Using social media - Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
If you are new to the world of Twitter and have never used Facebook to promote anything before, it can be a little daunting. One of the things that we’d really like to emphasise is that you need to give yourself a little time to play around with these tools and get a feel for them. You don’t need to use all of them, just choose the one that feels right for you.
One of the main benefits of Twitter is that it can widen the group of people that you are communicating with, so that ultimately you can find more people who might like to buy your book or comment on it and review it. But you have to remember that nothing comes for free (would you just order someone’s book that you don’t know?), so you need to put a little bit of time in first.
If you’re trying to reach new audiences, think about what you are going to give back. Help people by using your expertise, or help your followers keep up to date with things that they might find interesting such as sources for your ideas, relevant political stories etc.
Follow people that you find interesting and interact with them.
Facebook can be a bit trickier to use in terms of self-promotion. There are some people who find it really useful, but others who argue that, as people use it predominantly as a social tool (for connecting with people that they know, rather than people that they don’t), it’s not worth the effort.
The advantage with Facebook may be that you already use it, so you are familiar with the way it works. As an author, you can have what’s known as a brand ‘Page’. This is different to a personal profile, and means that you can keep your personal and professional personas separate. Some of the most successful uses of Facebook that we have seen, have come from authors who have used their page to promote a string of events, or have worked with other organisations (such as libraries, cafes or bookstores) in joint promotions.
LinkedIn is a place for a professional profile. You can fill in an online CV and build up a network of your professional contacts. It’s a helpful way keep people’s contact information and remember names.
If you haven’t got a profile already we recommend that you take a look. Don’t forget to add a link to your blog on your LinkedIn profile page. For more ways how you can use LinkedIn as a writer, read our article.
Tips on social networking
Here are (in our opinion) the most important rules to follow when it comes to using social networking in a promotional/marketing context:
Always follow the rules – check to see if the admins of certain groups or forums say that you should post about certain topics in certain places. If you follow the rules, then your post won’t be removed unnecessarily.
Make sure it’s relevant – if what you are saying is not relevant to the rest of the group then people are likely to get annoyed, and also it’s a waste of your time as no one will pay much attention.
Avoid excessive self-promotion – see above. Try and link your posts to something that is of more general interest (not just about you) and people are more likely to take an interest in you too.
Apply the ‘Would you say this to someone’s face?’ test – that usually rules out anything too inappropriate or spammy! If you wouldn’t say it in a conversation, then think twice about posting it in a forum.