Here’s how I think writers should behave when using social media; the golden rules that you should always remember if you want to make friends and influence people – and sell some books along the way!
1. It’s not all sell sell sell
Imagine if you met someone for the first time and the first thing they said to you was ‘Do you want to buy my book? Go on, it’s really cheap. Please. Go on, buy it. Buy it.’ What would you think of them? Firstly, that they were annoying. Secondly, that they must be a bit desperate. And the one thing that you wouldn’t do – unless you felt really sorry for them – would be to buy their book.
Social networking is all about building relationships. You need to get to know people first, let them get to know you. You are not a market trader standing on the street shouting at people. Of course, you need to let people know that you have something to sell – should they be in the market for something amazing – but you have to be a bit more subtle about it.
2. Be nice to everyone
This should probably be No.1, come to think of it. It’s vitally important that you don’t get into fights, have arguments or make enemies. The complete opposite, in fact. To be successful, you are going to need to make friends. I’m not talking about bosom buddies who will come to your daughter’s wedding. I’m talking about connections: people who will help you, maybe by recommending you to their own followers or to a useful contact, by sharing tips and advice, or maybe simply by being supportive and giving you a little boost when you’re having a bad day. And maybe, just maybe, they will buy whatever it is you’re selling.
The nice thing about social networking is that it’s a great leveller. You don’t have to be able to schmooze people at parties. You don’t have to be good-looking or naturally charismatic or be wearing expensive clothes. You can social network in your pyjamas, in bed. You can reinvent yourself – not by being fake but by emphasising your strong points. Be the best version of yourself you can be.
3. Be professional
Nobody likes an amateur. Or rather, nobody wants to do business with an amateur. This does not mean that you need to be a big brand – in fact, in many cases, being a down-to-earth real individual will give you an advantage over the corporations. People buy from people, after all.
But you have to ensure that everything you do is done with a professional air, from your communication to the imagery you use. Make sure your spelling is accurate (it’s very easy to spell check everything in Word or even on Google). Don’t write in text-speak, overdo the smileys or end every tweet with LOL. And the other thing about acting professionally is taking it seriously. Imagine someone is paying you for what you’re doing, that you have a client or a boss. OK, you are that boss. Maybe you need to be a tough boss who demands high standards from their staff. (But it’s still fine for them to wear pyjamas while they’re at work.)
Category: Social Media