is an “author.” Similarly, my audience and readers are also online — have always been online. My brand as an author depends solely on readers. The whole focus of my placing Nocte Yin online is to have the series be read by others, in particular by perfect strangers who would not be biased about my work. Eventually, after all these years, I have a sudden desire to have more readers. (I think perhaps I am beginning to feel neglected and lonely. Again, it is that cultural need to be recognized and acknowledged.)

However, I have neglected social media for so long that I am now far behind other writers and people in general. (I am a traditionalist and can sometimes be conservative like that — I am not a fan of change.) As an individual, I did not sign up for a personal Facebook account until two years ago, and I only started to seriously use it a year ago. I did not have a personal Twitter or a WordPress until half a year ago, and did not start to use Twitter until I decided to rebrand myself. I have been fumbling around WordPress for months now and I think I have a pretty firm grasp on the platform. I think.

Thus, after an introduction to Twitter and Tumblr from the publishing program, I decided to rebrand myself as “Zhen Xue Qing.” I felt like I needed a new beginning, to reorient myself for a new adventure in my life. I joined Facebook, Twitter and WordPress to get further reach. More importantly, I joined Wattpad, not only because they are a Canadian company, but also because they are a growing company. Their platform is built for mobile tablets.

At first, I just wanted to have fun and see if I can attract new readers (and build up my resume; social media is important for companies now). All the platforms have their own tricks, nuances and surprises. I loved exploring them.

But then I found my current internship.

This is my third internship, and it has nothing to do with traditional publishing (paper and binding) at all. This company is a technology company that built an online platform for content curation. Brands and bloggers can curate and contribute synopsises of their posts into a feed that readers and bloggers can skim and read through. This allows for more traffic for bloggers, more exposure for brands, and more efficient information-finding for readers.

I am the Social Media Intern — capitals required because of how different it is juxtaposed to my history of being an online introvert. In the past three weeks, I have learned quite a bit about content curation, content marketing, social media, WordPress, Google SEO (search engine optimization), Twitter, and blogger outreach. (You know I’m the real deal when I start talking about SEO like I know what it is… and I do know what it is, and even know how to boost it.)

What is startling is the sheer number of blogs on the internet. Everyone can, and does, have a blog. Some even have several (like I do). Google “food blog,” and it is a never-ending list, in different sub-topics (Chinese, Italian, New York, Cairo, Baking, Roasting, Organic, etc.) and languages. It is so overwhelming that in my first week at my internship, I realized just how insignificant I was… and how much I want to change that.*

I must become social media savvy.

I do not expect fame or fortune from this endeavour. (I can dream, of course.) Instead, I simply want a returning audience to read my works and give me positive feedback. To do so, I have chosen several social media platforms to communicate with readers and writers. The primary platform I am using is this very WordPress blog.

I want to become, if not efficient, then sufficient in this new medium. This would not only benefit my career, but also my personal happiness. Even as an introvert, I do not want to be ignored and alone. (I am sure many online feel the same way.) Just bear with me as I stumble through all this internet jargon and mass content.

I hope to be relevant for someone.

@nocteyin (Yes, that is a plug. ;P)

甄雪清

Narcissus | Narcissistic

*[If there is one thing I am proud of myself for, it is that I am a decent writer. It is my one talent, and I fear of not having it or even losing it. It is a petty and self-centred fear, but there is a certain selfish quality in humans that cannot be denied. It is also the exact opposite of my desire in having my writing be recognized on its own, without my having to promote it. It is boggling, but I want to be successful. I cannot have it both ways.

So here I am, using a platform to promote my writing indirectly through anecdotes about my life. That is how marketing works. (Yes, I spoiled it for you, haven’t I?) It is not just about me sharing a part of myself with you, but it is also that underlying message of having you share a part of yourself with me. That is called communication.

I am beginning to see, and want it to be, a relationship.]

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2 thoughts on “Online Introvert: How I Fail at Social Media Marketing

  1. I so relate to this and it’s only recently that, I too, gave myself that push and forced myself to “get out there”. I’m still a little panicked when comments come in, whispered prayers of “please be nice, please be nice” are uttered often but I’m getting better! I think my desire to really make my blog and my “brand” work are overriding my fear. Glad to know I’m not the only one! 🙂

    • I think your “brand” is great! You have lovely pictures and DIY tutorials. I especially love your recent post, about the flavoured ice cubes. I’m definitely going to try them!

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