Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wordcraft – How to tame the social media circus

Last week, Wordcraft reported on the social media strategies of Me Ra Koh, “photo mom” host of Disney Jr.’s “Capture Your Story”, as well as author of bestselling how-to books on photography of kids and family. Strenuous feats of blogging helped build her artistic career. Then came the Facebook monster, stealing her blog followers, or so she thought, before she built a new following on Facebook with posts that have reached hundreds of thousands of viewers.

So what does she have to say to authors about taming the circus of Facebook and other social media outlets?

The number one secret, as mentioned last Tuesday, is for authors (and other artists) to “know what you’re about beyond the book you’re working on. This is critical. I see people post things on social media, but there’s no heart.” Just as characters in a novel need a theme, authors need to recognize the theme of their own lives.

Instead of blogging five times as week as she did previously, she told her audience at the recent DFW Writers Conference, she now blogs only once or twice a week. The majority of her social media time is spent on Facebook. To work around the 5,000 followers limit set by Facebook for a personal page, she set up a professional Facebook page. This is as easy to do as a personal page. From the multitude of do-it-yourself options I found on Google, I liked the brief tutorial at Standout Books.

Ultimately, “It’s not how many people are following (you) as it’s how many people are being reached. The biggest mistake I was making was, I was only posting about myself. If Facebook sees that you never share anyone else’s content, they will never let more people see yours. I started posting four times a day, (finding) content I could share that was related to my theme.”

Posting four times daily? The secret is to schedule, Again, there’s plenty of advice out there about how to schedule posts, including DIY tips I found at the blog Constant Contact.

“I schedule a whole week’s work of posts in four hours during my least creative time of the day,” Koh said.

She also had advice about another demon of authors – Amazon – and how to attract readers who want to know about the writer as well as her book.

Of course, if you have a book, you’ll have an Amazon author page, right? Koh’s next must-dos include an author photo. Well, she is a photographer. But I’ve been surprised when visiting the Amazon pages of authors I admire to find several of them totally without photos. It’s not about being supermodel gorgeous; it’s about letting readers know what kind of person you are. Ditto for author biographies. And then, Koh said, you must have videos, “if only to have someone holding a smart phone in front of you and letting you talk.” In fact, Koh, whose mantra is “be the reckless beginner,” believes a homemade looking video imparts more credibility than a professional one.

Finally, we’re sitting there on Amazon with our book, but no reviews. Before her books were released, Koh said, “I told people on my blog and at every email address I had that I’m going to give away autographed books to the first 40 people who write reviews for me. Send me a screen capture of your review and who you want it personalized to. When a book already has 40 reviewers, people want to review it more. If you only have a handful of reviews, it’s hard to get more.”

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