Social Media: The Right Way to Do It

You want your followers to be this excited when they hear from you.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

On the way home from the library (yes, my husband and I go to the library together!), my husband was telling me about a musician he listened to on YouTube. He followed the guitarists Youtube Channel and since then has been swamped by messages, emails and ads from this particular musician.

He couldn’t tell me how many he got but what irritated him was that every contact was about something this musician wanted his followers to buy. Sometimes it was a recording. Other times it was swag. There might be concern tickets because, in spite of a global pandemic, you wouldn’t want to miss a performance by this “legendary performer.”

“It isn’t like Peter Frampton cleans his frets!”

Then we compared it to how Stephen King handles things. Now, I’m sure King has a publicist, but he also seems to be savvy about business. I follow him on Twitter and I get e-mails through his publishers. I don’t hear from King often – maybe once a week. I got emails about upcoming books. There is news when a book comes out in paperback or there is an audiobook. There are periodic freebies including previews.

But something that always catches my attention is when he recommends books by other writers. “While we’re waiting for me to finish this book, here are some great books I’ve read.” He isn’t just trying to get me to buy his books. He’s holding up other authors.

There are a few lessons in here about how to do social media right. I’m talking about social media in the broadest sense – e-mail, Facebook, blogs, Tweets, instagram, etc.

Don’t Just Promote Yourself

Don’t just hold up your own writing or other artistic work. Promote the work of other writers. Link to their books. Tell people when they are having a sale or giving something away. Which reminds me…

Give Things to Your Readers

Another great way to keep people coming back is to give things to your readers. For a children’s writer, this could include writing tips, teacher’s guides or free stories. You might provide activities to go with your books.

Be . . . Real

I was going to say be humble, but it is a good thing to tell people when you make a sale or win an award. But don’t refer to yourself in ridiculous terms. Legendary? Unappreciated gem? Please, just stop.

Let your readers call you these wonderful things.

The people who follow you want to know about your work. But they don’t want a hard sell every single time they hear from you. It is, as my mother would have said, unbecoming.

Be like Stephen King but, maybe, a little less scary.