Earlier in the week, a blog about self promotion for writers made the rounds. It was titled “Please Shut Up: Why Self Promotion By an Author Doesn’t Work”. I’ll give you all a minute to read it. Go ahead, click over.
Are you back? OK, here’s my issue with the post.
Social media isn’t marketing. Sure, it can be used for marketing. But social media is a tool of engagement. Conversation. Connection.
Yes, Facebook tries to monetize. No, using Instagram may not lead to direct book sales. I know–Klout scores on Twitter don’t translate to your place on bestseller lists, would that they did. Goodreads is a place for readers, not necessarily for authors. Pinterest is a blast, but does anyone buy anything from it? You can use all of these tools, and they may not sell a book.
Frustrating isn’t it?
Or is it? Facebook is the grandfather of all of this, and it just turned ten years old. Ten. We are still at the beginning of all of this technology, and figuring out what it can do. And how best to use it. I am an early adopter, and have tried out most platforms. Some of them I like, others I don’t. But you’ll never hear me say “I don’t see the point of it.”
The point is to connect with like minded people. What connects you could be a friend, an interest, a passion, a complaint, a hobby, an election, a sports team, or an author. Different platforms foster those connections in different ways, but that’s the point.
Of course, you can use social media for marketing. But not for marketing alone. Think of it like a big cocktail party. You are talking to one person, and all they are doing is talking at you, about what they want to talk about. How fast do you run across the room? How about the person who asks about you, who has a few shared interests, who is pleasant to be around, and who you feel connected to?
Some of my thoughts on using social media well:
- Be kind as your default. Always.
- 90% of your use shouldn’t be about you at all. It should be sharing articles, supporting friends, having conversations, connecting. The other 10% can be a soft sell. But even that should be conversational.
- Never beg for sales, for likes, for shares.
- Don’t push. (The point that I agreed with in that blog post.)
- If you don’t like a platform, don’t use it. There are a lot of choices out there, so there’s room for everyone.
- Remember, it isn’t all about you. Ever.
Social media is in its infancy. I think it’s wonderful, and helps keep me connected to a lot of people in my life. Some of them will buy my book, but most of them won’t.
And that’s fine.