Everyone tells authors, “you should be on social media.” Well, to be honest, social media can be exhausting, and it has the propensity to be nothing but a time suck. There are SO many platforms to choose from. And SO many ways to do social media wrong.
Less common than, “Use social media,” but still pretty common, is the advice, “Don’t just try to sell on social media.” And that’s good advice. For sure, you should never, ever spam people who don’t even follow you with personalized tweets to buy your book, or notices that your work is on sale. Heck, just don’t send those messages ever. To anyone. (I’ve written before about why that is.)
I’ve been on social media for almost two years now. And I admit, lately I’ve let life interfere and I just haven’t been active there. But now I’m making a concentrated effort to get back on Twitter.
To make my Facebook fan page fun and interesting.
To read and comment on blogs again. Especially blogs that belong to you guys.
Things are still settling down for me and aren’t quite calm yet, but they are getting calmer by the day (and all the things going on are good ones!) Life is calm enough, at least, that I feel comfortable devoting time to social media again.
Which has gotten me thinking:
Everyone says to use social media, and not to “sell” your work there. But how exactly do we use social media effectively, to let other people get to know us so that they’ll want to read our stuff and interact with us? No one talks about THAT too much.
Here are some ways I am planning to do just that:
- Connect with people who share my interests. I write fantasy literature. I run a blog about creative writing. So I’ll follow people who share my passion for fantasy/ sci-fi and for writing. And not just follow them, but do things like respond to their statuses and posts when I have a response that I feel they’ll enjoy or smile at. That’s how social media is meant to form a network.
- Post about things that aren’t related to my writing and my blog but that I still care about. Because hey: all of us writers have a myriad of interests and passions, because we are all complex, fully human people. Writing is only a part of that. Me: I really love animals. And Spain. I was an academic by training before I moved home and rebooted my life, so to speak. All that is a part of who I am, and I’d like my Facebook page and my Twitter account to reflect that.
- Try to draw attention to other artists and creators whose work I enjoy or that impresses me. There is no real drawback to this. I can share the work of other people to help them out. I can expose my followers to awesome articles or books they might not hear about otherwise. And I can give people some idea of who I am through giving my stamp of approval to this or that.
- Try to comment on the little things in life that are the real things worth living for. Only when it occurs to me, of course. I don’t want to try to force this kind of thing, because you can always tell when someone’s doing that and it sounds insincere. However, there are moments after a cold, tough day when you get home and you get that wonderful, hot cup of your favorite tea, and sink back in your chair and decompress. Those moments when your four year old nephew tells you, “I miss you these days.” Or when you go to your first Mardi Gras parade since high school. Moments that matter and that you know other people can relate to.
Of course, I will also share links to my blog posts. I feel that is different than marketing my published work every day. I’m not asking anyone to pay to visit my blog, for one. My hope is that people will enjoy the posts and perhaps find confidence through discovering they’re not alone in how they feel or how they write.
Also, each post is unique. Marketing a different blog post each day is very different than tweeting about the same novel week after week. New and varied content…. that’s the distinction. (Basically, I don’t want people to think I’m discouraging them from tweeting about their blog posts. Your blog is your hub. It’s where you WANT to be directing people who want to find out more about you.)
So, how effective do you feel social media is as a marketing tool? How do you like to use it? When do you feel it is most useful for you?
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my backlog of posts on social media marketing and how to use Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.