Wednesday, November 12, 2014

15 Social Media Lessons For Authors

Social media can be a huge plus or a great distraction for any writer seeking to get published, sell books, build a brand, and influence others.  Maybe it's both a boon and bane, but if you are a writer and plan on using social medial for the rest of your life, here are things you should or should not do:

1.      Know what your goals and intentions are when it comes to social media.  Determine how you will use a social media platform – to generate more web traffic, sell books, spread a message, conduct research, get discovered by someone like a literacy agent or publisher, etc.

2.      Figure out which sites you want to use, choosing from popular ones such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Vine, and many others.

3.      Get familiar with how each site works, from the style of communication to posting etiquette.  Know how the community works and then assimilate.

4.      Look to model others, but not merely replicate them.  You want to share a unique voice and perspective, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

5.      Look to avoid social media fatigue or addiction.  You should designate a minimum and maximum amount of time you plan to dedicate to social media overall and to specific sites on a daily or weekly basis.

6.      Whichever sites you choose to begin with, make sure to fill out your user profile as completely as possible.  Be sure to update it every so often to keep it fresh.  Include your photo and relevant links and be sure to use key words that are targeted to the types of people you seek to connect with.

7.      Be sure to keep up with your social media even when you don’t have a new book to promote.  Be sure to post on things related to your book three to six months prior to its release.

8.      Never post links without some text.  “Read this” or “check this out” won’t do.  To get people to click, they need a reason.

9.      Don’t be overly negative too often.  Don’t be mean or attack people on a personal level.  It’s okay to be critical in a constructive, proportionate, purposeful way.  Avoid posting while angry.

10.  Make sure you edit and proof read what you are about to post.  Remember, everything you say becomes a party of the permanent public record and reflects upon you.

11.  It’s natural to want to look at your click count and to get your connection numbers up, but don’t obsess over it to the point hat all you do is look for tricks to boost your social media.  Focus on producing good, meaningful content.

12.  Avoid coming off as an over-promoter.  Blatant requests for people to buy your book should be severely limited.  The significant majority of your posts should come across as being useful, informative, entertaining, and enlightening.  You are having an online conversation, not providing an infomercial.  There are many subtle ways to let people know about your book.  They’ll naturally feel inspired to buy it if they like the substance of your posts.

13.  Don’t forget about the social aspect to social media.  You can befriend people offline as well.  Phone calls, one-on-one emails, or in-person meetings are wonderful ways to deepen your social media connections.

14.  Never spam people on their Facebook Walls or blog comments section.

15.  It’s good to have an online persona that people gravitate towards, but don’t let it box you in as to how you feel you have to act or say something in a given situation.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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