Social Networks – Tips & Tricks for writers
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This another boring article about things everybody knows. Sometimes, self-sufficiency makes us ignore the changes in functionalities or algorithms of various social networks. Is back to basics, one-on-one communication. Even the marketing automation tools are aiming to a personalized experience for every potential client / reader.
Theory: there is not much to say about Facebook. Everybody already knows most of the functions.
Reality: the techniques used by Facebook marketers require dedication, hard work and continuous learning. I strongly recommend taking an online course – I can advise you on some or you can select from the results of an online search.
You need people to have a certain mindset in order for them to act and react to your content. Respect, likability, trust are some of the currencies used in social media nowadays. And if you want results, you have to pay.
Treat Facebook as more than the extension of your persona. It is also your place of business. And do not have unrealistic expectations. Your friends are part of your marketing team, but do not expect them to share all your posts or be 100% involved in supporting you. It is great if most of them just like your posts. At least, you are receiving the digital body language for “I acknowledge you are my friend.”
Remember, sharing a post is a social behavior, it requires cognitive effort – and even some of your best friends might not be inclined to act.
You could make the same mistake I made. I did ask some of my friends: “I’ve noticed you liked my post, the one that announced my new book and the Amazon link. Why didn’t you share it?”
The answers varied: “You didn’t mention that you wanted this.”, “I didn’t have the time.”, “I was on my phone in a hurry.”, etc.
At first I was upset and disheartened. But, after getting a reality-check feedback – “It wasn’t something I wanted to share with my friends” – I began to realize that there is much more to this than a simple “I am using Facebook to have a meaningful relationship with my friends”.
A Facebook friend might behave completely different from the way she/he behaves in real life. We relate a share on our wall with the amount of social recognition we think we will get from displaying the message.
You might need to post articles that will determine your Facebook friends to share – sometimes, just because it makes them look smarter. I’m still working on finding the right motivational tool for it.
The stages for building your relationship with the Facebook ecosystem I defined are:
- Walking in – you understand how Facebook works on a basic level
- Making one’s acquaintance – you add the people you know as friends: close and not so close friends, your email list
- Connecting – you expand your network by adding like-minded people with which you have shared interests or which you think might be useful for future developments. If you have the opportunity to meet them in real life, take it.
- Increasing visibility – you get noticed as a result of sharing quality and interesting content, yours or others.
- Launching products – the phase when you can ask your friends to share a link to your published material, article or book. Do not get frustrated if you ask and you get no reply or a refusal – remember, there are many behavioral reasons that prevent us from following up on a request. Just persevere – in time, you will fill an attention slot in the people’s mind that find your work beneficial. Also, it is better to ask first people with which you have already exchanged some private messages and ideas, because that stands for an unwritten mutual support deal.
- Entering the spotlight – you switch from being a writer to being a social media manager. Keep your Facebook page (or other social media pages) open at all times and try to find the right, balanced amount of content to be published. Be careful, you do not want to become a spammer.
- Paying it forward – be grateful for the time and attention people offer you. And do not forget to offer something in return. Like and share other people’s posts. Say thank you with a personal message. Yes. Individual messages. If 1000 friends share a link to your book, write 1000 private messages to thank them.
Tips & Tricks
- Be an exemplary friend. LIKE it’s not enough! SHARE!
- Do not underestimate Facebook Ads. Use it.
- Publish mixed content posts. Text, image, link. If you have the talent – videos.
- Some of the main reasons people make the effort of sharing a Facebook post are: social recognition, the opportunity to win a contest, the need to help a Facebook friend.
- Facebook is just a gate. Your website is the destination.
The universe of social networks is becoming more and more complex each day. If you are relatively new at using any of them for business purposes, start small, with actions that fit your skills.
You can use any, if not all of them: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram (stories), Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, Vine, Xanga, Quora, TikTok, etc. There are tens of them now. Just be careful – you only have so much “fuel” for creating original social media content. Focus on those that have return on time investment – those that redirect people to your website and convert them to actual readers.
Goodreads and/vs. Amazon
Goodreads is a dedicated social platform, built for writers and readers. What I liked most about it were the reviews I got – most of them were constructive, pointing out real flaws. I did not get the same benefit out of Amazon reviews – there is also a drawback, since the opinions there might influence the buying decision of another potential reader.
Tips & Tricks
Review Groups – you will get original insights on your writing; this way, you will know if your book needs more work. The reviews will get posted on Amazon too. You can find a sample here – they are good reviews but they are also pointing out what is missing or needs improvement: The Baroness’s Heart.
While Amazon helps you add up to your online presence with the Author Page, I find Goodreads to be a cozier place, more supportive with active groups and avid readers. There are a number of useful ways to promote your books with the Goodreads Author Program.
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