How To Market Yourself in Social Media:
Tips for Using Facebook & Twitter
A quick how-not-to promote online:
Barge in without introducing yourself, slap your promo up without engaging with anybody, slink off quietly without a backward glance.
A quick how-to promote online:
Introduce yourself, say hello, engage in conversation, find common interests, be polite. Have fun!
Watch the 'Facebook' episode of Southpark for amusing satirical comedy: the concept of Facebook as a dinner party, with people standing around chatting. It's a good analogy to remember, as your Facebook profile is NOT your property. As with any free to use site, you are sitting at someone else's table, at THEIR dinner party.
To reduce chances of spam, adjust your settings. Go to Home, and drop down menu on top right, then Account Settings. Adjust accordingly, but be aware you will still receive promo here and there (not to mention Facebook advertising!) because – much like any dinner party – you can't stop people in a free speech environment telling you about their stuff. One man's meat is another man's poison, and vice versa.
Angry? Chill out. Getting angry with spammers is like road rage; ultimately, you only serve to wind yourself up. Just calmly delete the spam, or block the person if needs be, then adjust your settings where you can, and carry on.
Keep calm and carry on, as they say.
Remember, you are on a social networking site. Facebook was built for networking, and now is primarily used for advertising. If you want total control of your own content, build your own website.
Facebook has user profiles, fan pages, groups, and events. You can create any of these yourself, and run them yourself. Look at your peers; who has what? Which do you think is most effective? Is it really worth having a user profile and a fan page? If you want to keep your user profile reasonably private, then make a fan page and have that as public content for your fans. There are lots of combinations, and you have to find what works for you.
Be aware that anything you upload to Facebook may be used by them and their dubious copyright / data selling rules, which change as often as the wind. Keep it in mind. Copyright your own content, and make sure the first place you upload is to sites that allow you to keep your copyright. In other words: artist friendly.
Always read the small print for each site to see who owns the copyright once you've uploaded content.
Like it? Then say so!
Facebook is a social networking site. The clue is in the title. SOCIAL. So chat, make friends. You don't have to comment on everything, but instead of just clicking the LIKE button, why not make a comment, too? Engage in conversation as you would at a dinner party. Meeting someone new, striking up questions and chat, can lead to new contacts.
The concept of FRIENDS and online friendship isn't quite the same as in real life. For instance, say I've just added someone to my friend's list that I've never met outside of the internet. Are we friends? No! Because we've never met! We're barely acquainted. Anyone can pose as anyone else on the internet, so it does pay to be careful.
Just because you are e-friends doesn't mean that person is ACTUALLY your friend, or you can trust them. Don't get caught saying something you may regret later. Unlike in real life, your conversations online can be screen captured, printed, linked to, and made viral in the blink of an eye. It's up to YOU what you choose to share. If you're embarrassed by something, then don't post about it. Simple as that.
It may not be real life, but manners still apply! Would you barge into someone else's conversation to shout “BUY MY BOOK!” in their faces, then promptly turn around and 'leave the conversation'? Hopefully not! Treat online life like a dinner party, and remember your manners.
What you share is up to you. You're probably here to promote your book, and that's all well and good, but it doesn't have to be all work and no play. Those who get the most out of social networking are those who can happily balance chat with, “Oh and by the way, you might find this of interest...”
Think about your content. Are you going to be a dedicated 'promo pitcher' with an ultra professional approach to branding? Or are you going to chat, have a giggle, and engage with your fellow writers and readers?
It can be both.
And your online chat time doesn't have to be every day, you could even set aside a specific slot for 'social time' like real life coffee mornings. Or hook up to an 'app' like Hootsuite that will connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and post scheduled tweets for you, allowing you the time to go off and write.
What to share?
What are you sharing? Your views and religious beliefs? Do you need to get political? Think about it. What are you essentially here to do? Gain new readers and fans for your stories, perhaps? What are the chances of ALL your fans having the same personal, private views as you? Remember, you don't have to share everything. And you don't have to get really personal in order to show your personality.
In other words, don't over share, then later regret it. Think before you post!
The over sharing instigator! Again, think before you post. What are you posting about? Aim for 50% promo, and 50% content.
What is promo? Telling people about yourself. Links to your book, your blog, etc.
What is content? Something of interest, that would interest/benefit others more than you.
What's the point of Twitter?
