On Friday I had cocktails with Gabrielle Zevin. Gabrielle is a high school friend and a successful author. Gabi, as she was known in our younger days, was in most of my English classes in school. I am not generally an envious person, but I often wished that I had her gift for writing. In fact, I would always measure myself against her and happily confessed this to her on Friday. I am so happy to see her success as a fiction writer – it makes me feel a bit silly for those feelings that I had way back when. When I first learned that she was published from a friend, about six years ago, I quickly ran out to buy her first book, Elsewhere. I read it in awe and was instantly a fan. The creativity that was in this book, and the others that followed, is nothing but genius. It made me smile.
After reconnecting through none other than Facebook, Gabrielle and I made plans to get together. I was happy to see her and enjoyed our conversation. As adults it is amazing to look back and appreciate who we both had become. Gabrielle, with her confidence as an author and clear appreciation for her fans, definitely knows who she is. She is an accomplished author,but is not the social butterfly that I assume everyone to be. But here’s the thing. She knows that fan engagement is important and she works at, even if it doesn’t come naturally to her.
As we chatted about our careers, the conversation turned to social media. I took a look at her Twitter page and told her that she should have more followers, in my professional opinion. She told me that she follows her fans back and actively engages with them. My first instinct was to help her proactively build her following and target other potential readers. However, when I returned home I spent some time reading her Twitter stream. I noticed that she responds authentically to almost everyone who messages her. She talks to her fans in her personal and real style. Gabrielle’s online persona is as transparent as her real-life personality. And I like it.
From a marketing perspective, I would love to see her build out a fan base. But, when I think about being real and true to yourself on social media, well, no one does it better. So is she doing it right? I think so. See for yourself by following her at www.twitter.com/Gabriellezevin.
Oh and P.S. – She doesn’t look a day older than she did in high school!