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This is the final article in this social media series. For the rest of the articles, either click on the “related articles” in the footer below, or search on SoMe in the search box.

Wrap Up and a Few Other Social Networks

Facebook and Twitter are going to take the lion’s share of your SoMe time. However, there are several other social networks that can enhance your presence and get your name out where potential buyers can find it.


Pinterest is all about the graphics. It’s a wonderful place to share your book covers and swag pictures. Create an account there and get started by finding your colleagues online and re-pinning their pins. Share your own. Generally, when you “follow” someone’s specific board or overall account, they’ll follow you back. Cross-fertilization can mean a lot.
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If you post useful images on your site (book covers, for example), make sure you install a plugin that makes it easy for visitors to “pin” that image to Pinterest. In my sharing gizmos, attached to each blog post, Pinterest is one of the choices. Make sure you’ve got one in your list, too.

Pinterest’s search function can be super useful. Find out what your colleagues are sharing, not only by viewing their boards, but by seeing who else has their marketing pictures pinned elsewhere on the site. Having an image go viral on Pinterest is a nice way to get extra traffic. Just make sure what you attempt to share has an audience on the site or you’ll be wasting your time.


For an author, LinkedIn isn’t going to be a go-to marketing tool. It is a good tool for networking, however, learning about writing contests and publisher calls. It’s also a good place to discuss author business matters with other authors, both new and old.

If you’re out to sell books there, don’t waste your time. If networking is your goal, search for groups in your niche on LinkedIn. There are more than a few for authors. If your only purpose is to find new readers, however, it’s not going to be the place for you.


Google+ is the red-headed step-child of social media. Although everyone keeps predicting that it’s going to close, it just keeps growing. People interact there and there are ample opportunities to reach new readers. You can apply many of the Facebook tips to your Google+ page, but there’s something else you also want to do—link your Google+ account to your blog. This is really important.

On my self-hosted WordPress blog, there is a Jetpack plug in that allows me to link both Google+ and FaceBook to my blog posts. With it, I can adjust my message to suit my marketing purposes and the blog’s purpose. The blog post link is automatically sent to FB and Google+ when it’s posted, along with my little social text. That’s how I maintain a Google+ presence, even though I really don’t have time to go there and participate in discussions much.


I’ll be frank. I hate Goodreads, even though I have an author account there and all my books are listed. What kills me about the site is the “drive-by” reviews. People have no obligation to explain why they’re giving you a one or two star review, they just hit a button and wham! your ranking loses two points.

However, Goodreads is a place where many authors interact with readers. You should have a presence at Goodreads and take advantage of what it has to offer, including giving readers inside looks at you and your process, running contests, and joining groups related to your specific niche market. Some authors swear by it; I swear at it.


There are several other social media sites you might explore: Instagram, Fetlife, Library Thing, My Space, Shelfari, Tumblr, and Wattpad, to name a few. These networks were not covered in my class, and frankly, except for Shelfari and Goodreads, I don’t have a presence there. (And my Shelfari presence is very low key indeed.)


Never, ever forget that the purpose of all this networking time is to funnel people to your site and to information about your books and products. No networking site is an end of itself, it is a means to an end. You want people on your mailing list so that you have their eyeballs and attention with every marketing blast you produce.

That concludes this series on SoMe (social media). I hope you found it helpful.

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Social Media Strategies – Twitter

Twitter is the à la minute SoMe platform. It’s active, incessantly updated, and it seems like everyone you know is there. People love to share their interests and entertain themselves on Twitter. That can turn into great traffic for you.

However, Twitter might be even more of a challenge, because it’s hard to entertain everyone you might want to reach. Your tweet disappears from people’s feeds in the blink of an eye. That’s why it’s more important than ever that you have a solid strategy.

It is possible to capture people’s attention on Twitter. You can rub elbows with heavy hitters in your niche and get to know some of your future readers. Although, if you’re like me, it will seem like you’re preaching to the choir an awful lot, tweeting to colleagues rather than reaching new readers; and hoping for re-tweets to push your message along.

Tip: One way I’ve found to reach new readers is to use a tweeting service. I have two, and many of the sites I advertise on (both free and paid) will happily tweet info for me. One service I use is Ask David. They’re a review site with more than 33,000 followers. You can buy a tweet package from them for $10 and you get 30 tweets to their followers. They have some parameters for the tweets, and a form to fill out to meet those parameters, but you can’t beat getting to 33,000 people in one shot. People from there will re-tweet you as well. Here’s a link to Ask David:  Ask them about their tweet package—it’s a well-kept secret.

Here are the main things you should be doing with Twitter to get great traffic:

  • Pay attention to the people who are most active in your niche and try to capture their attention;
  • Use Twitter search and hashtags;
  • Tweet, Retweet, and Direct Message.


