I thought I knew a lot about social media. I really did. When I started a few years back, I thought, how hard can this be? Post something now and again that sounds cool and intellectual and “experty”…and BAM… you’ve got yourself a marketing campaign.
Here’s what I’ve learned after a little over two years dabbling in the art and science of social media for authors.
Lessons in Twitter
Check your stupid inbox and direct mentions! It took me forever to realize that there is great stuff in there. Also some spam, but digging through that is worth the real nuggets. There is also an etiquette that I have a tendency to ignore – actually thanking the people who follow you. Directly. By name. Personally. I’m not rude out of ungratefulness, but rather out of ignorance and lack of time. My New Year’s resolution is to start remembering to give thanks to the people who might actually listen and read from time to time. Finally – don’t Tweet indiscriminately. Promiscuous Tweeting may get you caught with your pants down if you don’t read what’s at the end of those links.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that Facebook is worse than a crack addiction. Half the reason I get behind on writing and marketing is because I get busy messing around on this silly site. The wealth of information on publishing, writing and design is mind-boggling! And I’m easily distracted….squirrel!…by the politics and humor. Second, Facebook is busy developing capabilities and changes faster than I can keep up with them. The marketing potential for authors is overwhelming. In my experience, authors haven’t even BEGUN to tap this potential.
Time & Consistency
Managing your social media is time consuming if you want to do it right. Social media managers such as Hootsuite and Social Oomph can help out a lot. Yet, there’s still so much you need to do. You have to go and add relevant people to follow and Like, thank people personally, publish all of your events and the reminders that go with them, post/Tweet original content (not just re-Tweet and Share), answer messages…get the picture? More than once over the past year my social media has gone very quiet. I don’t mean to; I simply forget. If you use a social media management program, you forget when your pre-programmed announcements end. I originally thought, “Hey, I can do three months of this stuff at once and be done!”
You really should be going into your social media every week whether you have the time to do it or not. But keep in mind it’s all very addicting. Keep it consistent – don’t try to set a goal of five or more Tweets per day unless you’re willing to give up having a real life. You need to have something at least once per day, ideally, so that you pop up in your follower’s stream, but try to be realistic about what you can and can’t do.
Darcie Carsner Torres is a professional writer and editor with over 20 years of experience. She provides editing and critiquing services through CanAm Author Services, http://www.canamauthorservices.com, and editing and ghostwriting services through Pen & Pestle, http://www.penandpestle.com. Her mission is to help budding authors improve their writing and get published.
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