12 Things Every Author Should Know about Social Media

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7-6-15 Social Karma

Social Media Isn’t QVC

I’ve been studying some authors in the last couple of weeks, and I realize that there are still too many writers out there who treat social media as though it were the QVC shopping channel.

Even authors who supposedly know better. As we talked on the phone the other evening, my friend also told me she now unfriends these authors.

That’s the risk.

You see, if you treat social media as though it were broadcast media, your readers – the people who buy your books and adore your writing – will also unfriend, unfollow, block and mute you.

What would happen to your book sales then? They’d head down the toilet.

If you write books, coach, edit, host trainings, speak at conferences, etc., great. You’ve arrived.

But don’t fill your social media timelines with all of this information about yourself all the time.

Be gracious. Promote other authors – they might even be your clients –  friends, etc. Talk about their new books. Create a video in which you explain why you love your colleague’s — or maybe even a reader’s — book .

[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t forget to promote others on social media via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Don’t forget to promote others on social media via @CaballoFrances”]

Be generous. Joanna Penn’s cool term for this is “social karma.”

And she’s right. The more you give, the more you’ll receive. Emanate good energy and be kind to others, and you’ll receive the same treatment.

Do you want retweets? Retweet others.

If you’re not following the 80/20 rule, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Let me clarify the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your content should not be about your stuff but great content and books that other authors write and that your readers would appreciate. Twenty percent of your content can be about your books and website.

Or you can follow Guy Kawasaki’s rule, which is 90/10. He says you should aspire to be like NPR: disseminate the best content you can that your readers will love. Once in a while you can mention your books and blog.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Do you want retweets? Retweet others via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Do you want retweets? Retweet others via @CaballoFrances”]

A Dozen Parameters Authors Should Follow

Enough said. Here’s the list I promised.

  1. I’ve got to include this on the list: social media is not QVC. It’s not broadcast media. At its core, social media, is social. Listen to your readers, thank them, follow them, comment on their posts, and share their status updates.
  2. Twitter is awesome for writers. It’s the go-to social media network regardless of your genre. Signup and use your account.
  3. On Twitter (and every social media network) add a great picture of yourself (don’t be an egghead and don’t use a picture of Fluffy). Add an appropriate header image and write the best bio you can.
  4. Don’t tweet about your number of followers or the number of users you just unfollowed. How does that information serve your brand? It doesn’t so don’t do it.
  5. You don’t have to thank every new follower on Twitter. It’s nice to either thank people for their retweets or follow them, assuming the user is someone you’d really want to follow. But you don’t have to thank everyone. That is burdensome and unnecessary. Be aware that some entities will retweet content just to get noticed and to grow their following and not because they liked your tweet.
  6. Facebook profiles are for communicating with your friends, not for selling your books or promoting your workshops. You can share some of this information on your profile if you think your friends would be interested, but promotional information belongs on your Facebook page.
  7. Don’t neglect to complete the summary on your LinkedIn page. Use keywords and bullets to break up the text.
  8. Add your books, essays and magazine articles to LinkedIn using the Publications app on LinkedIn.
  9. Add your blog posts to LinkedIn’s publishing platform but wait one week or longer after it’s been on your website. You want the SEO (search engine optimization) to benefit your website first.
  10. You don’t have to be on every social media network out there. No one has time for that. People who are everywhere have staffs, something Indie authors can’t afford. Join the social media networks that your readers use. How will you know which ones they use? Study the demographics of your readership and read this post How to Target Your Readership.
  11.  Social media isn’t a numbers game so don’t worry about the number of followers or page Likes you have.
  12. Never buy followers or Likes. The companies who hire people to follow and Like your pages offer their employees little compensation. Besides, these employees are only paid to follow/Like you, not to engage with your content, and that’s what you want. Social media is about engagement.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Twitter is the go-to social media network for authors via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Twitter is the go-to social media network for authors via @CaballoFrances”]

What are your go-to rules for great social karma?

Get the Social Media Cheat Sheet and take the guess out of posting. It’s yours for free.

Grab Your Cheat Sheet by Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for Writers


Social Media Just for Writers by Frances CaballoAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

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