5 Common Social Media Mistakes Authors Make

social media mistakesI seem to spend a lot of time discussing social media lately. That’s because … well … it has become a crucial part of an author’s online marketing plan.

And yet, many authors continue to avoid social media at all costs, or worse, make some serious mistakes while investing their time and energy in social media.

With that in mind …. presenting, five common social media mistakes authors make.

1. Being too promotional. It’s social media. It’s not a commercial. If you make the mistake of treating it like an advertisement — and only talking about your product — people are going to treat your social media presence like they would treat any other advertisement: fast forward through it.

2. Not interacting with readers. Part of why social media has spread like wildfire is because people love that it truly is a conversation. An author website is a place where authors can talk and readers can listen. Facebook, Twitter, etc… is where readers can communicate with writers as equals. So make sure to pose questions to your followers, respond to questions and comments, etc… Remember: it’s a conversation.

3. Posting too infrequently. In this way, social media is much like a blog. People are only going to follow you if you post in a timely and frequent manner. That means that you share your opinions on news and events as soon as they happen (not weeks later), and you respond to questions and comments while they’re still fresh in the minds of the people who posted them. Just take five minutes a day to pay attention to your social networking profiles and it can make a world of difference.

4. Confusing professional and personal.
I’ve had many authors ask me if they need to create a separate professional profile on Facebook. The answer is a resounding “yes,” and for a multitude of reasons. To begin with, what you want to share with your readers is probably very different than what you want to share with your second cousin. The latter may care that your toddler was picking his nose yesterday, but the former probably doesn’t. In addition, it’s important that you remember that your professional profile is just that: professional. I recently was reading a conversation on LinkedIn in which someone was talking about how an author had linked her professional profile as a children’s author and her personal profile, in which she was venting about her own political beliefs. Sure, she has the right to talk about whatever she wants. But why alienate readers when it’s completely unnecessary?

5. Not measuring results. I say this all the time about websites. The same is true with social media. If you’re not paying attention to which posts are getting read/liked, and which Tweets are getting retweeted, then you’re working blindly. Pay close attention to what’s working — and what’s not — and alter your social media strategy accordingly. If you don’t know how to do that, you can find plenty of tutorials online about Facebook insights and the corresponding tools on other sites.

Sure, social media can be a pain. It can be a time suck. And you probably would rather spend your time … well … writing. But do social media right and you can see a hefty reward.