Note: This is a completely version of a previous post.
Posting on social media can be a quandary for some authors.
Regardless of all the tips posted online, when it comes to a personal decision, many writers don’t know what they should say, especially once they learn that always talking about their books and blog posts is verboten (forbidden).
I get it.
Here’s my confession: I sometimes struggle with what to say on my Facebook profile. My life just isn’t that exciting, you know?
And I’m not into posting selfies. I’m just not that photogenic.
But when it comes to my professional social media accounts — my Facebook page, and Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts, I have no problem.
Why? Because I know that on those accounts I need to balance inspirational and education information. I want to encourage people, post images, and ask questions.
I have those platforms down, so to speak.
I want you to feel the same way. I don’t want you to ever feel insecure about what you’re posting or sit in front of a blinking cursor wondering, “What the heck should I say?”
So let’s get to it.
You Need Great Content on Your Blog & on Social Media
Sometimes content you found on the internet years ago can still apply. I know that I use these tips that I found a few years ago from Search Engine Land. I consider their advice the meat and potatoes of everything I write online.
- Is the content informative?
- Is it authoritative on the subject matter?
- Is it interesting?
- Is it well-written?
- Is longer content broken up into well-organized sections by headings? You may have long paragraphs in your books, but that style doesn’t work for blogging or for your social media posts.
- Does the content make good and interesting use of visual elements? Remember, you need to include images with your blog posts. Multiple photos keep people reading your blog posts. On social media, pictures are a must.
- Is the writing free of embarrassing spelling errors or remedial grammar problems? I use Grammarly to check my writing and punctuation. Are you using an editing application to check yours?
- Is it written appropriately for its intended audience? How well do you know your audience? Are you writing for women in their 30’s or men 40 and older? You must know your audience if you expect to sell any books. The same is true for your audience on your blog and on social media.
- Is the content free of industry-insider jargon, focusing instead on terminology your readers would use (and search for)? Get rid of all jargon and cliches before tapping the publish button.
- When appropriate, does the content show your unique voice or even a sense of humor? Are your snarky or quirky? Don’t be afraid to show your real self. Being authentic will enhance your brand. Embrace who you are and don’t be afraid to show those sides of yourself online.
The above suggestions apply mostly to blog writing, but you can adapt some of them for social media.
You can also use these suggestions to evaluate blog posts written by other people you might want to share. Since 80% of the content, you discuss on social media will be from sources other than your own, ask yourself if that content incorporates the above suggestions.
If it doesn’t, don’t use it.
So what will you post 20% of the time when you can talk about yourself? When you think about it, you’re still going to be posting quite a bit of information that emanates from you.
What should you say?
25 Tips for Posting on Social Media
Here are some examples of great content for your social media profiles:
- Statistics or data
- Branded images
- Recommendations of books you love (use the hashtag #FridayReads on Twitter when you do this)
- Request for advice
- TBT: Throwback Thursday image
- Sharing a meme or comic
- Sharing a testimonial for your book
- Controversial questions
- Fill-in-the-blank posts (“If I were the boss I would _______.”)
- Ask for input on your next book cover.
- Ask for reviews.
- Ask for advice.
- Put up a photo and ask for a caption.
- Acknowledge unusual holidays.
- Ask for input on names of characters for a book you’re working on.
- Share a great sentence from a recent blog post you wrote.
- Share a writing prompt.
- Talk about what inspired you today.
I’ve been considering adopting a German shepherd. So what did I do?
I turned to Facebook and asked if anyone had a German shepherd and what they thought of the breed. (Until now, I’ve always adopted black Labs.)
The response was phenomenal. Friends posted pictures of their German shepherds.
One person queried why would anyone not have a German shepherd. According to her, German shepherds are the best dogs. Period.
My question is just one example of why I love social media. You receive so much support.
When my dog Dixie died in June, the outpouring of support was tremendous and comforting.
On your Facebook author page, remember to narrow your focus and become known for always posting the best and most up-to-date information in your field.
8 More Tips for Posting on Social Media
- If you’re writing a cookbook filled with delicious, gluten-free recipes, you can also post the latest findings in Celiac disease or about new food manufacturers making it easy to follow a strict, gluten-free diet. Don’t forget to post pictures of your gluten-free dishes and baked goods, too.
- Did you write a novel featuring a woman entrepreneur or CEO? Write posts about issues that women in business face.
- If your novel is set in France, look for information about the particular era you write about and look for dreamy images of France on Pinterest and the specific cities where your characters live. Create pinboards for each town your characters visit or live in and the clothing you imagine they would wear. You can even create a board of your characters’ favorite authors.
- Do you love to hike? If your book is about hiking, look for information on new equipment that makes camping and backpacking easy, discuss great hiking trails, and post images from areas you’ve hiked in.
- If you write historical fiction, you might want to post information about current political events in the country featured in your novel and images of the clothing the people wore in that era.
- If you love to write about the 1960s, create pinboards on Pinterest that include retro bell-bottom pants, white boots, flowered skirts, and peasant blouses.
- Do you write about vampires? Review movies that feature vampires and zombies or explore myths about the walking dead.
- Do you write poetry? Include quotes from your favorite poets. Repin image quotes from poetry or create some yourself – for Pinterest. Also, post excerpts from your own poetry and created backdrops for your poems using copyright free image sites and Canva.com.
Remember to narrow your focus and become known for always posting the best and most up-to-date information in your field.
On your blog and your social media accounts, your reputation rests on the content you disseminate.
If you write nonfiction, become an authority in your niche. If you write fiction, network with your colleagues and readers and strive to become known for your content.
Remain objective and stay clear of the potentially alienating arguments that can occur in some pockets of social media. Your blood pressure will thank you.
What questions do you still have about social media content? (Yes, I’d really love to know!)
Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers