A Quick Guide to Not Losing Your Mind About Social Media
1. Whatever platform you chose, social media is secondary to your writing. Don’t use your best, creative time to do social media. You can Twitter when you’re tired and uninspired. Writing? Not so much.
2. There are currently 12-15 social media platforms. Pick two. Three at the outside. You do not need to have ten social media accounts to keep up with. You have writing to do.
3. You can sell books on social media, but you might not. Use social media to be social with other writers, industry people, and readers. Follow the 80/20 rule. No. Follow the 90/10 rule. Ninety percent of what you post should be informative or fun, or cat pictures. Ten percent of the time you can flog your writing.
4. Be interesting! You don’t need to share everything. In fact, please don’t. Readers do want to know who you are though. What are reading? What are you researching? What cool piece of writing or info would your network/readers/friends like to hear about?
5. This one is tricky. Most social media advice mavens say, “Don’t be political or talk about controversial topics that might turn off readers.” Well, if you write about politics or controversial topics you definitely have some wiggle room. My advice? Know your audience.
6. Do your homework on the platforms you choose. Does Twitter prefer landscape or portrait pictures? (Landscape.) Should I have an author page on Facebook? (Yes, too much sales stuff on your personal page can get you banned.) Google is your friend here.
7. You do not have to do social media. You can cultivate an air of old-school writer mystery. You should probably have a website so people can find you and your work. You can even pay someone else to maintain it and pretend the internet doesn’t exist. (Your publisher’s opinion may vary.)
8. If you are going to do social media, you don’t have to tweet or post 20 times a day. Again, people who specialize in this kind of thing recommend 2-5 times per day (per platform). You can automate this stuff with apps and programs. I’ll save you the Google: check out this article on Mashable.
9. Signal boost other writers and publications. Use your platform to highlight writer friends or writers you read and admire. They’ll appreciate your efforts, but don’t do it just to get your back scratched later. Do it because your readers need something to tide them over until your next book or article comes out. If they like your writing, they’ll appreciate the recommendation.
10. Always leave them wanting more. Less is more. Etc. Etc. You don’t want your Facebook page to have tumbleweeds on it but you also do not want to bludgeon people with your book or your social media presence. That way lies the unfollow button.
Want to learn more about the business of writing and marketing your work? Check out the Guild’s workshop series.
Victoria Raschke can’t spell but did manage an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee and a culinary arts degree from Nashville State Community College. Her first book Who by Water will be released in April 2017. Victoria lives in Knoxville with her cats and human family, who really appreciate that culinary degree. She is currently on the Knoxville Writers’ Guild Communications Committee and edits the Guild blog.