#Truestory. Social media is the leading way to get yourself out there. Whether you are an Instagram god/dess, a “like” grabber on Facebook, or Tweet master social media is hands down going to take up as much of your time as a book signing, or writing your next piece.
But #letsbehonest in what works and what doesn’t. Keep in ind you are now a business entity. Which means new etiquette.
Rule #1: You’ll need to lead a double life…or in the very least get split personality.
Everyone tries to separate their work from their home life. Follow the same rule in your social media; it is after all where you work. Readers will follow like minds, or they will stray away from those who hold strong opinions. Your author/book page should be Sweden. Neutral to whatever debate the world is in; no matter how strongly you personally feel about the subject. It’s a public space. Yelling from every corner of your page that cherry pie is the authority over vanilla cake – and there is no ‘if’s, and’s, or but’s about it – will not sit right with everyone in this world. Earth has over seven billion people living on it, and among those billions of people you are bound to come across a vanilla lover or a pecan pie supporter or two.
On that note…you are your own person, and you most certainly are allowed to have opinions. Make yourself your own wall to post your rants and standings on. Something to share with your friends.
#2 A thing called Too Much Information
This goes along with your double life. Over sharing on your author/book page, and (vice versa) oversharing bookish things on your personal.
Chances are your best friend, grandma, third grade boyfriend/girlfriend, and the bag boy at your local market are not just your personal social media friends, they also follow your page. Why bombard them with things twice over? I’ll be honest in saying I completely do this…share everything that I posted on ACNBooks to my personal wall even though I know fully well my personal audience is also tuned into ACNBooks. A tidbit here and a tidbit there can generate followers through shared “likes”, but which page would I rather collect the likes and shares from? Mine or ACN’s? ACN’s likes and shares will draw in new followers. My personal page will draw in cute emojis from my mom. Or, more than likely, get me or my page hidden by my biggest supporters, I know I would hide me. It’s annoying, something I need to give up for lent…maybe there’s a 12 step program …
And that goes for the vice versa. While posting pictures from your personal life once in a while will give your audience a glimpse into the life of M.K.F. Sharing too much personal stuff can have the same effect. Your audience will realize that it’s the Marie show on every channel. Yup, nope, don’t care for that show…it’s always on re-runs.
#3 Lost in a sea of advertisements
Are you part of groups such as; ‘We love authors’, ‘Kindle Books’, ‘Book Club’, etc etc? I know I am…and I know I’ve started leaving these groups. Let me tell you why they are an AMAZING idea with horrible outcomes.
You get lost.
Readers tend to hide or ignore these groups.
When asked how many avid readers use social media groups to find new books every single one of them said yes. When asked what type of group; every single one of them said groups that do not allow authors to advertise, or ones that only allow authors to advertise once a week. Why? Well because the groups that allow authors to go on and on about their new 5 star novel found on Amazon are too much. It’s the used car dealership of online advertising, always on no matter what channel you go to. It completely fills their feed every 3 seconds a new novel is born. With that math, your book is lost in a sea of others screaming to be heard, and you may sink below the volume before your potential reader spends her average 15 seconds scrolling down any given page.
#4 Not everyone is a potential friend
While you can’t control who follows you on Twitter or Instagram (for the most part), you can pick and choose who gets to be part of your inner circle on your personal FB account. At least twice a week I get friend requests from total strangers. Most of the time generated from a signing I’ve done, or something ACNBooks has posted or #hashtagged. Be wary of letting these people into your inner circle – not that they are bad people – but more like they are your audience. Last time I checked audience members weren’t privy to anything unscripted when it came to a look behind the scenes.
But don’t just ignore or deny their request either. Ignoring will leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. What I have is a very nicely scripted response to un-known friend requests saved on both my phone and laptop for when the occasion arises:
“Thank you very much for your interest in M.K.F, however the page you have sent the request to is meant solely for personal friends and family of the science fiction author. So not to bore you with pictures of fuzzy kittens with unamused faces why don’t you hit that like button on ACNBooks! M.K.F. posts more frequently on that page than her personal one. You can also keep up to date on all ACNBooks news while you’re there! Here let us help you with a link below to all the places we would love to see you in!
#5 The #hashtagegame
#hashtags are probably my weakest skill in the social media game. But I have some rules that I try to stick to when playing the #hashtag game.
-Don’t always assume the most popular # will get you the most likes. Just like joining certain Social Media groups the larger the number of times a hashtag has been used, the more likely your picture or post will get lost in a sea of others using it. The most popular hashtags out there right now are #love, #nofilter, and #thankyou. That doesn’t mean wipe them off your list of usable ones. It means pair them with something that has a few hundred or thousand, that way you’ll be seen somewhere. I tend to use: #readmore #readinglist #onemorechapter #characterswelove #bookworm #amreading #amwriting #shouldbewriting the most. These ones tend to generate the most reactions as well.
