Monday, October 27, 2014

Social Networking Manners

Is there such a thing? Well if not, there should be! For example, before I published, I had a private Facebook page to keep in touch with family and friends. And my sister-in-law created a leukemia page when I was sick: a single place where I (or she and my husband when I wasn't able) could place a single update post and reach pretty much everyone I wanted to. But of course we all know how to conduct ourselves on our 'personal' pages!

After I published, I decided I needed to market in as many different social media places as I could manage, as a way of reaching out to a wider audience. My first step was the creation of a public Facebook fan page, moving on to Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. By far, my biggest growth to date has been on Twitter, so most of this post will be referring to that social outlet, but the tips on manners are good no matter what you're using.

At first, I'd intended Twitter to be used exclusively to advertise. Of course, I've now found some friends there that I might not have found otherwise. But I've definately learned one thing that rings true: quid pro quo. When someone follows us on Twitter, a large percentage of us will feel obligated to follow back. These are the people you want in your following, not accounts you can 'buy' which are often bots or bogus accounts. Often the same can be found with retweets. So you see quid pro quo. In other words, if you see me tweet another author's book, it could mean a couple things. Either I thought someone in my following would benefit/enjoy it, or that author has at some point in time helped me with a retweet. Same goes when I find new authors with Facebook pages. I'll like their page and ask them to like mine in return. The same could be true of blogs as well.

And beyond following or retweeting for others who may have done so for you, don't forget to engage with your following. Though at this point in my professional life, I can't afford to pay someone to tweet for me, I do utilize the app Justunfollow that allows me to send a thank you message to people who follow me when I'm busy or asleep (among other features). I have several different automated DM messages preprogrammed. If the same person repeatedly retweets for you, thank them and try to engage them in a real conversation. Same goes for any who might comment on your Facebook page or blog. They took the time to write TO YOU; extend them the same courtesy, even if all you have to say is thanks! And if you notice someone retweets for the first time for you, try to send them a quick thank you tweet or tell them you appreciate the help. Everyone likes to know they're appreciated. And if you have another author (or person in whatever business you're in) who helps you regularly, ask if you can do something to help them. 9 times out of 10, they'll likely say no, but you made the effort and that's positive feedback.

So, keep in mind that social media, though an excellent means of advertising, isn't just a one-way street. Put yourself in another's shoes for a moment. We've probably all seen someone who tweets/posts the same thing (or two) repeatedly. After a while, we've pretty well memorized their post so our eyes will just skip over it whenever we see their name. Being that person will likely bring in a big fat zero for sales. Being a presence that's known to actually INTERACT with others will, if nothing else, make people take an extra moment to see what you're saying. And that interaction could potentially add to your sales!

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