Unless you’re a slave for attention or a glutton for punishment, you likely view social media as a business opportunity. You want to use Facebook, Twitter and the wide array of available sites and apps as promotional tools, nothing more. But far too often the “social media initiative” fades into frustration and irritation, a mechanical exercise that results in few sales or clicks.
For authors and media professionals, social media is particularly vexing. Self-promotion is often a novel concept for writers and publishers. They understand the need and importance, and they’ve ready all the necessary how-to blog posts, and yet the result is an astonishing amount of stale and boring Twitters advertising books and media, creating all the energy and interest of mashed potatoes.
In a sea of social media tips, please add ours:
1. Don’t be boring. Nothing is worse than boring. You want to post and Tweet items that are worth sharing. That means making people laugh or providing some relevant piece of information. As you’ve heard over and over again, nothing is more boring than a “buy my book” post.
2. Don’t Sell. It’s the number one rule of every “how to do social media” tips blog post. And yet Facebook and Twitter are awash with “Now for sale” posts. It’s not about pitching. It’s all about you. Not your book. Not your article. You want people to be interested in you. If you don’t like your personality, make one up.
3. Understand it’s a long game. There is no flipping a switch to online engagement. It takes patience and obsessiveness to create an audience and an identity. Talk to people. Find topics that interest. Find people that will be interested in your topics.
4. Find the medium that works best for you. Don’t try to hit every new app. If your voice is Facebook, use it and enjoy it. Don’t waste your time building an Instagram following if you don’t like taking pictures. Social media is about finding your voice and that means finding the right stage.
5. Commit. Social media isn’t one of those projects that can be picked up once a week. Carve out time in your day. Make it a habit. Don’t just post on social media; read it. Don’t schedule social media time; embrace it. Look for opportunity. And accept that you will be involved with for years, not just days or months.
Many authors are disappointed with the return on investment of social media. But if you compare it to the costs of placing ads or the reach of traditional media, the ROI is not bad and the potential far greater than wasting money on time on advertisements or other outreach platforms.
Social media is a way to build a brand and a real connection with an audience, elements hard to buy in traditional marketing.