Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Social ME-dia: How to Lose a Reader in 10 Seconds or Less

Between Bruce Jenner and the Duggars I was about ready to say goodbye to social media.

Before that it was Fifty Shades, or the Kardashians, or Honey Boo. I lose track.

Why even bother with CNN or Fox? All that's needed is to glance at our twitter stream for a few seconds and we know all the "important" events of the day.

Social media. The emphasis on ME. Everything I "think" about every issue of the day matters. (Can you sense my sarcasm?).

 ONE QUESTION FOR EVERY WRITER: WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE BEHIND USING SOCIAL MEDIA? 

TWO QUESTIONS BEFORE EVERY POST:
1) IS THIS POST GOD-HONORING?
2) IS THIS POST A GOOD USE OF MY READER'S TIME?
3) IS THIS POST WHAT THE READER WANTS FROM ME SPECIFICALLY?

WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE BEHIND USING SOCIAL MEDIA?

First, where are you in your career? Are you pre-published? A debut novelist? Or multi-published?

Is your opinion relevant to your writing? Recently, it was the anniversary of the end of the Civil War. If you write novels about that era, readers will be interested in these events. You could include news articles or pictures and you don't even have to be afraid to mention your novel occasionally. I'll bite. Because if I read your books, chances are I love the Civil War time period and all that entails.

Is your feed for a few real-life friends or does it contain every person you ever met at ACFW 2013? Your real-life friends might care what you think about the Kardashians. It might be something you even sit at a cafe and chat about. But most of your writing friends don't. Even more than that most of your readers probably don't.

How much of your feed is spent on partisan issues, politics, economics, church issues, opinions on controversy. Although many care what's going on in these arenas, is your opinion helping them. Do you care what another writer thinks about these issues? How about your favorite author? If I follow a favorite suspense author, I don't mind hearing about their personal life a little bit or seeing some photos of their hometown. I really don't want to hear about who she's voting for, but I DO want to know what she thinks about what might be going on in the FBI right now (especially if she used to work for them).


What can YOU share with your reader on social media that nobody else can in quite the same way?

If your book features a star chef, I would probably like to see what you're cooking for dinner. Henry VIII plays a prominent role in your story, please share with me about that Tudor Faire you went to and the silly costumes you made for your family to wear.

Hopefully, your reader is already head-over-heels in love with your work, make them fall even deeper. 

Here are some brainstorming questions to help you get started in streamlining what you post on social media:

1) What topics do I know about because of my research that might be interesting to my reader or my future reader?

2) Who is the average reader of my feed? Why do they follow me specifically? (Ask yourself why you follow those you do).

3) What settings do my books contain that readers might be interested in knowing more about?

4) What other people might my reader be interested in? Don't be afraid to point to other bloggers, authors that your feed readers might enjoy.

5) Have I watched, listened to, or read anything that might be of interest to those who like the genre of book I write?

6) Have I participated in an activity or event that those who read my novels might be interested in? For instance, if you went to a police conference, your suspense readers might want to hear more.

7) Most of all, is this post just for MY interest? Or so I can say something I want to get out? Sure, you can share your opinion on Facebook. But keep in mind if you do so often enough, you may lose readers because let's face it. Most of us follow authors because we love their work, not because we care about their personal opinions.


Julia Reffner lives in central Virginia with her husband, two children and three ragdoll cats. She freelances and reviews for Library Journaand is a blogger at Wonderfully Woven.



 

 


7 comments:

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post, Julia! The questions for us to ask ourselves are spot on. And your suggestions for what to post help me. I have trouble figuring out what to post, so I usually just don't post anything. Which doesn't help

Thanks!!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Jeanne, I struggle with this, too and definitely post the wrong things sometimes. Glad it was helpful.

Mary Vee said...

What a timely post, Julia. I was just thinking something very similar today. You left us with great questions and great tips. Thanks!!

Angie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie said...

Great post, Julia!!! I am very careful as to which audience I share stuff with. I don't think that everybody needs to know my personal stuff. There is a smart way to use social media...and I am still learning, but I have been turned off of certain people's use of it!

Heidi McCahan said...

Great post! I truly want to share content that's appealing to my readers. Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what that is. Your post was an excellent measuring stick for some possible topics I'm stewing over. Like others, I'm still trying to get a handle on this whole social media thing.

Elizabeth Cooper said...

Great tips! I'm just trying to reorganize my social media and come up with a game plan. Sometimes the work of social media can seem so daunting in itself nwverminf coming up with posts