Pay Attention

Getting the attention of active Tweeters in your niche is the best way to put yourself in the spotlight. Look for people who have hundreds or thousands of followers. They are popular because they always have the latest information, the best giveaways and product prices, interact the most, etc. Get their attention (don’t think of them as competition) and you just might see your own popularity increase.

You really have to think outside the box here. If you get the attention of someone on Twitter that has a huge email list and a very active blog, you’ll be in prime position to make them a special colleague, rather than simply someone you admire. Perhaps they will retweet you and you’ll get dozens of followers in an instant. Or maybe you’ll learn their strategy from the inside—reverse engineering their success and learning the tricks of the trade. That is how people become successful, and Twitter is one of the fastest ways to do it.

Retweet people you look up to or aspire to be like. Respond to questions or polls they put out there. Make sure they see your name in a few different places and then you can consider contacting them directly. Don’t be too surprised if they don’t have time for you; at the same time, don’t let that stop you. Good things happen for those who are persistent. However, do not ask them to retweet for you or to plug your book. Imagine how many such requests they get every day. Until they get to know you, this will seem like an amateurish way to use their list.

One of the best ways to get people to follow you on Twitter is to follow them first. Follow those who follow popular brands or people in your niche. Many will follow you back—particularly if you’re tweeting interesting things. Don’t limit yourself to colleagues. And don’t consider your “buy my book” tweets to be “interesting.” New release announcements, yes, those might be interesting, and if you do them a few times (few is an operative word in this sentence) you’ll get the attention of different people every time. Do them at different times of the day, over a period of a week or two. Do not spam people.

Do not hesitate to glean new followers from other, seemingly more successful people. These are nicely categorized so you can follow those in related lists. You can also make lists of your own and add active users to them—they’ll take notice. The lists are public and you should use them as a tool. You’ll start to build a real following as you interact with people, even in subtle ways.

Spend time building your Twitter following every day. Yes, every day you should add at least ten new people to your list using the methods I suggest above. Many of them will follow back. You can schedule tweets using tools like HootSuite so you get great visibility without being tied down to Twitter all the time. I use HootSuite and I love it. There are other Twitter automation programs out there, so search for one that suits you best. But, remember, you have to pay attention to Twitter in order to get the “big people”‘s attention. Twitter takes time and patience.

Tip: (You’ve seen this one before.) You only have 140 characters to use for any tweet (including spaces). Once you get your link, graphic and hashtags in there, it will seem like there’s not much room to say something. But you can. Remember not to use all 140 characters; leave some room for others to add “RT” or “Look!” to the tweet before they re-tweet it for you. If it’s 140 characters to start with, there’s no place for them to add their approval.

Use Twitter Search and Hashtags

Knowledge is power. Keep up with the popular discussions, memes, ideas, people, brands, and products in your niche by using Twitter’s search engine. Search for and use hashtags for an instant way to connect with others and expand your reach.

Also make sure to use Twitter hashtags in your posts. That way, it’ll be easier for you to keep track of people retweeting you, and your tweets will show up when people search for things that interest them. However, you should not use hashtags to excess. No one likes to see a fifteen character tweet that has 120 characters in hashtags. That is a cry for attention that’s about as offensive as using all caps (which you should not do either).

How To Use Hashtags Effectively

First, search on some hashtags using #keyword type searches. (Don’t literally use the word “keyword,” insert a word that suits what you have to say.) Pay attention to who is using that keyword and how, then, if you are confident your message fits in that niche, use it. Do not use obscure hashtags that don’t say something. (#123TT, for example, is probably the hashtag of a private group. Don’t insert yourself into their conversation.)

One of the hashtags you might be familiar with is #SatSpanks. Another might be #AmEditing (capitalization doesn’t matter with hashtags). They say something about the content of your tweet in the most succinct way.

Another good way to use hashtags is in a private group (mentioned above). You and your friends can come up with some obscure hashtag and use it to tweet. Then, each of you can search on that tag and, upon finding it, can re-tweet each other more easily. It’s all too easy for tweets to get lost in the mix, even tweets by people you care about. Using an obscure hashtag aggregates the tweets to make it easier.

Tweet, Retweet, and Direct Message

Twitter is a place to develop relationships. You can’t just tweet randomly all day without reading others’ tweets or interacting at all. It’s definitely worth your while to retweet others and answer questions they ask of their followers.

You’ll start to feel like you have the start of a good relationship with some of those you follow after you start interacting with them. Wait for the right time to send them a private message if you have interest in a joint venture or have an opportunity for them. Treat this as you would any business relationship – no spamming and no annoying.

