Social media can be a time-wasting rabbit hole if you don't go in with a plan. But for many bestselling authors, social media sites are the heart of their marketing strategy, giving them instant personal contact with all of their fans on a daily basis. The way to get the best results from social media is to have a coordinated attack. Use it as a tool instead of a place for entertainment. Keep these three rules in mind whenever you're on Facebook or Twitter and you'll increase your reach while cutting down on the time you spend scrolling down the page.
Create Your Character
Your social media persona may resemble you, but don't think for a minute that it should be the real you. You've got flaws and opinions that your ideal fan don't agree with, guaranteed. Spend some time creating your author persona, working out the details like you'd create any character in one of your books. Use character sheets, interview your persona, or use any other method you can find to create a well-rounded personality that's close to your own but completely agreeable to your readers.
Always post in character when you're on social media, no matter what you're talking about. Use your character's traits and details to give you ideas about what to post and how to answer any questions directed toward her. Think of it like playing a character in a movie. Like the best actors, if you're really successful no one will ever suspect you're anything different in real life.
Post Every Single Day
You have to post every day to keep your account current and your readers and fans happy, but this doesn't mean just dropping in and chatting for hours at a time. Know ahead of time what you're going to post before you log on. Pick one interesting topic that's connected to your character's habits or hobbies and create a post for it, including an interesting picture. Save even more time by using a social media scheduling tool and creating all your posts for the week in one writing session. Set it to post at the time your readers are most active online and forget about it until the next week. Schedule two or three short sessions a week just to answer questions on your page. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and do as much as you can until the buzzer sounds, then log off until the next time. With this plan, your total social media commitment for the week shouldn't be more than two hours.
Everyone's got opinions, and you've probably got some strong ones on controversial topics. Your readers don't need to hear about them, though. No one ever won an argument on the internet. What people have done is lose fans by making posts about religion, politics or current events. You're on social media for marketing purposes, not to push your social agenda, so ignore all the fuss and keep your page and posts on topic. You're in charge of your page, so you're responsible for making sure the tone stays enjoyable. If some members insist on posting topics you don't want to hear about, block them from the page. Keep the conversation going in enjoyable directions by posting fun and interesting topics and questions. After all, trolls are everywhere online, but that doesn't mean you have to let them live in your world.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!