Get social on social media, writers!

Okay, writers... we've been told over and over about social media and how it can help us, right? Whether you're an aspiring author or an old hat in the business -  we all need to use as many social media outlets as we can handle.  Geez, there are so many! Facebook, Twitter, Vines, Tumbler, YouTube, Pinterest....and a few I have no knowledge of. The point of social media is to reach readers, make contacts in the business, and over all to get your name out there.

If that is all true, I see many authors that are missing some opportunities because they have fallen prey to the "easy path" on social media. Let's talk about auto tweets. Yes, this is an amazing time saver. It's handy if you're at your day job all day and need to schedule tweets/posts for you while you're busy bringing home the bacon. But what about content? Sure, you're putting out a tweet and might even get a few retweets. But are you saying anything worth a conversation? Imagine this, imagine you went to a party full of party-goers. However, a few of the party animals did not come to drink a few and get to know you but they walk around and invade every conversation with, "I'm an author and you should buy my book!" The first few times, it might be interesting. Some people might find this declaration of their accomplishments worth listening to. But by the fifth announcement, it gets old. People start to avoid these party goers at all costs. Don't be that person. Post links, yes. But take the time to comment on other things that have nothing to do with your books or your writing. That's how you meet new people and make connections.

Let's talk specifically about Twitter hashtags. Oh these little beauties are an incredible boon at anyone wanting to meet new people. Imagine you're at that party again, you have a drink in one hand and are surrounded by friendly faces. Around this very big room are big signs. Written on these signs are interesting topics. Not all of them appeal to you personally but some do. So you choose the sign that has something particularly interesting on it and you head for that one. Standing beneath said sign are dozens of people excitedly talking about that topic. You jump right in and everyone greets your input with enthusiasm and debate. That makes for  a great party! This is what using hashtags is all about - using them to have a discussion. I have seen authors use the #amwriting hashtag and #FridayReads a lot. Those are fabulous! Have you considered using others? What about what's trending? I can't tell you how many times I have used a trending hashtag, had conversations with people, and ended up walking away with 10 or more new followers.  Those are new people to talk and market to! Take the time to use these little gems for more than just decorations to your tweets.

Love it or hate it, Facebook is the number one social media tool that has perfected the art of getting information in front of millions of people. If you have a page on Facebook, you've seen the dramatic drop in post views and reach. It's a dog eat dog world and Facebook is still a business. That's why I will pay to promote an occasional post from my author page that contains links and information. As far as paying someone to market for me, Facebook made it as easy as possible and I don't mind at all. But again with the book buy links and empty content! Post things people want to comment on. Have a Q & A where you ask where everyone was born. Ask them where they met their spouse. Ask them if they have pets. Gosh, anything works really. But you are showing an interest in your fans and that will ingratiate you to them.

One more thing - If you must schedule tweets/posts to social media, change them up a little. If you schedule the same thing every week, you become predictable. Predictable is boring.  Post random things every now and again. Images are a fun tool because you can pack a lot of information into an image that is easy to share and quick for people to read over. Okay, enough yapping. I need to get back to Twitter...erm.... I mean cooking dinner.