Today I have a guest post from my lovely writer friend Sarina Langer all about Social Media Etiquette and I am so excited to share this with you. I'll let Sarina take it from here;
There's no denying it - social media is everywhere. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are immensely popular, so businesses using at least one site for marketing purposes was the logical next step.
Writers count amongst the people who use social media to advertise and promote their novels.
Because it's so easy to use, it's also all too simple to post without thinking. When we talk to people face to face we try to be polite and get along - there are manners we were taught that we try to adhere to - yet on social media sites it's much easier to be rude or say something you can't take back so easily. Everything you'd regret or wouldn't think to say in real life - at the simple click of a button!
It's because social media is pretty much unavoidable these days that it's important to remember a few social graces. After all, while we may not talk to the other person face to face, they're still people, and we need to remember to treat each other like it.
While this isn't professional advice and shouldn't be treated as such, it comes from a fellow human being who wants you to know that you don't have to beg, and that a little bit of your time can go a long way.
1. Don't ask me to follow you.
This is just as relevant for blogging as it is for other sites like Twitter. When you follow my blog or any other account, I will visit your site. If what you write about interests me I'll follow you back. If I follow a lot of blogs like yours already or I'm not interested, I won't. This isn't personal; I'm simply not interested in everything. If you blog about beauty tips, for example, then that's great but it's not for me. You'd probably cringe at my tiny supply of make-up and the state of my nails.
More importantly, saying something like 'please follow me back!' makes you look desperate. Would you rather have followers who are there because you begged, or because they are genuinely interested in your blog?
2. Don't send me an automatic message on Twitter.
This is my favourite pet-peeve and happens far too often. You're better than that. Why are automatic messages such a bad idea? Because they are impersonal (yes, even if you somehow manage to get my name in there) and because they are automatic. I don't come to social media to talk to a machine, I want to interact with other human beings. With you! Sending everyone who follows you the same
message gives the impression that you don't have the time to interact with people yourself. Rest assured, we don't need to be thanked for following you.
Sadly, sending automatic messages is often recommended by marketing advisers and even Twitter itself, but all it does is make you look desperate for attention. I know a lot of people who will unfollow you immediately if you send them an AM - I'm one of them. It's not the clever marketing strategy some make it out to be. I even had one AM telling me what the guy I just followed - for his content - was tweeting about!
3. Don't beg in general.
Don't post things like 'OMG I only need ten more followers until I reach 1K! Can I get 11 in ten minutes?' If you're excited that's fine. You're allowed to celebrate. I'm not criticising people who are ecstatic that they've reached however many followers! But please don't use the opportunity to beg for another few. You've already made it to 990, I'm sure you'll get another ten soon enough.
4. This is more relevant to blogs, perhaps.
If you're the reader - comment, it makes the blogger's day to see the little speech bubble icon turn orange; if you're the blogger - reply to comments; having a chat with your readers is THE best part of blogging!
I know a lot of you prefer to read and enjoy, and then leave. That's fine; not everyone likes to send a comment to someone they don't know. Before I started blogging I didn't comment, either. However, since I've started I've realised how much just one comment can mean to the writer, so I try to comment on everything I read. It doesn't always work because I don't always have the time, but if I have a spare minute I'll say something, or at least like your post.
There are other ways to show your appreciation, too! The easiest way I can think of is to like a post, but you could also reblog it if you really loved it and if the post fits your blog.
5. Don't spam me with your book.
If the only thing you post is 'My book is out NOW, go buy it NOW, it's AWESOME and you NEED it!' I'll be gone faster than you can say 'book' again.
This doesn't happen too often (or maybe I only follow awesome people?) but I did have one or two writers I followed who posted nothing but, and they posted it twice a day. Not only that, but it was the exact same message every time, so it was either automatic or copied and pasted. As I already mentioned above I don't want to follow robots, I want to follow people, so I left.
6. Responding to feedback.
This can be summarised very easily: Respond, even if only in a small way, to good posts, and ignore the negativity. You don't want to be that author who gets defensive every time someone says they didn't like your book. It doesn't matter if you're a writer, painter, photographer, or in any other artistic profession - there'll be people who don't like what you do, some might even hate your work, and you have to accept that. It comes with the job.
You do, however, want to respond to good feedback! A few weeks ago I posted on Twitter and Instagram that I loved Six of Crows, and Leigh Bardugo retweeted it and liked my posts! It might seem small and insignificant, but a lot of writers don't take the time. I find it incredibly endearing when a famous writer, who definitely has more important things to do than respond to my tweet, makes time for their readers. It creates a connection between you and your readers. So retweet the praise, repost pictures of people hugging your book on Instagram, maybe even say a few words of gratitude - your readers will really appreciate that you took the time, and they won't forget it.
Did I mention that the interaction is the best part of social media? Writing is often thought of as a solitary experience, and for the most part it is, but you don't have to walk it all alone. Social media is your gateway to connecting with your readers, who will love chatting with you, so why not have a look and see what social media can do for you?
If you're already obsessed with all things Twitter https://twitter.com/sarinalanger, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sarinalangerwriter/, Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/sarinalanger/ and Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15230729.Sarina_Langer like me, feel free to connect with me, too - I do love to chat!
Thank you so much, Rhianne, for having me. I'll stick around for a while in case you want to ask us anything, or if you just want to talk, so ask away!
Thanks Sarina, got any questions for her? Comment below!