By Donna Schlachter
Welcome back to the second article in this series. We are exploring ways to participate in marketing our books and services without leaving the comfort of our homes. Or our coffee shops. Or wherever we introverts like to hide away.
If you are an extrovert, or somewhere in between, keep reading. This is for you, too!
Social media, in today’s climate, can feel like a no-man’s-land—unsafe, uncontrolled, unknown. And in many ways, it is. Facebook, in particular, has experienced many changes recently. Algorithms (what are those exactly?), AI (artificial intelligence sounds like such an oxymoron), ‘bots (can be our friend, but maybe they aren’t), and more.
While I’m no expert on Facebook or any other social media, there are three important lessons to succeed in the sandbox that we all should have learned in kindergarten:
1. Play nice – don’t say anything you don’t want printed in a newspaper 20 years down the road when you’re running for president of the United States or your local PTA. Because, whether we like it or not, online stuff is never lost. Or deleted. And it can be found. By anybody. Anytime.
2. Be careful – don’t post pictures of your kids. Did you know that images come with time, date, and location stamps now? We can’t see them, but the bad guys (hackers, etc) can. And they can see the school your kiddo goes to, or where you live.
3. Share – for every post you put up that includes any kind of “call to action” such as click here, buy this, follow me, etc., you should have at least 4 posts that say how much you love your readers, or how much your readers love you (get their permission to post that review. Amazon reviews belong to Amazon, so get them to tweak their Amazon review if you want to use it elsewhere). You should also comment, like, or share others’ posts as often as you can.
Different platforms have different audiences, so you’ll want to spend the majority of your time on the platform where your readers lurk. In fact, for your mental health, focus on one social media platform at a time. For details, see the resource list below.
Today, I’ll focus on Facebook, since that’s where I tend to hang out. Or rather, where my readers hang out.
According to the Hootsuite link below, more than 40% of FB users are over 35 years old, and of those, just under 50% are women. Good news for me, since my largest reader audience are women over 40 years of age. Men are in the majority on FB, so if that’s your audience, FB might be a good place for you, too. You can check out the other demographics, but I’ll suggest this: wherever you LIKE to hang out is probably the best place to be, since there are few things in life worse than feeling forced to hang out with a bunch of folks you don’t like.
From experience, the more time you spend on a platform, liking, commenting, and sharing, the more that platform will send similar folks your way. And they’ll limit the folks and their type that you say you want to see less of.
If you insist on staying active on more than one platform, there are free or paid plans that will allow you to post the same message to two or more platforms at a time, and some will allow you to have more than one user account, which is helpful if you also have a pen name.
I’d absolutely suggest you have an Author page on whatever platforms you use, or a Coaching page, or whatever services you offer. Most platforms offer additional benefits to Business pages, including the ability to schedule posts in advance and to promote or boost your post through paid ads that may be targeted to specific audiences, depending on your niche.
If you don’t already have an account on each of the major—and even the minor—platforms, I’d recommend you go over immediately and “claim your real estate”. This means signing up for an account using whatever name you want so that when the time comes—and it probably will—you already have the account. Otherwise, when you’re rich and famous, you might be forced to take a name like JohnDoe1234 because JohnDoeAuthor is no longer available.
Social media can be one way to interact with readers, but it isn’t the only way. In coming posts, I’ll discuss those other options. But one thing is clear: readers love to feel as if they are connected to the authors they read. It never ceases to amaze me when I meet somebody who learns I’m a published (or even an aspiring) author.
A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky-clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 60 times in books; is a member of several writers’ groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter. She also coaches writers at any stage of their manuscript. Learn more at www.donnaschlachter.com/Tapestry
Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive 2 free ebooks simply for signing up for our free newsletter!
Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq