Social Media expert Dan Zarrella, the author of The Science of Marketing. In his book he stated:
“I’ve long been interested in the idea that engaging in conversation is the single most important function of social media marketing.”Dan Zarella
It’s so important to converse with readers, friends, and influencers in your sphere. If you don’t allocate time to chat, you are missing the point.
Because at its essence, social media is social. So, to engage in social media and not allocate time to socialize, well, it’s antithetical to the very premise of social media.
Take Twitter, for example. It began as a texting platform. Sure, it’s matured, evolved, and changed. You can include images and video now, and you can even advertise. But at its essence, it’s still a medium for conveying messages.
This premise is true with other social media platforms as well.
Which takes me to those 5 basic rules of social media I promised to discuss.
5 Basic Rules of Social Media
1. Be a social butterfly, in the best sense possible. Social media was never designed to be a broadcast messaging system the way radio and television are. Conversations are the backbone of social media, and that is what distinguishes it, and that is what has fueled its dominance in marketing. The beauty of social media for authors is that it allows you to converse with your readership in a manner that was never possible before Facebook was created. Indie authors have a powerful medium with which they can market their books, converse with their readers, answer questions in minutes, and further their relationships with their loyal readers, even though it’s all done virtually.
2. Don’t attempt to be the prom queen; strive to always be authentic and care about others. Don’t talk solely about yourself. Social media is an inclusive media. You will get further and do better if you help others, including helping other authors in your genre. You can interview your colleagues for your blog and share information about their promotions.
3. Play nicely. There are examples every day of people resorting to name-calling and blasphemy on Facebook and other networks. Someone once called me a phony on Twitter. I didn’t block him or reply with a nasty note. I merely moved on to the next message, a friendly one from a reader.
4. Ignore some people. You aren’t going to like all the messages you read on social media. You may even find some to be obscene or not aligned with your political views. There are plenty of political posts due to the pandemic and the upcoming presidential election. It’s best to not react negatively and to instead set an admirable example. In other words, ignore the negative politics or statements you don’t agree with. Always strive to be sincere, generous, and tolerant.
5. Have a plan. Don’t start posting on social media just to have a “presence.” You need to build a platform, and that requires some thinking ahead. Identify your reading demographic, select the social media networks to reach them, create a posting calendar, and plan to create images and videos. As you proceed, check your analytics weekly to determine what’s working and what needs adjustment.
“Think like a publisher, not a marketer.”David Meerman Scott
Tips for Being Social
It’s important to spend about 30 minutes a day on social media.
Take fifteen minutes in the morning to curate, write, and schedule your posts.
In the afternoon, take another ten to fifteen minutes to check your newsfeeds. Like your friends’ Facebook posts, leave an occasional comment, and retweet and reply to your readers’ messages. If you use Instagram, check that too, Liking posts and leaving comments.
Use applications, such as Tweepi, to unfollow users and kill off bots, and spam and fake accounts.
Look through your newsfeeds to be social. You can do this on a mobile device while watching a movie at home or standing in a store’s line. Whether you have an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other device, you can socialize online whenever you have some idle time. If you don’t have idle time, then it’s essential to schedule some in.
“It’s a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don’t understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television.”Amy Jo Martin, author of “Renegades Write The Rules”
Maybe you’re the type of person who needs to schedule the time into your day. A perfect time might be 4 or 4:30 pm when your energy is waning. Take a break from your regular work, go online, and interact with your readers.
Social media is all about nurturing relationships. Did someone retweet one of your messages? Find a tweet that they wrote that you like and return the favor. Send a note of thanks to all of your retweeters too.
Is there an agent or editor on LinkedIn with whom you’d like to connect but can’t because they are a third-degree connection? Ask a friend to introduce you.
Did a colleague just publish a new book? Help that author to promote his or her book. Let your friends and connections know about your colleague’s new book.
Socializing on social media involves these three steps: meet, connect, and repeat. You are continually meeting new people, connecting with them, and then repeating the process with someone else. Be friendly, positive, and open to meeting new people.
5 Best Practices for Social Media
1. Don’t engage with people who send you negative messages. Take a deep breath, move on to another task, and forget about them.
2. You will inevitably receive invitations to play Farmville, Scrabble, and other online games. If you don’t like these games, block them. You can do this in your security settings on your Facebook profile.
3. It’s a fallacy that you need to be “everywhere.” Determine which platforms best enable you to connect with your readers and only use those platforms. Start out by using one. Later on add a second. Maybe you only need to use two social media networks. Isn’t that thought freeing?
4. It can be difficult for new authors to think of themselves as a brand, but you are a brand, and your readers are watching you. Keep your messaging consistent. If you write about traveling abroad on $40/day, give tips throughout the year. Does your novel takes place in Italy? Pin some of your travel photos from Rome, Venice, and Milan. Perhaps you wrote a book about a single mom. In that case, post information about single mothers, women entrepreneurs, and maybe efforts to penetrate the glass ceiling. Did you write a cookbook? Share recipes and photographs of your latest creations. If you write romance novels, interview your colleagues, and create boards on Pinterest filled with sexy shoes. Or create a pinboard for the book covers of your novels and those of your colleagues. Suppose you like to write historical fiction. Create pinboards for the clothes and food that people ate in the era you write about.
5. Don’t use your book jacket as your avatar. People want to see the face behind the book. So put on some blush, brush your hair, and smile for the camera.
What are your tips? Please share them in the comments.
I am an author and social media consultant for writers. My focus is on helping writers like you surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online and building their platform. I also provide content writing and email marketing services. Be sure to download my ebook about Twitter marketing. You can get it now for free!