Many authors have websites these days, but social networks are tools to help you make friends, follow other authors, agents, editors, as well as help you to build a reader base regardless if you are pre-published or a best seller.
While we can’t be all things to all people, there are many great places on the internet where you can connect with the right people. The most important thing is to do something that you enjoy. You don’t need to be on 15 different social networking sites to find people, use the ones you are comfortable with and can update on a regular basis.
I am no expert, but I’ve complied a short list of the main social networking sites people are using these days and hope you find the information helpful!
Facebook – www.facebook.com – Facebook is the new Myspace, for the older kids, some say. Facebook is an update status generated service. When you post information on your “Timeline” all the people you are connected with, in theory, will see your post.
On Facebook, you can add applications, poke people with cute avatars, add your interests in little display boxes, and find out who shares your likes and dislikes. While Facebook doesn’t have its own blog section, you can feed any blog into your notes section so your blog can be visible to any friends you have here.
Facebook also has groups and communities as well as “Fan” pages. The Pages also let you schedule your posts, just be sure that you are checking back during the day to respond to comments! The more you post here, the better your chances of growing a large audience in the future.
*Jenn Tip* Start creating lists. I have several: Family, Publishing Industry, Work Friends…etc. Having these lists can be a time saver and a life saver. In your status update section you have the ability to determine who can see your status updates. This is also helpful when you want to send messages to specific groups.
Twitter – www.twitter.com – Facebook has a status update section on your main page. This allows you to tell friends what you’re doing, ask a quick question, or inform readers of release dates, contests, etc. Twitter is a constant stream of status updates. 140 characters are all you get per post, but the instant interaction and feedback can be lots of fun!
On Twitter, you can follow people, follow trends using hastags (#), and communicate in a split second with anyone currently online in Twitter. Twitter also allows you to customize your page slightly, and gives you a 140 character private Direct Message to your friends.
*Jenn Tip* You can create lists on Twitter too. They are wonderful. Another tip, try not to re-tweet a dozen things at once. Use TweetDeck or Hootsuite to schedule a nice steady stream of data for your followers. Nothing is worse than seeing 20 RT’s from one person clogging up the time stream.
Goodreads – www.goodreads.com – “Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world.” Yep, that’s a true statement. This site connects readers with authors. Here, as an author, you can host giveaways & contests, upload excerpts, whole ebooks, videos, and even participate and create your own groups. Take your time learning about Goodreads if you are an author. An author has a special account and can also place ads on the site linking to your books.
Paper.Li – www.paper.li – Paper.Li is an online newspaper which collects data from your other social media outlets and puts it together on a cute webpage-in a news format style. It’s free and rather simple to set up. You can specify which type of data you want to include, who you want to include, and how often it is published online. Others can follow your online paper, and it can also be delivered newsletter style to anyone who follows you.
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com – One of the newer kids on the block, Pinterest, is quickly becoming the new online addiction. “Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.” Basically, Pinterest is an online bulletin/corkboard. Here you can create categories for your interests such as recipes, books, pictures, places, and more. When you connect to other users, you can view, “like”, and share images from one board to another.
*Jenn Tip* Pinterest can automatically update your Facebook/Twitter timelines. Be sure to turn it off if you are on here all the time otherwise every time you do something on Pinterest it will show up and clog your timeline.
Triberr – www.triberr.com – Triberr is a blog audience amplifier. This one is a little bit tricky, so it’s best to read the tutorials to get a full grasp on what it can do for you. However, here are a few things to know. 1. You must blog. 2. You must belong to a tribe. 3. You need to have Twitter. Triberr, via the members of the tribe you belong to, will send out Tweets alerting others to your newest blog post. Many writers groups & publishers are already taking advantage of this, but you can always join other tribes. Plenty of people are looking for “tribemates”.
*Jenn Tip* If you have a large tribe, you’ll have a lot of posts to approve. Make sure your settings are correct and you are sending the posts on a time delay. There is nothing worse than seeing 20+ Triberr posts in a row from a friend’s Twitter account!
Klout – www.klout.com – “Klout's mission is to empower every person by unlocking their influence.” I’m still learning about this one, but from what I’ve gathered, the more friends you have on Twitter and Facebook, and the more they interact with you, the better your “influence” Klout number is.
There are a bunch more out there like Tumblr, Google+, Get Glue, Scribd, some of which are strictly interactive sites, but others can be great tools for marketing.
The majority of the social media outlets above allow you to share data from one program to another. For example, on my Facebook Author Page, if I post there, it automatically goes to my Twitter, which in turns posts on my Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, LinkedIn (The business Facebook), My Blog & Website, as well as good old Myspace just to keep a presence there.
So one post from you can end up on a few different site, finding more people to connect with and helping you make new friends and readers.
Remember, when getting involved in any online endeavor it’s best to read all of the regulations, terms, and conditions associated with the site. Many of these networks also have FAQ sections so you can learn about all of their applications and services.
Feel free to add me as your “friend” I’m always happy to meet new people!