I honestly wasn't sure where I stood on social media as an author before last week. I have been on Facebook for years to stay connected to friends and family. Obviously, there was a perceived benefit on a personal level. I like sharing photos and seeing what other people are up to. After using social media in the traditional sense for so many years, it was hard for me to understand how a small business or an author with zero connections would even get started.
Everything changed when I decided to put my book on sale.
My publisher makes it easy for their authors to network. We have a private page where we can announce sales and new launches with requests for social media shares. When authors interact with me on Twitter or retweet my posts, I try to return the favor. I have a modest network, but there are several people I have met online who are really cool. When I had my own sale to promote, the first day I relied on paid and free promotion services. I managed to crawl up to the number 11 spot in my categories on Amazon (so cool!). It motivated me to ask my publisher network and Twitter friends to spread the word about my sale. I was surprised by the number of people who helped. My twitter notifications blew up. My sales were boosted, too. All of those months building relationships paid off.
Social Media does not work if you join and only expect to post promotional material about your book. Use it to network and connect to your reader base. Participate in things like #MondayBlogs, #WWWBlogs, and other chat events on Twitter. Read other people's posts and learn what works for them. Find book clubs on Facebook for your genre and participate in conversations about books that aren't your own. Author takeovers on Facebook are a lot of fun. Attend a couple and take notes - which posts get the most interaction? The goal is to form each post with a call to action or question to get more opportunity for reader interaction.
These things may not lead to immediate sales, but being kind to others and talking about similar interests lead to good things.
Have you had positive interactions with readers or authors on social media? Are there things you appreciate or wish people did less as it pertains to authors?