Indie author Sue Millard cautions authors against indiscriminate like-fests on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Instead, she recommends her own more effective technique for making the most of social media's marketing opportunities.
There are lots of Like-Fests happening on Facebook and Twitter this autumn. I have to admit I prefer Facebook, where I can let off steam in closed forums, to the relentlessly public Twittersphere. Both of their live feeds seem to me mostly endless streams of semi-consciousness, studded with occasional monuments to stupidity or with even rarer gems of wit.
I've been developing a strategy for getting the most out of the potential of social media that will, I hope, also stave off their potential for time-wasting irritation. It’s much too easy to spend hours every day submerged in the babble online instead of attending to my characters who should be emerging onto the pages of my next book.
My Social Media Strategy
The technique that is working best for me has been to link my Facebook profile to my Twitter one. I post on Facebook alternately as my personal profile and as my author page and both feed into Twitter. I also feed Facebook from my blog; when a post goes live I link it through to Facebook, and that then feeds into Twitter with a shortened URL to fit into its 140 character limit.
I have noticed that if sales on Amazon have gone quiet, a blog post will often start things off again.
Another point I should make is that I don’t try to be likeable any more. I just post what is rattling my cage, whether with joy or fury. Getting people to take notice is the main thing. Take “as read” the Wildean quotations, please.
Dealing with the Dislikes
First, I've decided I won't Friend people willy-nilly, not even if I have joined one of the Facebook love-ins. I just want to be offered an author page or a business page that I can Like. Occasionally, if people send a private message and I find their interests are similar to mine, I will Friend them or Follow on Twitter. Otherwise, no. I'm not that promiscuous.
Second, when I read a page profile — or whatever you like to call the text that will appear automatically next to the URL link to a Facebook page — I will filter it out if any of the following conditions are true:
- The writer can't spell, or deliberately spells in an arbitrary or Txt Spk manner.
- The sentences don't make sense or the writer has committed typos such as “which” for “while” and not bothered to correct them.
- The writer starts with the words “I was born…” and continues with personal, family and geographical history that should be on a personal page.
- The writer’s chosen writing themes are erotica, same-sex romance/erotica, paranormal, vampire/werewolf fantasy, politics, religion, gossip/celebrities, personal angst (including some poetry), horror or sci-fi.
- The writing reveals a sloppy-thinking, careless, inexpert or poor storyteller.
Any of these things mean that I will not Like that page.
Such writers may connect with lots of other people who will Like their pages for (or in spite of) the above points, but these, specifically, are not my bag. Probably the people who enjoy my writing won't follow them. I suspect the reverse may also be true, so why should we exchange Likes in a pointless manner?
Loving the Likes
I will usually Like or Follow authors of non-fiction, because they have to have done their homework thoroughly before they got going and they can't rely on glitz to carry them through. I do like an expert.
In fiction, I will Like or Follow writers of novels, short stories, historical fiction (and I don't exclude romance unless it is modern chick lit in petticoats and breeches), literary fiction, most (but not all) equine, canine, feline or wildlife topics, adventure, humour, well-crafted crime/thrillers and well-crafted, thought-provoking poetry. I also Like or Follow artists, if I like the images they supply of their work. Oh, and editing and proofing services. Yes, this list is longer than the Dislikes – just.
Did I mention that I like an expert?
I don’t fret if this means that some of the other participants in a Like-Fest don’t reciprocate. The discrimination is meant to preserve my sanity. It's nothing personal.
Now, please excuse me while I go and do some writing.