Do not have a direct message automatically sent to a new follower, unless it simply says “hi” or “thank you for following.” Automated messages like, “Here’s my book; buy it,” or “Follow me on FB here,” are turnoffs for most Tweeters. I know I immediately unfollow people with these auto sales pitches. They’re too impersonal.

Another thing to avoid is the dreaded “tweets are protected” situation. I don’t know how people get their tweets protected, and I don’t want to. If I can’t see your tweets, I can’t re-tweet them, or learn anything about you. To me, that totally defeats the purpose of Twitter. I do not follow these people.

A Few Words About Triberr

A lot of people love Triberr, and on the surface, it does increase your reach. However, in most cases, you will be obligated to go to Triberr daily and re-tweet the various tweets of the members of your “tribe.” But how does this build personal relationships with your target audience? What are you really tweeting? You really have to make sure those tweets are suitable for the readers you’re trying to reach. So read them carefully and be discriminating.

Also, consider this (and it’s something of a pet peeve of mine). If you’re re-tweeting virtually randomly, how am I (your friend) going to find just your tweets to re-tweet? I’ll have to wade through a sea of tweets with your name on them but from other, uninteresting parties. Believe me, if you’re an active Triberr member, this is more trouble than it’s worth for a follower.

I’m not convinced that the time spent on Triberr is actually useful. But that is my opinion, based upon experience and trial and error.

Link to Your Website

You can’t just post links to your website all the time, because that will get annoying and no one will follow you. But, you should definitely talk about what you’re working on and drop in links to your free offer every so often. Funnel, funnel, funnel! You’ll get a much better response if you make a habit of sharing great information and caring about what others are doing too.

The people who say “Twitter doesn’t work” are saying that because they don’t take the time to build relationships (yes, we’re back to that again). Many of them build profiles of fake and untargeted followers. Try it this way and it might work out better for you.

As a note: I have implemented some of these classroom ideas, and to good effect. Remember to parcel out your time so that you still have time to write. If you spend a few minutes (like five) every so often through your day, you can get all this in.

Next week: A wrap-up and consideration of other platforms.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Thanksgiving Giveaway. The three winners were chosen through, and they’ve been notified. I plan to have another giveaway soon, so stay tuned. If you would still like to read the featured book, Rescued by the Spy, go here for purchase information. Again, my thanks.

facebook likes 13625253_sSocial Media Strategies – Facebook

Facebook is a force to be reckoned with. It has moved beyond its original purpose as a way to keep up with friends and family (though one cannot know what Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term plan might have been). Writers can do well on Facebook these days – especially if you make sure your page is “the place” to be for keeping up with information on a niche or your product. The current FB problem of getting “likers” to actually see what you post can only be gotten around with “boosts.” Many people won’t be able to afford boosts, and the type of boosts authors would be inclined to use are often problematic. More on this a little later.

Setting Up Your Page

There are Facebook profiles and Facebook pages. You are going to sign up for a Facebook page. Start here:

Many of you have done this already, but have you done it well? There are lots of ways to fix up your strategy, so please keep reading.

Be sure to put your page in the right category. Be descriptive with your name. If your name is Dave Smith and you are an author, create a page that is titled “Dave Smith – Murder Mystery Author.” When I first started my author page, I simply started it as “Patricia Green” – the same name as my personal page. Wow, was that confusing as I tried to post appropriately on each page. So, after a while, I changed my author page to “Patricia Green Romance Books.” That was a lot better, and it told users exactly what I was about.

Note that your page’s name can be slightly different than the URL you choose. Keep it as consistent as you can. My page URL is Pretty close to my author page name, though not identical. You can do this easily if you have less than 200 likes on your page, but if you have more than 200, you’ll have to wait up to two weeks for the change to take place. I had to wait, but it really wasn’t a big deal.

Go ahead and play around with setting your Facebook page up. Insert your profile picture and cover. Write your short and detailed description. If what you currently have is stale, not interesting, doesn’t reflect the way your work is presented at this point in your career, then change it up. If you need to, hire a graphic artist to come up with something fresh. It’s worth what you pay them.

Decide What to Post

You can start posting right away, but it helps to consider the kind of content you’re going to post, and when to post it.

Search for pages that are in a similar niche to your own. Like those pages and get a feel for the things they post each day. Evaluate these pages to start to develop your own Facebook strategy. Note how much interaction there is on each post. Unless you’re George Takei, you might not get much, but your presence in the niche is important. You won’t be reaching the same sub-section of “likers” with every post, and you don’t know which post is going to be THE ONE that a potential reader (or client, or buyer) is going to find compelling. Because the FB algorithm is so mysterious, expect to reach Joe on Monday and Sue on Tuesday. Joe might be looking for something different from Sue, so change it up a bit with each post.

