I’m doing a workshop next spring on social media, and I’ve been thinking about things that authors should and shouldn’t do on the different platforms. Here’s my list so far.
It is a great time saver to link your social media accounts, so that you only have to post once. However, the audiences and their interactions are different on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For example, some encourage lots of hashtags. If you post a meme to Facebook and it autoposts to Twitter, it shows your comment and a link. Your Twitter followers have no idea what it is unless the open the link. If possible, I think you should tailor the post to the social media platform.
Unless you have a REALLY good reason to do so, don’t use the automated direct messaging on social media sites. It’s a quick way to annoy followers. I can’t tell you how many automated DMs I get a week with a link to buy someone’s book.
If you’re an author, make sure you follow the 80/20 rule. No more than 20% of your posts (maybe less) should be “buy my book.” People are interested in conversations, building relationships, and interesting content. They’ll tune you out if you blast buy my book messages constantly.
Try to be timely with your social media responses. It’s odd when someone responds to a post or comment from months ago.
Avoid posting things that aren’t meaningful or interesting. Some cleanup applications will post after you clean up non-followers. The post will read something like, “I deleted 115 followers and added 38 today.” These are only advertisements for the cleanup app.
Do not respond to negative reviews. Don’t get into a social media battle. It’s public, and once it’s out there, it’s hard to clean up. You are your brand. Be careful not to damage it.
Think before you post something. Don’t respond to someone in anger. You can delete it, but it may not be gone forever. Old tweets and posts can come back to haunt you.
If someone posts something negative on your site, you need to monitor it and decide whether to delete it. I facilitate several group sites, and we have to review posts from time to time to make sure they represent the views of the group.
Don’t be a leech. Authors will often post something about their book on their sites or blog, and another author will comment with links to his/her book. Only include your information if there is an invitation to share links. Don’t hijack someone else’s post.
Help others celebrate. If there is a cover reveal or a new book, share it.
If you’re struggling to find things to share, post a picture or information about interesting places or events you’ve attended. If you’re at another author’s event, post a picture of him/her and the book. Make sure to tag others. If you have pets, include them.
People love to see that you’ve tagged them, and often they will comment or share the post. This helps both of you with your social media reach.
If you’re using a picture of others, make sure that it’s flattering. I have one friend who never looks at the picture closely. No one wants to be the one with his/her eyes closed in the group picture.
What else would you add to my list? Any social media pet peeves?