Eight Simple Rules for Using Social Media

Sunday, October 14, 2012
Actually, according to MediaBistro, 36 rules exist. (Check out the link to see a fabulous infographic!)

As writers, we are often the sole promoters of our individual brand. And as promoters, most of us use social media to engage current - and potential - readers.

I pulled eight of the rules from the MediaBistro infographic (perhaps geared more toward businesses, but each fits the writer's realm, too) because - to me - they sum up my views of social media and making the most of the platforms.

  1. "If all you do is respond to complaints, that's all people will send you." Whether you're responding on Twitter, Facebook, or the comment section on a website, you need to try to keep content upbeat. Complaints and negativity should not be front and center in your social media posts. Granted, you may be frustrated at times and that stress may show up in a 140 character tweet, but if you complain too much, that's all you hear. 
  2. "Stop and ask: Would an actual person talk this way?" I've caught myself thinking this before, and not only about my posts. Social media is about interaction, but if the conversation sounds contrived, well, there's a problem.
  3. "Always write back." So true. Case in point: How many Facebook birthday wishes do you receive and respond to? I answered each one, and most with more than a simple 'thank you.' I asked questions and drew more responses from most of the well-wishers. Do I need to do this? No, but it's an easy way to make a connection.
  4. "Everyone's an influencer." Plain and simple advice.
  5. "Update your page or delete it." Do you need to post hourly? Daily? By all means, post information about you, your books, events, etc. Maybe a weekly or bi-weekly post works best fits your schedule. Great! However...if you aren't making the most of the tool, why have it in your toolbox?
  6. "Contests and sweepstakes are fine...if you want to encourage short relationships." Think about the number of times you've entered a contest because the prize looks great, but you never interact with that writer/individual/conglomerate again. Why not set up a contest or sweeps that will draw consumers? Maybe offer more than a random, once-in-a-blue-moon contest.
  7. "People care what you had for breakfast - if you're a food brand." Guilty as charged. I know I've posted tweets similar to this: "Just made the best oatmeal blueberry pancakes with triple berry syrup." But sometimes, I cover food-related topics in my freelance business, so... No! But I want my readers to see snippets of my personal life... Maybe. Personally, I like messages that show a writer's personal side. It gives me a bit more insight into their stories, especially when I see some of their personality traits come alive in their characters.
  8. "Pinterest works." I've seen several authors use Pinterest in interesting ways: character development, setting, and author information. Why not give it a try?
While you  may not be a social media guru, you can make the various platforms work to your benefit, sometimes just by following a rule.

by LuAnn Schindler. Graphic by LuAnn, too.


Margo Dill said...

LuAnn-great list. I decided to try Pinterest with my book that just came out. I am going to try to post photos from Civil War or Vicksburg that I see and are interesting or I might do some quotes, too. We'll see. I think it works great for nonfiction and crafty books, too. I know we are going to have a great article on it in the next issue of WOW! :) It's all so interesting!

Angela Mackintosh said...

This is great advice. I gulped when you said, "Update your page or delete it." I struggle with that! I need to do one or the other with all of my social networks.

Yes, Pinterest is fascinating. I checked our stats recently and see that it is driving traffic to WOW. Not from the things I posted but images/links our audience has posted. That's the way it should be...natural linking. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about Pinterest yet. I use it more like a filing cabinet than a place to direct traffic to my blog. But I like the other advice. Answering people's comments is a must. After all, this is social networking.

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