"Facebook is where you lie to your friends. Twitter is where you’re honest with complete strangers." Scott Levy /FuelInternetMarketing and @FuelOnline "Social Media" is the generalized term used for all online chat/messaging/video communication, but not everyone is social in the same way. Facebook and Twitter are amazing communication tools for building a tribe for entrepreneurial authors, and each platform has a unique language and set of tools for success.
Before an author can use either effectively, the platform, message and purpose must be clearly established. If you write, publish and wish to promote your historical fiction novels, for example, you wouldn't tweet about the sci-fi mystery you just read. Similarly, if you write YA romance novels, you wouldn't post pictures of your trip to Washington D.C. with your in-laws on your Facebook page. The sci-fi mystery and Capital trip are best left to your personal social media accounts.
Whichever social media you use (preferably both) blatant self promotion will quickly get you "unfollow"ed! Stay true to your message and be consistent with your posts, and your subscribers and followers will know what to expect, and expect even more. Isn't that what every author wants...a ravenous audience for her work?!
- Facebook uses tags, photos, links and video to share "stories" with friends and subscribers. Status updates are called "stories," and should be thought of as such - short stories containing useful information for your subscribers. Two to three posts per day with anywhere from one sentence to two paragraphs each is an acceptable amount of interaction with subscribers to your page. The information should be in some way interactive with your audience. The more you ask your readers to interact, the more they will come back for more, and your list of fans and readers will build. You can even set up your facebook account to automatically feed to your twitter account, which brings your twitter followers back to your facebook page. Just remember the difference in tone between the two social media audiences, and be sure the first 140 characters of your facebook posts grab the reader to help them make the decision to click on the link.
- Twitter can be more difficult for many writers, because it forces them to edit themselves. No longer can we be verbose and completely descriptive. 140 characters wouldn't even contain most of the sentences in a fiction novel, but Twitter is probably the best preparation for anyone wishing to become an indie author in the digital age. No pictures or videos can be shared except through links, and mini links are preferred. Twitter will shorten full links in a post, but many savvy twitter users employ the help of services like Tinyurl.com to help them gain back some characters. Double or even triple the number of tweets over facebook posts are acceptable, and the wittier the better. Again interactive is better, but often tweeting the work, blogs and quotes of others is most popular amongst followers. Karma, people - what you put out comes back to you! Services like Buffer or TweetDeck help manage the stream of information available on this fast paced, busy social media platform.
Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
Say Bump and Take a Left
A recent post from Stephanie Chandler on why she doesn’t send promotional blasts to her email list, sparked a realization: To have successful online communications in the social media arena, we really need to use the same regard as when talking to people in-person.
Sales Blasts. When chatting with a friend or relative, or even meeting someone new, would you consider starting every conversation with a sales pitch? Some people do. I’ve met them in the mall. Even if they don’t begin the conversation trying to sell me something, it’s pretty obvious where the conversation is headed after the “fake” one-liners that try to sound like genuine interest. Most people are turned off by this approach, but many forget it’s just as annoying to their social media followers to see a constant stream of messages selling a product or service.
Remaining Impersonal. Although it’s impossible to become chummy with everyone we meet online, the basic social media rules do suggest opening ourselves up now and then and revealing our personal lives, thoughts, fears, or challenges we’ve overcome. The online world is inherently impersonal, yet we all hunger for human connections and feeling like we’re not alone in our life experiences. Opening up seems easier one-on-one with our personal contacts, but we can also reap the benefits of sharing our humanity with our online contacts, too.
Engaging with Others. Putting yourself out there then leads to responding to others. You wouldn’t ignore someone when communicating in person; so if someone is reaching out to you online ~ or you feel someone has written something of interest to you ~ comment, reply, or send a personal message. Social Media interaction benefits you as much as it does the receiver. As long as it’s genuine and isn’t communicated with an ulterior motive - like a sales pitch - your message will resonate with your audience.
Do you agree? Do you find success online by using similar communication styles as you do with people in-person? How is it different? We’d love to hear from you.
Help Me Self Publish
The HMSP team launched our website before creating our Facebook and Twitter presence. Although we were fortunate enough to buy the Help Me Self Publish domain name, we didn’t originally plan on marketing the name beyond it being a great obvious search result. Since Mary’s company, MommyLoves, owns the site, we thought it made more sense for us to have a name that related, especially for anyone linking to us from MommyLoves. So, we chose ML Self Publishing for MommyLoves Self Publishing. We found this beautiful photo of a bridge and our tagline was born: Guiding you over the bridge to Self Publishing.
Then we created our Facebook page. On Facebook and then Twitter, focusing on the Help Me Self Publish brand and bolder colors, made more sense. It would be easier for people to find us. (Why would they be looking for ML Self Publishing?) And the bridge didn’t make sense when we didn’t have the luxury of an entire web page to introduce our services. The photo of a book and our more succinct message, "Publish Your Book on Your Own Terms,"* seemed more appropriate.
And it worked. Our main communications were coming from Facebook and our Twitter followers grew, so initially more people were interacting with us via social media, then by our website.
But, we had a problem. When you clicked to our site from Facebook or Twitter, it looked like a different company. Our brands didn’t match.
How do you marry two different themes? First, if you have two different names as we did, you have to choose one and go from there. So, we decided to go solely with Help Me Self Publish and leverage the name and it’s searchability, as well as the branding we had already created via Facebook and Twitter. But, we didn’t want to completely lose the bridge theme, as we had named our blog, “Crossing the Bridge.” and believe that authors truly "Cross Over" when they self publish. By removing the bridge photo from our title/header image and simply using it within our main introduction paragraph and our ID along the bottom, we were able to utilize the bridge, without compromising the consistency of our image.
The lesson: In order to properly brand any product (even if that product is you), make certain that brand (your name, theme, color-scheme, and image) is consistent everywhere it’s seen.
*Since it's original posting, we have simplified our tagline even further to: "Your Story on Your Terms."
Help Me Self Publish