Spend more time on writing and less on social media. There. I said it. I mean it.

queen blowng her own hornFacebook,Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google + can suck your precious time. I see many authors use these social media platforms like megaphones to shout out into the wilderness “Buy my book!”

One author, who shall remain nameless to protect his guilt, spent four hours one evening spitting out such Tweets without any engagement online. His frustration mounted when he got no response from his more than 10,000 followers.7K0A0686

“So if you’re not going to buy my book, why the [bleep] are you following me?” he tweeted. Awkward moment. Then deep silence. An invitation to Unfollow. Not a guy with whom I feel inclined to engage in conversation. Why are people on Twitter (or Facebook or any of the social platforms)? To engage in public dialogue.

7K0A0664You are wasting time and energy if you aren’t making any real human connections and engaging in meaningful conversations.7K0A0669

Too many authors embrace social media marketing and then scramble like kids holding joysticks while playing a video game trying to score points. They mistakenly think the goal is increasing the numbers of followers, fans, friends, and tweeps. It is not.

7K0A0426It is about finding community: a social unit that shares common values.

Social media can be effective tools in pulling people to your writing by driving new traffic to your website and blog. They can also be a huge time suck. And the bottom line is that the rate of return on your investment goes down, not up, the more time you spend on social media.earphones and computer teddy

The illusion of “free advertising” has the hidden expense of your time. Some make the mistake of thinking the more times they run their advertising message about their book, the more they will increase sales. Think about it. The more times Tom Fucillo yells “HUGE” into your livingroom while you are watching the local TV news, are you more or less inclined to rush out and buy a used car from this guy?

To help you get more bang for your buck on social media, let me suggest the following tips and techniques.

  1. Spend 10% of your writing time on social media. This includes writing your blog.
  2. Respond and reply to create real conversation and personal connections.
  3. When you mention someone else, their research, or their book in your blog, notify them with a personal email containing a link.
  4. Four out of every five status updates should be about something other than you or your book.
  5. Use your author accounts on GoodReads and Amazon to market your books. This is where readers go to search. Most people don’t use Facebook or Twitter to be bombarded with “buy my book” messages.
  6. Leave comments on others’ blogs if you hope to get comments on your own. Today fewer readers leave comments, so expect to leave 10 comments for each one you hope to receive on your own blog.
  7. Spend as much time adding the people you already know to your social media networks as looking for new friends and tweeps.
  8. Provide something of value to your readers. Inform. Entertain. Excite. Educate. Include photographs and links to related material.
  9. Ask something of your readers besides buying your book. Get them invested in your success.
  10. It is more important to blog routinely than often. Blog no more than once a week and no less than once a month.

6 thoughts on “Ten tips for building an audience platform

  1. Hi Jill,
    I am a social media friend of Elaine Mansfield, which is how I found my way to you. I enjoyed your personal blog, which led me here. I shared this article and downloaded a couple of your freebies.
    Thank you for all this good information and exceptional writing.

    • Hi Patti, Thanks to Elaine Mansfield for putting you in touch. So glad you found the site and thanks for downloading some of writer resources. I found your site and start reading some your memoir posts. We have so much in common, I look forward to reading, writing and talking more. And I appreciate your kind words about the information and writing. Jill

  2. Great tips here, Jill. I know from personal experience that is very easy to get too caught up in social media. Putting our efforts into our true message on our blog will attract more followers in the end, I do believe. Thanks!

    • Hi Cathy, thanks for reading these tips. The best tip is to write something worth reading that pulls an audience, instead of pushing a message. I agree with you that putting your efforts into the message instead of the gadgetry will attract more readers. I appreciate your feedback.

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