Here we are...swimming in a sea of social media options. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest.
Here we are...bored shitless. Or offended. Or confused. Or...whatever.
People have different needs/motivations/interests in terms of social media. Got it. And I understand that many authors are using social media purely to get a sale. However, it's not going to be very effective when you're boring the bejimminies out of everyone. No one will want to buy your books.
When I get a friend request at Facebook, or a Twitter follow, and I'm considering..."Should I accept this? Should I follow back? Is this person worth checking out?" I consider several points. There are certain things that definitely draw my attention and make me want to read/friend/check you out.
And there are other things that make me fall asleep/leave/vow to never purchase a book from you as long as I live.
Here are some things to think about...
1. DON'T SKIMP ON THE VISUAL.
What does this girl have to do with my article?
Absolutely nothing. But the image got your attention, didn't it?
If you want someone to read your post, announcement, Facebook rant, you first need to capture their attention. Having a shit-ton of text, with no images, is not a good idea. Let the image grab their attention, and then follow up with some entertaining content/text.
2. DON'T BE A BILLBOARD.
If I check out your Twitter account, and every single tweet is BUY MY BOOK or a tweet about a review ABOUT YOUR BOOK or a retweet ABOUT YOUR BOOK, I'm out.
To be honest, I don't understand why anyone would follow someone doing that. It's like white noise. I guess they mute it.
At least take the time to interact, ask questions, chat with folks. This goes for Facebook, too. There is nothing worse than a Facebook author page that has 27 straight posts about MY BOOK MY BOOK MY BOOK.
I get it. You wrote a book. You want us to buy it.
3. BE YOU
I know there is a new trend going right now about "super secret identities." Here's what I think about secret identities, and shady deceptive practices, and gimmicks used to bump up sales.
I don't trust you.
If I don't know who you are--or if I find out you're someone else--I don't trust you.
Do not underestimate the power of reader trust. Be you. Be yourself. OWN YOUR SHIT. This is part of your branding...being authentic.
Gimmicks wear off and lose appeal. But you being yourself, and owning your shit, is for the long-haul.
I want to see who you really are on Twitter...posting pics of your walk around New England. And I want to hear you chatting about how your dog just had puppies on Facebook. And I want to see the picture of your perfect cocktail from the girl's night out event on your Instagram account.
These things are authentic and real and show me your true personality.
4. BE APPROPRIATE
There is a fine line between keeping it real ("I had a bad day at work!") and TMI ("Here's a picture of my oozing scab that was removed at the ER!"). I don't want to see your scab or your ingrown toenail or hear about how you puked your guts out all night long after drinking too much beer.
T. M. I.
I do want to see pics of your garden, hear about your latest vacation to Aruba, and offer support when you're having a bad day because you just put down your dog. You don't always have to be happy and perky. On the other hand, some things should not be discussed on social media.
Who are my favorite friends on social media? Some are authors, some are bloggers, some are readers, some are just random people I met on-line.
They entertain me.
They inspire me.
They make me laugh. They make me think. They offer support. They are thoughtful, cool, talented.
They are passionate.
They post incredible pics of their artwork. They commiserate with me about raising teenagers. They offer an excellent sangria recipe when I'm hosting a party.
When I'm having a good writing day, I'll post a snippet of my latest work-in-progress on Facebook. My friends get excited and chat with me about my book. That support keeps me going.
If you want to connect on social media, be yourself. Have fun. Be authentic.
Because, let's face it, what you're really doing is selling yourself. Are you boring? Are you funny? Are you kind? Are you snarky?
If peeps get interested in YOU, then maybe they'll be interested in what you do.
What an amazing concept!
Keeping it real in the Boston burbs,