Social Media Blah Blah

Anil Tortop

“Standing out” on social media as an author seems a bit overrated to me. It’s a huge effort to be active out there:

  • Have a Facebook account for your friends.
  • Have a Facebook author/artist page for your audience.
  • Have a Facebook page for each book.
  • Have a Facebook group for your support group.
  • Join writing and publishing groups on Facebook.
  • Have a Twitter account.
  • Have another Twitter account just for one of your books or characters.
  • Use #hashtags.
  • Repeat your posts.
  • Follow trending topics.
  • Post about trending topics.
  • Have a blog.
  • Share your blog.
  • Make blog tours.
  • Post that you “revealed your latest book cover on your blog”—don’t show the cover, though; make people go to your website to see that. (Clickbait genius!)
  • Have an Instagram account.
  • Use Pinterest for inspiration.
  • Connect with professionals on LinkedIn.
  • Setup a YouTube channel.
  • Publish videos of yourself.
  • Make live videos of yourself with Periscope.
  • Show your craft on all of these accounts.
  • Engage with others.
  • Repeat your posts.
  • Show yourself—I mean your face.
  • Thank people when they follow you for following you.
  • Follow back those who follow you.
  • Follow publishers; join their conversations.
  • Don’t you have a Google Plus account? Join immediately.
  • Repeat your posts.
  • Do challenges.
  • Post 20% about your craft, 80% about other stuff.
  • Join Snapchat if your audience is young.
  • Don’t you have a Vine account? How come? Set one up now!
  • Repeat your posts.
  • Smile, be positive, be kind.
  • Give away your books for retweets.
  • Connect Facebook and Twitter to each other.
  • Connect Instagram and Facebook to each other.
  • Connect Twitter and Instagram to each other.
  • Do “Follow Fridays” #FF.
  • Use Hootsuite, Buffer, Klout and Audisense for monitoring and scheduling, all at the same time.
  • Keep an eye on your follower rate. Follow fewer people than your follower count. Be cool.
  • Repeat your posts.
  • “Promote” your posts.
  • Tag people in your Facebook posts.

And the list goes on and on…

Do we really stand out when we do all of these?

Is it possible to stand out when everyone is following the same advice? I can name many authors/illustrators (But I will not!) following the steps above, even though they don’t enjoy it. They find it overwhelming but do it anyway—just because they think these things will make them stand out. This doesn’t feel right to me.

On social media, we are not just usernames.

We are not brands behind our profile pictures. We are, well, us. Everyone is unique. Like in the real world. Forget the guidelines and just be yourself. Don’t follow someone else’s “blah blah” on social media, not even this one, unless it resonates with you:

  • Enjoy social media. It’s not about promoting your work. It’s about reading, learning, and sharing.
  • Don’t use every social media channel on the planet. You don’t have to.
  • Don’t spam people. I mean, don’t share same stuff over and over again, or tag unrelated friends, or use a million hashtags.

Yes, this is my little list. Only three rules. But of course I am not saying that what I am doing is what you should follow. (I am not standing out myself!) Just remember that you don’t have to follow “guidelines” and push too hard to stand out. You don’t have to be more active than other millions of very active creators. And remember, you don’t even have to use any social media if you don’t enjoy it.

After all, your craft is what should stand out, no matter on which platform, online or offline. Focus on improving it. Be good at whatever you are doing. If you are already good, be better. Then find your little place to show your amazing work. People will handle the rest for you.


 

* This post is a personal opinion on social media. This is how I feel about it. If you want to read a professional post about social media for authors, read this one. Guy Kawasaki is a well-known marketing executive. But I strongly disagree with many of his ideas. Such as, Repeat your posts. I repeat my tweets four times every eight hours. Yes, that’s why I don’t follow him. I don’t need unwanted TV-commercial-type posts on my timeline. I want good content. Nothing more.

Showing 5 comments
  • Sally Fawcett
    Reply

    Love this and agree totally.

  • Tamara
    Reply

    Wow… reading your list of all the things we ‘should’ be doing makes me feel exhausted..! Thanks for sharing your thoughts… I think it helps give the rest of us a sense of being able exhale…

  • Dimity Powell
    Reply

    Illuminating. You sum it up beautifully, Anil. 🙂

  • Sandy Fussell
    Reply

    So brilliant. Breathed a sigh of relief that I ticked under half the boxes – although I admit I do love playing around on Twitter – where I always find interesting stuff to read and where – like this!

  • Alexandra MacVean
    Reply

    I personally only use Instagram and my Facebook page full-time. I’ve tried Twitter and it just doesn’t work for me. I still post there 1-2x a week but not daily like I do IG and FB. IG allows me to push my posts to FB, so it eliminates a step for me when sharing news or art with my lovely followers. I’m now at over 15,000 followers on FB and almost 4,000 on IG. I LOVE what I do and try to remember to share a part of who I am as an individual and not just as an artist. People LOVE this. 🙂

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