Smorgasbord Public Relations for Authors – Part Four – Social Media – The Pros and the Cons as an Author by Sally Cronin


The definition of Public Relations in business is “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and the public”

In the past my focus has been on book marketing, which did include how to reach potential readers with blogs, social media and as part of the writing community. Whilst this series will revisit those platforms along the way it is an opportunity to focus on some key areas of our public profiles that might influence the public to buy our books.

The focus this time is on you.. the author.

In the last three weeks I have looked at the public face of an author… the profile photograph, biography and hitting the red carpet in the writing community and other places online. This week I explore the benefits and downsides to promoting yourself on social media platforms. Apart from blogging which I consider to be an essential platform for all authors, there are the usual haunts most of us frequent.

Social Media – The Pros and the Cons as an Author

As a number of well-known celebrities and best-selling authors have found to their cost during this last year, comments made online years ago can come back to haunt you. Sometimes before they were famous, and were young and a bit foolish.

However, on the plus side… not only is it a way to be connected to the rest of the world and meet new people, it is for an author… FREE advertising.

The Pros of being on Social Media as an author

As an author, blogger and book promoter, I have experimented with several social media platforms including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and MeWe.

For me the most effective as far as exposure, traffic and promotion are Twitter and Facebook with LinkedIn coming in quite a bit behind in third place.

As an author I want to sell books, as a blogger I would like my posts to reach as far and wide as possible, as a book promoter I want to create a platform that offers the authors as much visibility as possible and as a reader I want to discover great recommended books to add to my TBR.

Facebook_symbol_Word - VIVAKUR

I did have my own page on Facebook until about a year ago but found that it was not as effective as having my personal page combined with using specific groups to post to for marketing purposes. This enables me to not only share my own book news, but the promotions for the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, and the bloggers that I follow.

I am administrator along with Debby Gies and Colleen Chesebro of The Literary Diva’s Library – And if you are just getting started, are a reader of books or a writer, then do take a look and see if it would suit you.

Facebook Groups enable you to chat with, and share with like-minded people, and since writers are readers too, it is also a useful marketplace to share your work or blog posts. (You will get short shrift if you continually talk about yourself and your work). It is tough to manage several groups, but if you check out the ones associated with your particular genre then you will make a good start. Most authors within those genres are readers too and if they pass along to their friends etc you are reaching a healthy market for your work.

I tend not to post a great deal of personal goings on but do so on my personal page which is set to friends only. They know I can be crazy…!!  Apart from when I share from Goodreads where I cannot designate a group to share a book review in, all my work related posts go into the three groups I am a member of.

Twitter - Logos Download

Twitter is useful for making new connections and interacting with those you share interests with, by sharing their tweets. It is reciprocal usually and this adds the accumulative factor to any tweet you make.

For example – if you tweet about a review for your book #Fantasy #Scifi and just 10 of your followers retweet to theirs with those tags, you are reaching thousands more possible readers of your book or followers of your blog.

To make sure you are targeting the right audience for your blog or book remember to use tags when posting – #Romance #Writing Community, #Fantasy #Poetry #Health #Humour etc.

I went in on Saturday to check this accumulative factor for a book review rewind I posted on Friday. It was retweeted 12 times and including my own followers it was shared to 106,000 potential readers. Whilst they may not buy the book right now… it they see an author’s name often enough, it will encourage them to explore their books at some point.

I have mentioned the Pinned Tweet a number of times and this is useful to extend your brief bio on your profile section to promote all your books or one specifically or a blog post.

It is the first thing that a new visitor to your account will see so a good marketing opportunity. They will usually retweet and share your book or post with their own followers.

Remember to change the pinned tweet on a regular basis as unless someone retweets with addition text it can only be done once.

You can still promote the same book as your pinned tweet if you add the link to its most recent review etc to keep it fresh. You can connect to me on twitter:@sgc58

LinkedIn Lawsuit: You Can Run, But You Can't Hide ...

LinkedIn used to be very much for the business community, and I joined in 2008 when I was on radio and I included my nutritional therapy qualifications and books I had released at that time. I did connect with many I had worked with previously in the telephony industry which helped me get started, but at the time there were very few authors using the platform. That has changed somewhat now and there is a thriving community. All my blog posts are linked automatically which means slightly less work.

