Friday, November 2, 2012

Social Media and (Self-Imposed) Guidelines

Okay, so you might have noticed that I've added a little structure to my blogging. This is mostly because I've been spewing stuff out here on the blogosphere for like, 5 years now (okay, maybe not that long. Maybe only 4), and while there's a neverending supply of things to talk about, even I run dry.

Or maybe I'm addicted to schedules and routines. It's a toss up.

But I've been doing a sort of "writing how-to" series thing on Mondays, and I thought it might be fun to talk social media on Wednesdays. I sort of missed it this week due to the craziness of Halloween, so I'm putting it up today.

I think I'll start with how I view social media, and the guidelines I've come up with for myself.

So I actively participate in 3 social media outlets that I use to promote myself and my books:
1. This blog
2. Twitter
3. Facebook

I do talk about personal things on all 3 of those, but if I wasn't a writer and didn't have books, I most likely would not have accounts at any of those places. I am also on Pinterest, but I don't use that for promotional purposes, but only to find ways to clean my jetted tub.

So I view my social media outlets as a way I can spread the word about book deals, reviews, cover reveals, what I'm working on, etc. My social media outlets give me a safe place to talk about myself and my work, as well as provide a place where I can keep up with others, their interests, and their books. That's how I view social media.

I do not sit and think about what to post on twitter or Facebook. If something occurs to me naturally, I post it. I want these two places to be very organic, almost spontaneous, because that's how I use them. I do, however, think about my blog posts, and plan them in advance.

My guidelines for myself regarding social media are pretty simple:
1. Talk about more than my books.
2. Rule of 5: For every one thing I post about my books, I try to post at least 5 non-book things, or talk about someone else's book before I post about me again.
3. Be willing to RT for others, read for others, blog for others.
4. Engage. I try to respond to blog comments, visit blogs, respond to @-messages, FB messages/posts, etc. It's a conversation, and I try to engage in it. 
5. Be positive and genuine. Feeling down? I just stay offline. Heart not in it? Stay offline.

So there you go! That's how I view my social media outlets, and the guidelines I have for myself about them. I think next week, I'll talk about Facebook, and what I do there social media wise.

Do you have something social media related you'd like me to discuss? Do you have guidelines for yourself for the different social media outlets? How do you view them?


Maria Zannini said...

These are my guidelines almost to the letter. It's very important to me to relate to the reader as a person first and then as an author.

I truly believe sales will come with an excellent back list and not a promotion extravaganza.

Stina said...

My guidelines are the same, not that I do much with FB. My blog and Twitter feeds go through it. I really do need to do more with FB, but I'm still lost figuring it out. Despite following so many people, I don't see their posts. I only see the posts of a few people. And since that doesn't make sense, I kind of don't use it. Requires me to think too much.

You're right about one thing. If I wasn't a writer, I wouldn't be involved with social media. Of course that means I would have missed out on some great friends. So just as well I'm a writer.

Heather Sunseri said...

I've always thought you do an amazing job at all of those things, Elana, and I think my social media "strategy" (if I can even call it that) is very similar to yours.

My number one mission when considering Facebook and Twitter is to build relationships - to have a conversation. That's it. Simple.

The one social media subject I'm giving a lot of consideration to right now is Facebook. So, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. If our posts are being limited and FB is requiring us to "promote" our posts in order to be seen in the news feed.... Ok, I don't even know what my question is. I guess I'm just wondering if people still feel FB is the place to be in this case. I think it is, but...

I haven't been giving Google + much thought, but I'm starting to. But so far, I'm not sure that's where the readers are.

Anonymous said...

I love that you infuse yourself into your blog and posts. I think that's what drew me to reading your blogs. We are more than our products and it's good to let that shine.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like good guidelines to me. I'm just on Twitter and Blogger, and on occasion I remember Google+. And I wasn't even online before I got a book deal, so I wouldn't be here either. But I would've missed so many great friendships that way.

JeffO said...

@Stina: I believe (though I could be wrong) that FB tends to feed you what it thinks you want to see. So if you and I are FB friends, and you and Elana are FB friends, and you like and respond to Elana's posts a lot, and never or rarely to mine, it might drop me. I'm not sure about this, though. I know things my wife has posted from her business don't always show up in my FB feed, even though I have 'liked' it, and shared it.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

My guidelines are similar to yours. It' all about give and take, axing the me-ism. I've also done the author page deal on FB and basically use that for writerly subjects, keeping my personal life more personal.

Ashley said...

Awesome guidelines! I honestly never thought about making guidelines before, but yours sound great.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

When I first got on Twitter, I would sit, staring at the cursor, trying to figure out what I was suppose to say. That one took a little while to feel natural.

These are great guidelines.

Christine Fonseca said...

Great advice

Angela Brown said...

Your guidelines are very much like my own. I discuss a few personal things but usually it is writing related if I get too personal. And because I don't want to be part of the static, I try to engage in Twitter and FB when it fits, so it's just natural and not forced. Otherwise, it will come across that way.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm really into finding my guidelines so I slow down a bit on the social media and focus on writing more. I think I need to impose my blog schedule more of posting no more than 2 days a week (Casey posts one to two days too). I'm on Facebook but not as much since the blog got so busy.

I'm seriously considering adding Twitter but don't want it to become a total time suck because reading other peoples blogs takes over an hour a day usually. Maybe you could do a way on how to meaningfully connect on Twitter but not spend too much time on it.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

That #5 is huge and so wise. I can't tell you how many times I've saved myself from writing something stupid or pointless b/c I stayed offline during a moody streak.
~ Wendy

Patti said...

I like your rule on promotion, I've unfollowed some authors who feel like their jamming their books down your throat.

I'm with you on Pinterest. I use it purely for my own gain.

Anonymous said...

"Feeling down? I just stay offline. Heart not in it? Stay offline."

Ditto on that one.

Mart Ramirez said...

Yup you couldn't have said it any better. Perfect guidelines.

Matthew MacNish said...

I only wish I could be as cool on Twitter as I am on Facebook and Blogger. I like Twitter, I'm just not sure I have the attention span or the free time to get the most out of it. :(

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Find your guidelines interesting and useful. One thing I do differently is give more thought to my tweets so I can give more personal information about some authors, not just the generic "follow this author" but by adding a link to their book site.

Heather said...

I love your guidelines, they're very similar to my own. I'm a Twitter junkie and am swiftly becoming a Pinterest junkie because it's a great place to pin inspiring pictures for my WIP.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've never joined FB - for now, twitter & blogging are more than enough. While I enjoy them both, I don't force myself to use either. If I feel like blogging or tweeting I do - if not, I just skip it :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I only have one account on Facebook, which I use for personal and author things alike. I've considered doing an author page, but I don't know who would want to follow all my author activities (except my mom). And as for fan pages for my books ... unless I have a break-out hit, I'm not sure who would want to hang out there, either. (Plus I hear FB hides most fan page posts from the members unless they visit the page regularly or the owner pays FB to allow the posts to be seen.) What's your experience, Elana?

Janet Johnson said...

Great advice about social media. "Just stay offline" = Great advice. Sometimes we think everyone is missing us horribly, OR we'll be completely forgotten if we miss a day. Simply not true. I think I might use this advice. Soon. :)

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