Should I be on Twitter? Should I be on Facebook? Should I have a blog or website?
The answer is yes, yes, and yes.
To that end, here are my top 10 tips for authors on social media, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and branding.
1) Q: How do I keep up with the insane amount of tweets?
A: Don’t. It’s impossible. Instead, create LISTS (think filters), whereby you add people as you follow them to a list. This creates an automatic filter, if you will, and allows you to focus only on those people you want to pay attention to. Twitter allows 20 lists, 500/list. What’s great is you don’t have to follow all those people, either. So that’s potentially 10K people you can list. UPDATE: You can now have up to 1,000 lists! That’s insane. I still recommend no more than 20 lists.
2) Q: How do I sell my book on Twitter?
A: Again, don’t. Twitter is a wonderful marketing opportunity, in which you connect with people directly, provide info/resources on topics you’re interested in or write about, and yes, some promotion. Focus more on building relationships as opposed to the hard sell.
3) Q: What are memes? And how do you say the word?
A: Memes, in its basic form, means theme (and to answer the second question, rhymes with theme, also). Familiar with the Ryan Gosling ‘Hey girl!’ pictures? Or the Extraordinary Good-Looking Man? How about Grumpy Cat?
Things like that. Memes are an easy way for people to share and build upon a word or phrase, a picture, really any media that can be shared. Memes are typically shared on Twitter using the # sign (called a hashtag). By adding the # sign, you create a hyperlink, so anyone who is looking for a particular word or phrase (i.e., #authors, #amwriting, #amreading), will make your tweet more visible in Search.
You can also participate in memes like #MondayBlogs (share your blog on Mondays, RT others), #WW (Writer Wednesday) or #FF (FollowFriday). All are pertinent to both authors and bloggers.
Books by Rachel Thompson
4) Q: Do I need both a personal account and a page, and what’s the difference? I’m so busy!
A: I know, it’s a bummer but YES, if you’re selling anything (book, service, charitable donations, etc), you must have a page according to Facebook guidelines. The difference is that your personal account requires you accept ‘friend requests,’ whereas your page requires people ‘like’ you. Very different.
5) Q: How do I make the time to post to both Twitter and Facebook? I’m too busy writing!
A: I recommend a desktop manager called Hootsuite. There are several out there (TweetDeck, Buffer) but I prefer Hootsuite because I like the ease of use, the set up, and that it will schedule tweets and shares on multiple networks.
6) Q: Do I need to blog? I’m so busy with my writing.
A: Absolutely! This goes to your relationship-building, branding, and providing info/resources. Think about the Rule of Three: spend one-third of your time writing, one-third marketing (online, social media, blogging, etc), and the other third promoting and interacting with others. Blogging allows you to do all three. It’s truly an indispensable tool for any author.
7) Q: What’s website optimization and do I need to worry about it?
A: No, you don’t need to worry about it but yes, it’s an essential part of your platform. Optimization means using the best keywords that relate to your branding, and making sure you use things like tags, categories, social media buttons, color story, and even headlines that pertain to your keywords. At the most basic level, think of optimization as making you as visibile as possible!
8) Q: Branding confuses me. What’s it about and do I need to do it?
A: Yes. It’s critical. But it’s not painful or scary. The good news is you’re probably already doing it without realizing it. What are you passionate about? Write about that!
Branding, at its most basic definition, is conveying the theme of your book. Let’s say you’re writing a book about ice cream. So, anything you do having to do with ice cream creates a theme: your website/blog look (aka theme), color story, graphics, cover art, favicon (the little thingy on the tab of your URL), your book title, what you blog about, discuss on social media…on and on. You want to become the person known as The Ice Cream Girl (or Guy). There should be no question what your vision is. *That’s not to say you can’t discuss other things. Be authentic.
Also, and very important, brand the author not the book. Hopefully you’ll write more than one book, yes? So, use your own name wherever possible (ie, Twitter, Facebook, domain for your website/blog).
9) Q: What do I say I do? Author? Blogger?
A: Nope. Sounds crazy, but don’t tell us who you are, tell us what you do. Verb it up! ie, my profile on Twitter could say ‘Author. Blogger. Author consultant.’ But it doesn’t. Not only is that a snore, it’s not very helpful or specific. Instead, I say this:
Fond of the soul’s dark places. & vodka.
#MondayBlogs every Monday! · bitly.com/BROKENPIECES
10) Q: What’s the one secret to having a bestselling book?
A: There’s no one thing that you can do, or for that matter, avoid (with the exception of spamming. Please, make it stop). There are MANY things that you can do or avoid. I provide you with what has worked (quite well) for me. Much of it is common sense. Some of it isn’t. You have to try different things and see what works best for you.
Rachel Thompson is the author of Mancode:Exposed, A Walk in the Snark, and her latest, Broken Pieces. Click here to visit Rachel’s website.