-Create a hashtag to be your signature. We use #ACNBooks and #ACNgivesback a ton, it’s called branding. Now, 9 months into our journey #ACNBooks is used more frequently, by more strangers (yay we have friends, not just staff!!)
-Don’t be too obscure or cryptic in creating a hashtag. Think simple. Something people will remember and not too long. #reallylonghashtagsaretoohardforpeopletodecipher. Really cryptic hashtags never get remembered or associated with its intended audience.
-Keep in mind:
Twitter doesn’t want posts to be all about the tag. #Incorporate them in your #tweet. And while we’re tweeting can I give my personal advice? You’re an author; it’s annoying af to c ur tweets whn they look like this. Oh, your message won’t fit in the character limit if you don’t abbreviate? Hmmmm you’re a writer! Get creative with words! But you’re also a professional, use your words!
Instagram loves a good hashtag, 30 of the little # symbols when advertising. Just don’t overdo it on every single post or it becomes as annoying to read as that UR you are using on twitter.
Facebook is all meh on the hashtag situation. They’ll incorporate them when they remember there is something else in the world to do besides sharing feelings.
#6 Timing is everything
There is such a thing as too many posts and on the other end there is such a thing as not enough. So how do you decide what is right for you. For the most part I post for ACNBooks once a day, the same thing on every social media site ACNBooks has. Indie Beginning might ignore you for a day or two and then go a mile a minute catching you up on everything in the world of podcasting and I.T. (yes, our Geeks – their word not mine – like to share, in small doses from the safety of their cubicle, no actual peopling necessary).
So it depends on your target audience.
But let’s be honest once again; 30 posts a day will land you on a spam list. It’s like a hit list for businesses (and yes I know you are an author, but author is just a fancy word for small business owner).
Here’s a sweet little suggestion from me to you. Use a generator. No, it doesn’t write witty and interesting posts for you, it just times them out. Facebook has this (there is also Hootsuite and Flacone.io to name a couple others). Every Sunday morning I sip coffee and write about a bazillion thoughts and then Facebook will ask me if I want to publish this right away or schedule it. Schedule please. I tend to schedule things in the following:
Monday-something cute or funny to get you through your day.
Wednesday-let’s learn something new together
Thursday-what does ACNBooks have going on over the weekend? Where can you find us?
Friday-I’ll send you a link to something new on ACNBooks.com
Saturday & Sunday-free for all (I like to play games with my readers/followers, but be ready to commit your entire weekend to that. They really REALLY like to play along).
Now that those are scheduled it doesn’t mean you can’t post more if something comes up. Nor does it mean you can’t have an “oh, shit” moment and decide a post needs to be deleted. But added bonus, my social media pages are linked so whatever goes on one automatically gets copied to the rest. Easy peasy, all done!
#7 If it’s on the internet it must be true!
Research, research, research. Just because at first glance it causes a reaction, that doesn’t mean that it’s the entire story. Just because it sounds right, doesn’t mean it is. Just because you found it on Google doesn’t make it so. Verifying (double checking) is as important to you as ‘measure twice, cut once’ is to a carpenter.
If you are called out, be humble. Accept the mistake, don’t start WWIII over a mis-credited quote (FYI-Anon is a person…it by no means is an abbreviation for Anonymous).
#8 Play Nice
Social Media is just that; social. Encourage readers to participate in games and discussions. Play with other businesses and pages. You’ll find new followers in the oddest places such as them watching you play back and forth with another entrepreneur. I know confusing right? Here’s my example: Indie Beginnings is an ACNBooks production Podcast. We are very close to the hosts of this show (by close I mean VERY close, we share an office, and a last name. Can’t get much closer to someone than marrying them.) Indie Beginning has its own social media which we constantly share, or go back and forth liking each other. ACN’s audience started migrating to like Indie Beginning and ACN gained new followers loyal to Indie Beginning.
The same happened between ACNBbooks and Burialgrounds.coffee (one of our sponsors, and dearest of friends). We played together on their opening night and in return people flocked to Burial Grounds Coffee Co. and coffee fans from all over clicked ACNBooks to see what we were all about.
Our total views and engagements charts skyrocketed almost instantly.
All because we were playful.
#9 And Finally…
HAVE FUN! If you enjoy it, it shows. If you have fun, it shows. Nothing should ever be serious all the time. If you tend to write posts like an owner’s manual, guess how they’ll read to a viewer…like an owner’s manual. If it’s written like the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, then Adam and Barbara are just going to toss it aside and summon Beetlejuice instead (because let’s face it, that guy is a lot more fun than scrolling through stereo instructions). Encourage participation. Social Media is just that…SOCIAL.
I have yet to figure out anything in the world of Pinterest (besides pinning some amazing recipes or some really cool shelves that will never get built). Nor has ACNBooks ventured into the world of Tumbler or Snapchat so if you have experience we would love to hear about it!