When considering other pages, think about:

  • How many likes they have
  • How often they post
  • How often they share their own website or promote products
  • What they promote (if anything)
  • The type of graphics they use
  • Which pages they tend to share content from
  • How engaged their fans are

The point is to reverse-engineer what the most popular sites in your niche are doing. You can get some excellent clues when you do that.

How to Get People to Like Your Page

You now have a pretty good idea of what shape your page should take. You know that your goal is to drive traffic from Facebook to your webpage/blog. How can you do that? This is a slow and steady strategy… but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some “likes” right away.

It is true that likes attract more likes, so it’s fine to ask friends and family members to like your page to give you a running start. I have also found that joining big liking chains is less than useful. You want readers engaged on your page. It’s not a numbers game, it’s a relationship builder.

Post on Related Pages

This is probably the easiest strategy because it gives you free traffic that you can get right on Facebook.

You’re going to find pages that are very closely related to your own. Search for the most highly trafficked, most active pages in your niche. Look for opportunities to add your thoughts and wow the audience. Note the word thoughts here. Don’t post your advertisements inappropriately. That won’t get you anything but deletions, scorn, and sometimes just plain kicked off the page. Be yourself and build relationships and you’ll start to get people clicking through to your page.

Tip: Not only can you get page owners to notice you when you post on their page, but you can also occasionally tag them in status updates on your own page. This tit for tat exchange is very valuable. It requires you to have exchanged likes, so play nice with others.

Buy Ads

Don’t choose this strategy if you’re strapped for cash. But, if you have some money to play around with (it doesn’t have to be very much – try $10 or so to start) you can start to get some great likes on your page.

The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can make them incredibly targeted. Try to set up an ad just to see how it works – you don’t have to go through with it until you’re ready. The hands-on approach will give you the best idea of how it works, how targeted it can be, and how many users’ eyeballs will be on your name or product.

The trick is to target as much as possible, create ads that are enticing (you can note your freebie giveaway – I did this recently and got my name out to thousands of folks who’d never heard of me before). It’s the start of a great relationship. Monitor your ads frequently at first and set limits so you don’t overspend with no return. It can be hard at first because you won’t be sure what you’re making until people are on your list and you’re actively promoting.

I’ve done both the boosts and the regular ads. In my experience, it really depends on what you’re trying to sell. The biggest problem I’ve run into with ads and boosts is that I’m selling a product that has text on the graphic. FB has a rule against more than 20% lettering on the graphics in ads. All too often, the title and author name on a book cover turns out to be more than 20%. I’ve set up more than a few ads, just to have them rejected by FB because of this 20% rule. What works for me, is to cut up the cover, so that only my author name, or only the book title is shown with the main theme of the book. So it might have the couple in a romance book showing with just the title (no author name – my page name will already be on the ad, after all). Or, if what I’m selling in my ad is the body of my work rather than something specific, I might just use the couple along with my author name. Always get the main theme in there, even if you have to remove all the lettering.

I use PaintShop Pro to manipulate graphics. It’s quite inexpensive (especially in comparison to Photoshop) and does nearly everything that Photoshop does.

Share on Your Other Networks

If you have any sort of related online presence (Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In), now is the time to link to your Facebook page. You can do this on forums you’re a member of, other social media sites, from your personal Facebook page, through friends and colleagues, through email lists you already have, and so on.

People who are already familiar with you are likely to give you help as you get started. Again, the more targeted they are, the better.

Create Shareable Content

Some of the best Facebook pages really take off because they always have shareable content (I’m back at George Takei). Try to create graphics and quotes related to your niche that people will like to share on their own Facebook pages.

Find quotes, come up with your own quotes, find interesting facts and statistics, find interesting stories, find great pictures or graphics, excerpts, taglines, blurbs…anything that will really stand out and make people take a moment to share what you have. If you have a lot of this shareable content you’ll get a lot of likes as well.

If you’re stuck on what to create, take a look at the most popular pages in your niche. What are they creating and sharing? Note that they tend to brand their images to link back to their Facebook page. The goal is to get your stuff to catch on so people do some “free advertising” for your page.

Funnel That Facebook Traffic

Never forget that your FB page is part of your funnel strategy. It is not the end product.

It’s great to get a lot of likes to your Facebook page. However, always make sure your readers are engaged and that you are building relationships with them. Funnel them to your website and onto your email list with your free giveaway.

Tip: Install a tab that links directly to your blog/website and whenever you post a new blog post, always share it on your Facebook page. Then, when people click through to read it, they’ll see the free offer on your website.

It’s the funneling that counts.

Next week, we’ll take a look at Twitter strategies.