My posts are scheduled to go out at different times of day for the time zones.. so just after midnight for American readers and then throughout the day at set intervals. It means that they are sent straight to Twitter and LinkedIn at the same time without me worrying about it.

The LinkedIn interface has changed a great deal in the last year with a move to a similar look to Facebook and they even have emojis now….it used to be a no no to put a hug or a kiss on a post, but they seem to have decided it might be okay.

It is more formal however than other social media sites and as I have repeated on many occasions, as an author you are in business and there are certain expectations that go along with that.

In the post on writing a biography I emphasized certain points to give it a professional and business orientated theme.. and that is what is needed for Linkedin. You will find that most bio photographs are more formal too than you might expect to find on most social media sites.

If you would like to get started then please connect to me LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

In this day and age we have to accept that as an author, we need to be both proactive and reactive to highlight our work. The market for our books or blog posts is to be found within the billions who spend their lives online in one way or another. Readers are not just going to walk through our door unfortunately. If we are building a brand for ourselves as an author with books to sell, I do recommend that you are on at least one of the major sites such as Twitter or Facebook.

The Cons of being on Social Media as an author or blogger

Clock, Wall Clock, Clock Face, Pointer

For me the biggest drawback to being on social media, even though it has helped me build my blog platform and allowed me to promote both myself and other authors is Time.

I love what I do and after 20 years as an author, 9 years of blogging and 7 promoting authors I know that being on social media is essential to making things happen.

Although my posts are linked to Twitter and LinkedIn automatically, I choose not to respond to the comments or tweets using an automatic app. I like to tag those who have shared posts or retweeted, visit their page and share their pinned tweet and explore their books etc. On average I get 300 tweets a day and whilst many are not expecting a response, by doing so it does encourage more interaction in the future.

Finding the balance between building your marketing brand, writing books and blogging is a challenge.

Royalty Free Awkward Conversation Clip Art, Vector Images ...

Times change, and as recent events have illustrated, there are things you could get away with 10 years or even 5 years ago that you cannot do so now. I don’t agree with bullying in any form or discrimination when it comes to culture or religion, but sometimes even harmless banter can upset someone, somewhere.

Social media is a global phenomenon, and as such, what we say and do, can get lost in translation. Politics and religion in particular are guaranteed to get people hot under the collar and that’s when the fight started!

I will admit to being straight talking, opinionated and also known to use colourful language in private on a number of subjects, but as an author, I tend to be more circumspect in places where I am also marketing my books. The only time that I will publicly share my opinion, is if I see someone else being bullied in any way, but thankfully that has become rarer in recent years. On the odd occasion when I have read a post or comment by an author that is offensive it certainly influences my view of both the writer and their work.

Whilst you can set your settings on your own account to friends only etc, you do need to think carefully before posting a comment on a public forum or on someone else’s blog post. You may not be able to delete or even edit your comment, and once there it stays there!

Privacy stock illustration. Illustration of quiet ...

There are settings on all social media platforms that you can activate to restrict what information is shared and who it is shared with.. One of the greatest myths of our time!.

The truth is that very little is private and women in particular are blessed with stunning invitations to connect from gentlemen who feel that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are dating sites. I received a long and delightful email just the other day from a gentleman who said that he knew LinkedIn was not a dating site, but my profile photo captured his attention and he would love to know me better if my relationship status permitted. He included two photos of himself.. and very fetching he was too..

I double checked, and we were not connected on LinkedIn at all, and I am suspect I was not the only object of his admiration but I was so tempted to send back a photo under the heading, untouched original photograph.

But I just deleted his email….I didn’t want to give him nightmares.

Certainly whilst one wants to share photographs of you on a beach in an exotic location sipping cocktails, it is better to post them when you get home, even if you do have mega speed broadband in your hotel room. Combined with the information you may have shared and the photographs of your home and gardens, the fact that it is vacant while you are away will be good news for someone.

