Social MediaWhat do you use social networking for? Making new friends and acquaintances? Keeping in touch with family and friends? Or marketing your yourself, your book or your recipe blog?

As maturity of new platforms on the Internet takes a couple of years, it’s probably about the time that a maturity and understanding of social networking is happening for a lot of us. I must be honest and admit that over the last couple of years I’ve tried a lot of different approaches and ideas connected with social media networks and also honestly admit that there were many complete failures. Then there were the complete disasters.

However, among these efforts were a few successes and a couple of gems.

It goes without saying that social media is about promoting yourself and therefore promoting what you have to offer. Although, the fine line of decency that separates social marketing and spamming can be very thin indeed. Let’s be honest, as a writer I want to sell books. But will anyone buy my books if I simply post ‘Buy my books because I’m the bestest selling author of all time’? Of course not. It’s a balance of socialising and marketing. Of introducing your product rather than flogging it.

I read an interesting post recently asking the question ‘Do authors have to be social?’, and of course there were two sides to the answer. The danger is of course that for a writer, spending endless hours on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ etc is going to chew away at the productive time required for writing. But ignoring social media as a viable promotional tool is like hiding your head in the sand. As with anything, balance is the answer.

If you have a product or service to promote, you can’t be chatting away with 20,000 people everyday. Nor can you ignore social interaction and simply add spamming ‘buy my crap now’ posts to your timeline. You do need to interact, but the users of social media are  much more mature now than two years ago and accept that a modicum of promotion is perfectly acceptable.

What do you use social media for and how do you take advantage of the benefits it offers?

Sociable Or Marketable?
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3 thoughts on “Sociable Or Marketable?

  • 18/02/2012 at 4:31 pm
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    Initially like most I went mad. Then I cried enough! Now You would be hard pressed to find a copy of the cover of my book anywhere on FB. Like the site, I’ve changed too. The only way anyone on FB will find anything about my novel is when they click the URL to my latest blog post. Like you Derek, I do most of my promotion via my blog. Far more sensible, and less annoying to those who inhabit FB. :)

  • 18/02/2012 at 4:53 pm
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    I just signed my first publishing contract recently, so the topic of how to effectively use social media is very interesting to me. My publisher is big on using social media to promote, as I think maybe most are. From what little I’ve dove on social media so far, I think balance is very important. It’s about interacting with other people. I think I agree with Jack, blogging appears to be the most useful for this.

  • 20/02/2012 at 8:04 pm
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    I advocate our authors use social media outlets to connect with people, but don’t spam. I like to think 90/10 rule is a good balance. 90% of the time you act yourself, 10% of the time you promote/sell. People like to interact with authors directly. It’s annoying when you try and interact with people – say on Twitter and they just go on about and ignore you – especially if what you have to say is damn productive, or even informative. Heaven forbid it’s productive, positive or informative. I use HootSuite to connect facebook and twitter together (our blog broke temporarily). While I’m cruising along and find something productive to share about the industry I have a little button I can push that lets me share it across several social networks. All in all, balance is necessary big time.

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