Wednesday, October 16, 2013

#WWoW!: Using Social Media Properly And Not Be Labeled a Spammer Part II #MyWANA

Welcome to Tammy’s Tidbits here at Writer’s Words of Wisdom, WWoW for short. Ever since Paloma Beck came up with the idea, a group of us have been sharing bits and pieces of wisdom we’ve accumulated along our own journeys to become published authors. We may have different experiences and opinions on what worked for us individually, but we do agree on one thing—our need to continue sharing what we’ve learned with fellow authors. 

This week, I’d like to expand a bit on my post from last week. I shared Kristen Lamb’s book Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World. The biggest lesson to learn from that book is social media should be first and foremost SOCIAL. You make connections on those sites by being personable and sharing a bit of yourself to make people WANT to get to know you. If they like you, they’re more than willing to take a look at your books and you never have to ask them. They’ll do it because they want to. If they like it, they’ll tell many more of their friends, and so on and so on.  As authors, our best form of promotion is word of mouth.

The Dark Side of Social Media

As much as this can make your career, it can just as easily break it.  You’ll become a nuisance if you start filling up your Facebook pages and Twitter feeds with nothing but promotions and posts that scream:
“Buy Me!”
“Like my page!”
“Here’s a copy of my book, now write a review.”
“I liked your page so here’s mine…”
“Please RT my book link. I need more reviews.”

Don’t get me started on the automatic response messages as soon as someone actually does like your pages or follow you on Twitter! Those are so annoying and impersonal. It basically tells the recipient that you’re way too busy to actually chat with them or comment on any of their posts. If you’re too busy for them, what makes you think they’d be willing to take time out of their busy day to do what you demand of them? 

So what do you do when you have very little time in the day to make your presence known on all your social media sites? 

There are some programs that can help you such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Triberr. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage of them all is they enable you to schedule a ton of posts ahead of time, around the clock, giving the illusion you’re present when in actuality it’s just empty words.

The only way you can connect with authors, readers, publishers and anyone else you wish to “meet,” is to be PRESENT. I’m not saying you need to be there 24/7, but the time you are there, make it count. Comment on posts and tweets before you share them. Comment on things that have nothing to do with books or publishing.  Show people you have other interests that make you a real person to them. 

I’ve bonded with others online over my crafts and cooking. These very same people have gone out and purchased every single one of my books so far and we’ve never talked about them at all. They were interested in me personally, so they made the extra effort to read my books.  Now they’re my biggest fans and cheerleaders and I do the same for them. 

What about support groups? 

There are a ton of them out there and it’s just so easy to join them all and worry about how you’ll participate in all of them later. The BIGGEST mistake you can make is to set up your promotional posts to go into all the groups at the same time. Not only do you run the risk of breaking the rules of when you’re allowed to post promotional material, you will tick off the people in the group you’re trying to connect with in the first place.  

Trust me, I just spent the end of last week trying to be peacemaker between two groups of author friends who were at war with each other because of this sort of “spamming.”  The sad part about the whole thing, all of it could've been avoided if a couple people took the time to read the rules against posting promotions. These same people belonged to so many groups, they used Hootsuite to set up automatic promotional posts in every single one of them. It's no wonder they didn't remember violating any rules. They didn't even remember joining in the first place!

Do yourself a favor and keep the number of groups you join to a few you know you’ll be able to be an active participant and can follow the rules of what sort of discussions are allowed. You never know who may be watching you. If you behave badly, the members of one group are sure to talk to members of other groups. Before you know it, you’re persona non grata. 

Overall, use social media to socialize with others. Build up connections and friendships with people. These folks will in turn tell the world about you and your books all based on how you treat them. If you’re personable and show people you’re real and care about them, they’ll sing your praises. If you flood their inboxes with buy me links, and take over their personal social media space to proclaim your new release, you’re going to be labeled as rude and yet another author behaving badly.

So go on! Meet and mingle on Facebook and Twitter. Join a few Yahoo groups and be active in them. Follow all the rules and guidelines for each group you join and NEVER, EVER forgo sending personalized responses in favor of the impersonal automatic message.  Above all else, don’t spend so much time on these social sites or setting up promotions that you forget to do the most important thing of all—your writing!

Until next week,

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

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