Monday, 26 March 2012

Tips for writers #3: Social networking

+ Twitter will help you keep in touch with established, loyal readers and may help you gain some more. However, chances are that a tweet will give you no more than a few seconds of fame before it is swamped by a deluge of competing posts, unless it leads to worthwhile content that other kind folk are willing to read and to retweet.

+ Don't go overboard with pure marketing on twitter, facebook or blogs, unless you can offer "added value" through previews of your work, special offers or decent freebies, so that your readers don't go away empty handed or feel short changed. Consider using a second twitter account to handle most of your marketing, using hashtags, to free your main account for more real and genuine interaction.

+ Tweetfests -- sending one tweet after another -- may annoy your readers and they may decide that enough is enough and unfollow or block you.

+ Running your own blog with worthwhile content is a great way of connecting with, sharing with and building readers. You can, of course, link to your blog from twitter and facebook. Intersperse your marketing with worthwhile content that you feel your readers will enjoy, appreciate and benefit from. Don't take yourself too seriously, and let your readers see that you are a sentient human being just like them.

+ Allow blog comments and pay attention to feedback you receive from readers. Express your gratitude. You may have to moderate comments and allow only registered users to comment, in order to keep out the inevitable spam and occasional hate.

+ Having your own blog will also get you into the search engine indexes so that others can find you.

+ Share the care and help other authors, especially new and independent authors who are struggling to establish themselves.

+ However, be wary of using "black hat" or "grey hat" marketing tactics to game the system in order to artificially get more links to your site, more followers, more likes or more friends, and to give a false impression of popularity. For example, reciprocal link exchanges may help you build up your readers, but search engines may impose a penalty on your page rank for what they consider to be "black hat search engine optimization (SEO)".

+ Above all, enjoy writing and interacting with like-minded folk. Good luck in your own endeavours!

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

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