Monday, August 24, 2015

Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations for Social Media? Part XI, Social Media Basics for Writers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“I’m not getting any traction with social media,” is one of the complaints I hear a lot as I travel and teach writers how to connect.

There are a lot of reasons people feel this way, a few are legit, but most are just unreasonable expectations. Today I’m going to address the unrealistic exception for social media that many have.  

Unrealistic Expectations

The more time I spend on Facebook and Twitter, the more friends and followers I’ll have.  I’ve addressed this one several times, but I still hear it the most. Truthfully, after you’ve come up to speed on social media, spending more than thirty minutes a day on social media will trap you in the law of diminishing returns. This is a case of work smarter, not harder.

I’m spending time talking about my book, but my sales aren’t reflecting that. If you’re spending the most of your social media updates on yourself or your product, you’ve missed the point of social media. Social media is about building one-on-one relationships, it’s NOT an advertising platform. Building relationships will increase your reach and more people will hear about your book. THAT is where your increase in sales will come. Making your social media updates all about (or even one half about) you will drive people away and you may see a decrease.

Social Media is a fast way to increase my reach. Well…not so much. Like anything worth while it takes time—and consistency—to build a following. It took me about nine months to go from about seventy-five Twitter followers to one thousand. Then about a year to go from that to ten thousand followers.

I need to stay current with all the new social media platforms. Again, not really. The thinner you spread yourself, the shallower your reach. To get to the majority of your audience who’s on social media, you need to be on Twitter and Facebook. And you need to have a place where you are blogging regularly—that can be a personal blog or a group blog. If you find another platform you love (like Pinterest) find a way to work it into your thirty minutes a day.

I need to balance my time equally between Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. You do need to have a presence on all three, but you’ll find your own sweet spot. That’s where you need to concentrate your efforts. Do you have five thousand Facebook fans and only seven hundred Twitter followers? Then Facebook is your sweet spot. Spend the majority of your time there. Maintain an audience with the other two, but go with your passion. That strategy will always get you further. Beyond that, you’ll enjoy it more.

A social media platform is more important than anything to sell your book to a publisher. It is important, but without an excellent product (a well-written manuscript) it’s practically worthless. That’s another reason it’s so important not to spend more than thirty minutes a day on social media.

Social media isn’t a fast pass to a super Internet presence. As I’ve said before, anything worth having takes…well…work.

BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work at it. It can give you a distinct advantage when you’re looking for a publisher for your book, and when you’re trying to connect to readers for your book.

What expectations have you found that are unrealistic when it comes to social media? Do you struggle in a specific area—if so, share your thoughts in the comments section and we'll see if we can come up with a solution.

Don't forget to join the conversation

#Writers, do you have unrealistic expectations for #socialmedia - @EdieMelson has some tips (Click to Tweet)

#Writers, is your #socialmedia growing like you think it should? @EdieMelson shares insights (Click to Tweet)

If you've missed the previous posts in this series, here they are:


  1. Thank you Edie. Once again you have enlightened me. I practice your tips. I receive 5-8 new followers per day. I get added to about 3 lists per week. I just started using Hootsuite. It takes me about 30 minutes each morning to post my bookstore tweets and my blog. I throw a question in there also. I only check my social media 3x per day. I spend about 30 min total. I retweet, like, and thank my followers during that 30 minutes. You have truly helped me.

  2. I love this series of posts, Edie. They have been quite helpful. I'm unpublished (in the fiction arena) and am trying to work on my social media. I seem to be doing okay with Twitter - for what I expected anyway. It's slow, but it works. I would love to learn some more tips for Facebook. I'm having a heck of a time growing my author page. That arena seems a little lost to me. Again, I don't have any published books (well I have a piece in an upcoming Chicken Soup, but that's not the suspense I write, LOL) so I realize it will be harder to grow. Do you have newbie tips for social media?