Social Media for Aspiring Authors. A semi serious introduction.

Social Media for Aspiring Authors. Level 1

Social Media has evolved incredibly in the last several years. There are rules and there is etiquette. No one likes rules, especially steak houses pretending to be Australian, so I hear. I have studied many of the heavy hitters especially as it relates to Twitter since this it seems is where authors should be spending most of their social media effort. Everything in this article can be found numerous places elsewhere, and it is more etiquette than anything else, I just felt compelled to boil it down as I have experienced it. I realize the people who could most benefit from some of these tips will never take the time to read it here or elsewhere. They are too busy filling our feeds with a continuous stream of...

If someone shares your content, don't ignore them. It's like receiving a compliment and walking away. Look at the ocean of tweets, blog posts, articles, etc....its everywhere. Someone took the time to read and or share something of yours with their crowd, don't be rude.

If you are going to ignore all the advice against setting up an auto-responder for your new followers and further ignore all the wisdom against hitting up your new followers right from the start- Don't expect to make friends. You are annoying. Back in the days of  landlines (telephones) people would call at dinner time to solicit for something. They would try to sell you windows, siding, long distance phone service, politicians, was an awful time in communication history. You are that annoying sales call.

If you are going to set up an auto tweet and make technology work for you, yay. Social media can be a time vacuum if you let it. Not so fast, you set up this clever autotweeter and don't reply to the tweets at all? To use another phone analogy, you called me- I answered and you hang up. In the days before caller ID this was fun but today you have just become the robot version of the telemarketer described in the paragraph above. Don't ignore your interactions.

Don't continuously solicit your followers. There is a percentage of your posts which can reasonably be expected to be solicitation. It should be wayyyy less than 100. The number varies from expert to expert but I have never seen it more than 30. I think the experts I trust would put it at 10%. If you are soliciting with more than 10 percent of your posts, you are essentially spam. I am not talking about the delicious canned mystery meat, you are the irritating type.

I am a firm believer in the follow back, sort of firm that is. Its not a good idea to follow everyone, more on that later. Don't ignore your followers.  I lose interest in people who don't follow back, especially if I have shared their content more than once. One time I handed a beggar some money, he took it and ran away without so much as a thank you. I think this guy has a Twitter account now and this is how he has carried his behavior over to the internet. I am not famous so I cannot just set up my account, follow no one and develop this huge audience off my fame. I live in the real world and am really more interested in two way communication. If someone shares, retweets, tweets or interacts in some other way- I am inclined to follow, retweet, tweet, favorite, maybe even smile. But I am also the guy who says hello and waves to strangers, what's wrong with being nice? Seriously why not? Read on I will tell you why.

Here is the caveat.

Clean out your fake followers once in awhile with unfollowers or something similar. Believe it or not there are nefarious people out there who are willing to abuse your generous follow back policy to induce what I will call fake follows. They follow you, but get this, after you follow back they sneak out in the middle of the night like an embarrassed one night stand. It makes me feel cheaper than I am. And I am really cheap. I don't like it. Ultimately they add clutter to your feed. There are companies which provide these shenanigans as a paid service. If you are interested in simply building up those who follow you, so you can appear famous, this is a good inexpensive approach.

Don't be a fake. Good grief. I wont even go too deep here. 

Don't buy followers, whatever you do, don't follow back a follower seller. They all use the same banner picture and an avatar usually of a real person. They are part of a government experiment which went bad, something to do with swarm technology. You follow one back and it sends a message back to the hive which draws the swarm to your account. I once got a hundred some followers within a few minutes time, they all disappeared within a day, most were shut down by Twitter itself, but I learned my lesson.

These are just the basics which I have learned first hand and can support with multitudinous articles written by much more skilled people than myself. The thing that surprises me is how many people ignore the basics. If you are really looking for more information, its all out there. Marc Guberti ( seems to do a great job providing quality content and help for social media. If you want to go deep and learn from a young master check out his blog.