Keep “Social” in Media

shaking_hands_clip_art_17337    Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads and other social media provide opportunities to netweork and connect people with like interests. We are drawn to people with similar passions whether our pleasure is golfing, sports, cooking, animals, charities, yoga, reading or writing. Establishing a group of followers is the first step in a faithful relationship to exchange ideas and information.

Unfortunately many on Facebook and Twitter forget the purpose of networking and try to use the media to push their product down their followers throats. Everyother post is “Buy my book!” Remember, the best promotion is word of mouth, and that’s not my mouth or yours. It’s other people talking about your books, providing reviews, sharing your posts and pictures, and being a supportive friend. When I find someone who doesn’t know the meaning of social media, I send their posts to my spam file.

Since I’m a writer, I benefit from both readers and other writers because I learn from them both. I learn new techniques of writing, new genre, bloggers who provide excellent information, agents and editors whose posts help me to learn to be the best writer I can be no matter how many novels I’ve sold. From readers, I hear about books they’ve read and loved, I am touched by their compliments about my novels, and I hear what they like to read, their favorite settings and so much more.

So what can we do to use the social media well? Here are some practical tips on being a success on social media.

1. Short Posts – Twitter is a great site to help learn to find the shortest way to say a lot in only 140 spaces. Concise writing takes work. Even though Facebook and other media offer more space be brief. If you have a long post on a blog (such as this one), send a few words and the link. Followers will appreciate reading the post when they have time. Remember shorter is better

2. Use A Variety of Topics – Posts can be about our passions, but also about a multiple of things that touch our lives. By our choice of posts, we show our followers and friends who we are. We validate our multiple interests. Share a funny incident in your life, promote your friends blog post, offer a thought for the day, a famous writer’s quote, marketing news, or a link to your latest blog post that might interest your followers. I send out Today’s Word with the definition and a comment or question each day. Once a week, I send info about my latest post on Writing Fiction.

3. Add Images – Photographs and cartoons catch most people’s eye. We view the photograph, read the caption and notice who sent it. Short and sweet. Your name will be seen without self-promotion which is a gracious way to show something of interest for others. You are sharing a lovely photograph or a cute saying on a placard.

4. Focus On Others – Share things of interest to your followers. Share their posts, retweet or favor their latest message, leave a comment. Remember their interests and send photos (animals, scenery, family) you think they will enjoy or share a recipe you made and found delicious. Take a photo of the dish and send it along.

5. Ask Questions – To stir your followers’ interests, give them something to think about. Ask if they’ve ever had a similar experience. Or what was their most embarrassing moment in public. Leave people with something meaningful and often fun. They will remember you.

6. Respond – Interact with your followers. Provide them with a link you shared some time ago they might have missed, read their comments and respond back. When reading their Facebook posts, leave a note or at least hit like. Let them know that they mean something to you just as friends do for each other. They will enjoy responding to you because they know you really care about them too. It’s give and take as all relationships are. Sharing and word of mouth are both important things to remember.

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