Another social networking site, Twitter allows posts in 140 characters (unless you apply for TwitLonger). Depending on how many people (or 'tweeps') you follow, the stream of posts you look at can be very fast paced. You could think of it as like an Instant Message/Text stream. Shorter, faster, snappier.
Twitter is for chat. So, join a conversation! Again, dinner party etiquette applies. You don't have to say, “Good afternoon, mind if I join your conversation?” as that's too formal for fast-paced Twitterers, but a polite, “Hi, nice to meet you!” won't hurt.
You can join in chats by looking up hashtags. For instance, #writing
Why not read the #writing topic, and check down the stream of tweets from people? This is how you find people of interest (apart from stalking celebs!) and people to follow, and how new followers can find YOU.
Someone is following you. No, don't panic, it's only on Twitter! A follower is the Twitter version of 'friend'. You cannot send a DM (direct message) to someone unless you're following each other.
Don't assume that because someone is following you, they automatically pour over every single tweet you make like it's the gospel. You still have to work at keeping people's interest, maintaining your relationships, and basically keep chatting.
Ever been stuck next to someone you didn't want to be? You're not going to hang around, are you? It's the same for social networking. Now, no one is expecting you to be a court jester, so don't feel pressured to be funny/witty/amazing every hour of the day, but just be aware. It's like having your 'party head' on when you go out with friends. You're not going to sit there and whinge at them about your tax bills or house work, are you? (Are you???) Hopefully not! Treat it like a tea party, a chat room, a place to build your contacts and followers, while also having fun.
Mind the spam! Spam-bots are like other spam online; basically, an automated profile that adds random 'friends' on sites, then bombards you with BUY THIS NOW crap. Again, getting angry won't stop this from happening (welcome to the Internet!) just delete, block, and adjust your settings if necessary.
You have the option of making your tweets private. This does mean that no one can retweet you to their own followers, however.
What's your name, again?
Assuming you have more than one online profile, it would make sense to keep the same name. Your name is your brand, and having a simple username makes it easier for people to remember you. How can I recommend a writer for people to follow if I can't remember their complicated username?
The same goes for websites. Look at corporate branding, and how they use one name, one main logo, colour scheme, and it's the same across the board.
You're still at a dinner party. So, LISTEN! No one likes to see a glazed look in their audience's eyes. Listen, respond, ask questions, and before you know it, you're having a conversation.
To acquire followers, you do need to start following people yourself. There needs to be a reason for them not to unfollow you. A lack of activity & constant self-promotion are two big ways to lose followers, or have people not follow you back. Show a little personality!
Hashtag For Writers To Use
From the website Daily Writing Tips, they list all the important hashtags required for joining in writer related conversation. The list will change, as new hashtags are invented and used all the time.
The great thing about hashtags is that Twitter didn't invent them, they were started up by Twitter users, and are now a main basis for search engines. So, use them! Make your own, too.
Good hashtags are:
#MentionMonday (This is pretty much populated by Indie Authors mentioning each other.)
#fictionFriday or #fridayFlash
You can also promote other Tweeps by using #FollowFriday
When engaging in conversation, be wary of people claiming to be who they're not! It's happened using hashtags like these:
Because there are some people out there who feel the need to pose as someone important, either to make themselves feel better, or to take your money. Again, it's back to the fact that anyone out there on the 'net can pose to be anyone else. So have your wits about you, and don't automatically trust everyone.
It pays to be cautious.
If you want to engage with agents and editors, why not research online certain ones you're interested in? Target your search, find out their websites and official Twitter accounts. Do they chat online? If so, then join in! Many publishing houses host online talks in varying forms, and it's up to you to find out where, and join them.
How are you doing?
So, now you're a prolific Tweeter, how do you check your promo radius? Use Tweetreach.com.
There are other sites or 'apps' you can use to check your combined promo radius online, especially for linked accounts, or networked blogs. Apps need to be approved by you before they're allowed access to your profile.
Above all, it really is important to have fun while you're networking online. It's still a dinner party; you have to flit around like a social butterfly, and engage people. If you enjoy chatting, this shouldn't be a problem for you.
What the internet and social media has allowed us – promoters – to do now is tell people about our stuff without standing in the freezing cold handing out flyers, or walking all over cities plastering posters to walls.
Yes, I used to do that. No, I don't miss it! Be thankful for your social media, because I know I am.
* * *