Cyndy Aleo

Four Little Bees Writing & Editing

author, freelance writing, editing, and a little bit of web development, helping clients with content development, book editing, and blog set-up and customization

Let me explain you a thing: Social media is supposed to be social

Lauren Dane had a great series of tweets today about using social media.

Unfortunately, the audience for those tweets probably has no idea what she said. The reason? They aren’t using social media as a social platform.

At some point in the past few years, the idea of social media became “a new way to sell things.” And the people who’ve been using social media for ages pretty much said “Yeah, not happening here.”

As Dane pointed out, you can have a million followers. And you can tweet or post or tumble to that audience all damn day.

And odds are, you won’t make a single sale unless you do the most important thing: ENGAGE.

There’s this propensity in the writerly world to think more followers means more sales. And then you have the circles of authors who all retweet and repost items for each other until it’s a giant echo chamber of noise. The thing is? I haven’t seen most of those things work in the long run.

However, you can have a small but loyal group of followers who will move heaven and earth to sell things for you… if you engage. Do I retweet friends’ books? Absolutely. But I also talk to people and answer questions and post articles I think are relevant. My tumblr has writing stuff and music I love and fun things I see along the way. My Facebook author page has information about how to buy my books, but I also post interesting links and questions I think might interest people who are interested in my books. And my Twitter is a non-stop access to my brain, Being John Malkovich style, with an occasional pimp of my stuff or friends’ stuff.

But the biggest help to me is that I had my network established long before I had a book to sell. I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for nearly as long as you COULD be on them as the general public. I’ve been on Goodreads for two years as a reviewer and librarian. I’ve been on tumblr reblogging fandom things and gender politics for ages as well.

In other words, I pretty much already had people who liked ME, so odds are, they might like what else I’m writing.

The time to establish yourself on social media is NOW. Not when you sign a book contract or when your book is out. RIGHT NOW. And don’t just sell. People will unfollow you, even your friends. Trust me. The perfect example was Tahereh Mafi, who was very active on social media long before anyone knew she had a book. And even now, 99% of here social media presence has NOTHING TO DO WITH HER BOOKS. Just be YOU and be SOCIAL. Not salesy. You’ll do a lot better. And maybe make more sales.