We are paranoid about children and teens using the internet but in actual fact the statistics for con artists defrauding online users show that the elderly are a high risk age group

Key facts: Age UK  

  • Almost 5 million older people (65+) believe they have been targeted by scammers.
  • While only 12% of those targeted responded to a scam, this means around half a million older people could have fallen victim.
  • Single older people are more likely to respond than married people, and half of all people aged 75+ live alone.
  • There were 3.4 million incidents of fraud in the year to March 2017.5 Over half of these (57%) were cyber-related.

Is being on social media worth it for an author? I have to say that yes, being on at least one social media site is worth it. If you were in any other business you would leap at the opportunity for free publicity for your product, with a potential market of millions.

As someone who promotes authors and books it is helpful for me too as a collaborative approach to sharing on social media does increase the visibility of the post.

  • Time is a factor, however if that is the case, pick one platform and work that one to its fullest extent.
  • Spend allocated time a day to build a presence – for me that is first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
  • Respond to those who tag or mention you.
  • interact with other authors and bloggers,
  • share other people’s posts
  • promote your own work (in moderation)
  • Take the opportunity to exchange ideas, or pinch some it your think they will work for you.
  • If groups are on the platform join two or three where your work fits – Romance Writers, Review groups etc. Bear in mind this will add extra time.
  • Use tags when posting to identify an author or blogger you are sharing in the comment etc.
  • Take it step by step, my network is nearly ten years in the building and please consider my network yours. If you are on Twitter – go to my profile page – click my followers and scroll down. Any authors you are not following.. click the button and in most cases they will follow you back.
  • If I tag you in a comment on Twitter of Facebook when your post has been shared from my blog, pop in and say thank you to them and if you are not following them click the button. If they are generous to me they will be to you.  And you will have found another potential reader of your books.
  • Have fun… I still am..

I hope that this post has given you some ideas of how you can promote your blog or books on social media and how to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with being online..

 

In the next few weeks I will be promoting the new Author Interview series so keep your eyes open.

©Sally Cronin 2021

Sally Cronin is the author of fourteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another thirteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry. Her latest collection, Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet, reflects on the absurdities and sometimes tragedies that drop into our lives.

As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of promotional opportunities in the Cafe and Bookstore Free Book Promotion. on her blog and across her social media.

After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.

To discover more: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and Sally Cronin

 

Thanks for dropping in and I look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Social Media Shenanigans, Spring Flowers, Mexican Getaways, Italian Food, music, humour and Fabulous Guests


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.

Firstly, an update on the Facebook debacle which only gets worse I am afraid. I know that several of you have been hit by blocked posts that contain links and are still having issues. I can comment, and share posts internally on Facebook but post links are still being blocked.

Disturbingly today that included the link to Debby Gies Sunday Interview which I sent to her in a Direct Message… supposedly private! It was blocked and in bold red told me that it did not meet community standards. I have appealed of course but it does have a warning for us all. Do not disclose private information in a direct message. For example if as they say Facebook is selling our data to health insurance companies, and we mention in a private message about a health issue we have to a friend, and then apply for insurance! Does that sound paranoid? Probably. What about your email address that you send in a message, or your postal address and the dates you will be away on vacation.

I had no illusions about Facebook but they have now embarked on a wholesale censorship programme that is unacceptable. They want you to have a page where they can bombard you with messages to boost your post to thousands of others at a cost. And they want to encourage you to buy from one of their advertisers and when you do, by all accounts you never hear the last of them.

I have friends and family on Facebook and I can at least for the time being share your posts from there. But over the next few weeks as MeWe grows and develops mewe.com/i/sallycronin and the author’s group which now has nearly 50 members https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout – I will be only using Facebook sparingly to stay in touch and to share others work internally. Eventually, I will be closing my account as I won’t be blackmailed or have any more of my private messages intercepted.

On a brighter note.. I have done the sums and the statistics show that the referrals to the blog is approximately 10%…thankfully most of those who share from Facebook are also contacts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites that I am a member of such as MeWe. My main concern was for the book promotions that I post for other authors but after two weeks there has been no change to the response which is a relief.

Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all the shares to FB from here in the past, but I have now permanently removed the share button, as I don’t want you to be faced with messages from FB telling you that it is not allowed. They are intimidating and offer not recourse so I am done.

