So what constitutes using it effectively?
To boil it down, there is one simple rule for self-published authors to live by…
Interacting and responding to online conversation is what puts the social in social media!
But how can we possibly find the time to reply and comment to every social media mention we get, every blog post comment that we receive and to continue the conversation in other places online?
Especially when you consider all of the other writing and marketing activities we’re expected to do?
We all have certain time constraints, but there is a not-so-difficult answer.
Go deep or go home!
Rather than spreading ourselves super duper thin trying to do everything and trying to be everywhere all at once, we can actually spend just as much and energy going deeper in fewer places and be more effective.
We’ve got to get engaged
There’s really not much point being on social media UNLESS you carry on a conversation and create relationships. I wouldn’t recommend spending your time trying to be everywhere all at once or trying to talk to everyone. It’s much better to spend your time interacting with a smaller group of people on a more meaningful level. 300 solid relationships will take you a lot further than 10,000 weak ones.
These are the kinds of relationships that lead to spreading the word about your book in a way that people who barely know you just won’t.
Developing relationships and continuing conversation is where the beauty and effectiveness of social media really lies.
Back to those time constraints… here are eight actionable tips to make commenting and carrying on conversation on social media that little bit easier:
1. It’s not about saying ‘Buy my book’; ‘Look at this review about my book; ‘Here’s why you’d like my book’. Check out ALLi guide to reaching readers without self-promotion first.
2. Choose one or two social network sites you like and stick with them. We all naturally gravitate towards one social network more than another depending on our personality and goals. Don’t spread yourself thin by joining every social network out there and struggling to keep up – stick to one or two and commit.
3. Make use of an RSS reader. Cherry-pick a handful of sites that you wish to comment on daily or weekly, and add their RSS feed to an online reader (I like to use Google Reader). This way you can keep up with new blog posts in one place, without having to visit each site individually. You can then set time aside each day to comment each time a new post is published.
4. Subscribe to the comments of posts you have commented on and revisit them to continue the conversation. You can also subscribe to the comments of guest posts you have written, so that you can regularly return and reply to any new comments that come in.
5. Be aware of the time you spend on social media by following a strategy. Strategies can help you to avoid the social media time-suck, as well as making sure that your time is EFFECTIVE not just ACTIVE. As an example, here’s my strategy for using Twitter in just 10 minutes a day.
6. Make a habit of checking your @mentions or Facebook page once a day and reply to any comments.
7. Encourage conversation by asking questions on social media and at the end of your blog posts. Try to ask questions that require one word answers rather than long, drawn-out replies and you’ll see an increase in the number of people leaving a comment.
8. Create Twitter lists to make Twitter more manageable. When you start following more than a couple of hundred people on Twitter, it becomes impossible to keep up with everyone’s tweets and can start to feel very overwhelming. Twitter lists are a great way to ensure that you’re keeping up with the people you want to hear from, and allows you to reply and re-tweet to their tweets on a regular basis.
Finally, it’s always easier to learn by example rather than theory. Here are some writers/ online folk who are extremely natural and consistent with their commenting and online conversation. Check them out for inspiration!
Qu: Which author do you think is doing a great job with continuing conversation on social media? I’d love to know – leave a comment!
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Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books, an award-winning book studio that provides book marketing tools and resources for authors wanting to find more readers. Her latest projects include Authorlicious, a website theme built for authors, and the eBook 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book. Say hi @LauraPepWu!