November 17th, 2013

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Social Media and On-Line Presence

I certainly don't claim to be an expert, but the following reflects some of what I've figured out...

Social Media and Online Presence

           One of the most common bits of advice a new or aspiring author hears today, is the need to establish an on-line presence and make use of social media in reaching out to potential fans and customers.  I am evidently attempting to follow those instructions because I’ve had a LiveJournal account for about six years now.  My web-site has been up and running for nearly as long, and I’ve had a Facebook Page for over a year.  Along the way I’ve ended up on LinkedIn and also a site called SkillPages.  Earlier today I started a twitter account.
           I’m certainly not an expert at Social Media or in the use of on-line facilities.  Yet, I try to get a little something out of them, and I’ve figured out a few things that help me along those lines.  To begin with, I believe an on-line presence must be active.  One must post, change, update, or correct on a regular basis.  Some experts insist one should post daily, if not more often.  They even mention posting at certain times of the day, as supposedly more people with see the posts at those times.  To me, daily updating isn’t necessary, but posting on a regular schedule is.  I try to post on LiveJournal at least once a week.  Those who might follow my posts will come to expect something new every six, seven, or eight days.  (If things work out and I can post a few extra things in the meantime, it is a bonus.) Likewise, I try to keep my web-site up to date.  I don’t want a first time visitor to my site discovering information about an upcoming book signing that took place three months ago.
           I found Facebook very easy to update.  If I post something on LiveJournal, I can share a link to it on Facebook, or I can share something from another Facebook Page.  Again, the idea is for visitors to see something new on a regular basis, and not be greeted by the same “status” that they saw six months ago.  And of course, “Likes” help on Facebook, whether I like other Pages, or other Pages or people like my Page.  I believe there are certain advantages to Pages liking Pages.  Pages liked by a Page show up on the timeline and can more easily seen by someone visiting the first Page.  If I’ve liked your Page on mine, a visitor to mine might easily discover yours.  Conversely someone viewing your Page might find mine without much difficulty.
           Perhaps one of the easiest things we can do is to simply share and pass along information that someone posts on his or her Facebook Page.  If one posts a recently made book trailer, share it on your Page.  If you see that someone has shared the post, share it again.  Do the same thing anytime someone posts information about a forthcoming book, book releases, book signings, writers group meetings, or shared links to pertinent blog posts.  We each have a different people amongst our friends, fans, or followers.  By sharing on Facebook and other social media sites, we help disseminate the information to a greater range of people.  The more people who know about your friends’ books, or the greater number of folks aware of yours, the more chances there are of some of those folks buying a copy.  When it comes right down to it, isn’t that what it’s all about?
           I’m not suggesting that you share everything everyone puts on Facebook.  But, when you visit a Page and view what’s there, ask what would you like to have shared if you had posted it.  If you had posted it and would want to see it spread across the internet, then take a couple of seconds, make a couple of clicks, share it, and spread the information around.  If I can, I try to share things posted by local authors and local book stores.  I also might post things from other sources that I believe might be of interest to writers in general, and at times I share and post things that relate to my personal interests… interests that in many ways relate to my writing.  That’s why you may occasionally see things on my Facebook Page about the US Navy, the Royal Navy, the USS Constitution, and other naval and military themed subjects.