And as an aside.. new users are asked for a photograph before they are allowed to sign up for an account. It can take several days to get back to you. But in the meantime with facial recognition they can have mined a great deal of information about who you are and your history online. Whilst this does mean that the fake generals and other trolls will not be accepted, it also means that they can pick and choose who they admit to the site and if you do not fit their profile as a potential buyer of the advertising that they send your way… who knows where it will lead!

It is now affecting millions of users and you might find this post interesting sourced by Carol Taylor: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/135476927/posts/1232

On with the posts from the week, and as always I am very grateful to the contributors who spend time and a great deal of effort to write columns and guest articles.

Welcome to Debby Gies March edition of her Travel Column where she shares the first part of her trip and two month vacation in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.. and the flight did not go as planned!

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-puerto-vallarta-mexico-part-one/

This week Paul Andruss shares the bulbs that will make your late spring garden abundant with colour.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-light-up-your-life-with-brilliant-late-spring-bulbs-3/

This week my guest is regular contributor non-fiction author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who reveals her contents of her purse, fashion sense, strangest dream and her love (hate) of the vacuum!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-d-g-kaye

This week Silvia Todesco shares a fabulous recipe for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod which has to be a family favourite..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-silvia-todesco-italian-cookery-oven-baked-bacon-wrapped-cod-fish-light-crunchy-and-so-good/

This week we look at the health benefits of honey… and Carol Taylor uses this as an ingredient in some stunning dishes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-health-rewind-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-honey-nectar-of-the-gods/

A new series looking at ‘One Hit Wonders‘ from the 1950s onwards….this week ‘Lollipop’ by Ronald and Ruby…who were they, were are they now?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-music-column-new-series-one-hit-wonders-lollipop-ronald-ruby-1958/

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-how-to-succeed-in-life-by-sally-cronin/

A further look at the rights as laid down by the United Nation that we should all be entitled to, but have an obligation to protect.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-our-rights-to-personal-freedom/

It is March 1986 and we drive back from Atlanta in one day.. and attend a BBQ cookout in Conroe Texas, this is my letter home to my parents in the UK.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-road-trip-atlanta-houston-and-bbq-cookout-1986/

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills involves a chisel…as a noun or a verb… you will also enjoy Charli’s description of the thaw that is occurring on her finger (or thumb) that reaches out in to Lake Superior- here is my response – The Dancer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-the-dancer-by-sally-cronin/

Before you Get Started on your weight loss programme– Managing People, Environment and your expectations

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-before-you-get-started-managing-people-environment/

This week Balroop Singh shares her experience of arranged marriages and her own happy relationship.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-why-i-married-at-23sometimes-we-do-make-wrong-decisions-by-balroop-singh/

This week Darlene Foster finds and visits the grave of her great-great-grandmother.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-a-special-resting-place-by-darlene-foster/

In this post Jennie Fitzkee shares the connections that she was able to make between reading Little House on the Prairie and her own grandfather from a similar era and his experiences of mining.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-one-picture-for-a-thousand-words-by-jennie-fitzkee/

This week Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful poem that she wrote on 9th of February 2017 which was her sixteenth Wedding Anniversary…

wedding-photo-1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-contrasting-colours-a-poem-for-my-wedding-anniversary-by-robbie-cheadle/

Sharon Marchisello shares the strategies that her mother employed to make the most of every penny.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-remembering-my-frugal-mother-by-sharon-marchisello/

Bette Stevens shares a moving poem in tribute to her mother.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-poetry-thank-you-mama-by-bette-a-stevens/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-how-dare-the-birds-sing-book-one-in-the-love-and-fate-series-1-by-marina-osipova/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-a-very-special-house-by-thea-ramsay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-special-price-the-princes-protege-the-five-kingdoms-book-three-by-deborah-jay/

Author Updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-john-w-howell-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-and-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-offers-joy-lennick-olga-nunez-miret-diana-j-febry-and-richard-dee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-6/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-7/

Thank you very much for all your support and I would love to hear from you about any of the posts or if you would like some book promotion. .Have a great week.. thanks Sally.