10 Rules for Social Networking by Barbara Joe Williams

Barbara Joe WilliamsI believe in guerilla marketing techniques, but some authors go too far when it comes to social media. There’s a thin line between promoting and spamming that authors need to be aware of as well as a few guidelines to follow. You will have to decide for yourself how far you’re willing to go for a book sale. Your reputation is the most valuable thing you can have as an author and a publisher, you don’t want to do anything to tarnish it.

The top ten rules for social networking for authors are:

(1) Authenticity. You don’t have to share all of your personal business on social media, but let readers know that you’re human, too. Be yourself and enjoy yourself. Letting them know who and what you’re reading can be beneficial. If they see you as a reader, too, they’re more likely to support you as an author.

(2) Connection. You want to connect as well as interact with people. Constantly asking followers to “buy, buy, buy” is a “lose, lose, lose” situation. Writing and sharing useful information is a win. It only takes a minute to update your Facebook/Twitter feed while you’re on the move.

(3) Consistency. If you’re trying to promote a business on one page and you have inappropriate photos (i.e. topless poses or booty shots) on your personal page, it could give an interested client or reader the wrong impression about you. Remember, once they search for your name, both sites can be viewed.

(4) Permission. A lot of authors/readers are starting their own groups (and conversations) on Facebook. However, make sure you ask for permission before adding anyone to yours. I like being involved in various activities, but it’s irritating when I start receiving messages from groups I’ve been added to without my knowledge.

(5) Positive. Keeping it positive will keep you in the spotlight and keep your friends coming back for more. People are looking for positive affirmations on a daily basis not negativity. Readers will be drawn to your page once you are identified as a peaceful positive person (PPP).

(6) Profanity. Using profanity is very unprofessional on all social media outlets and could be considered offensive to some of your followers. If you want to be taken seriously as an author and publisher, you should refrain from using any form of profanity, even on your personal page.

(7) Spamming. Posting an advertisement for your published product on someone’s page without prior consent is considered spamming. This could be a fast way to “turn-off’” future readers. Regardless of how good you think your book is, no one likes to be spammed.

(8) Tagging. Be careful about tagging people in pictures in which they don’t even appear just to promote your product. If you have them mentioned in an article or somewhere in your book, they shouldn’t mind. But just tagging for publicity is unacceptable in most cases.

(9) Targeting. Using social media is an excellent way to target your likely readers. For example, if you’re a romance author, you should join romance book clubs (and groups) and start interacting with other lovers of this genre. Once they realize you’re a published author, they will be even more interested.

(10) Videos. Most people are very visual and enjoy seeing pictures and videos of their favorite authors. You should consider posting video clips from appearances on your personal or fan page, but remember to keep them timed at a minimum for maximum appeal.

Keep all of these in mind, and you’re on your way to becoming a social media ninja. You will be amazed at how your book sales will soar.

Barbara Joe Williams

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