The Merriam-Webster definition of social media is:
Forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)
There isn’t a guaranteed formula for social media success, but we can offer best-practice rules to make your social media use sane, enjoyable, and work for you.
- Do offer something useful, funny, entertaining or interesting.
- Do be authentic.
- Do have fun
- Do tell a story.
- Do use humour.
- Do learn from how other people do it .
- Do focus on your strengths – if you love making videos, YouTube or TikTok might work for you. If you love arguing about your subject, choose Twitter.
- Do show up regularly.
- Do share your successes.
- Do share praise for your work.
- Do be persistent.
- Do be social – talk and engage, build personal relationships.
- Do use your imagination. Each platform has its own approach to image, words and sound – create something interesting
- Do tell people about your process, your events, and milestones in your publication process
- Do protect yourself and only share what you are prepared to share.
- Do be prepared to try and fail.
- Do be open to new networks and new ways of doing things.
- Do consider paid promotions CAREFULLY.
- Don’t just dump info – “Here’s a blog post” “A link to my talk” “some musings on” – people will switch off.
- Don’t copy other people if how they do social media isn't you.
- Don’t just hard sell.
- Don’t blindly chuck money at a platform to advertise yourself.
- Don’t follow the herd – just everyone is hyping a network, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
- Don’t make it a burden.
- Don’t try to be perfect.
- Don’t overshare if it makes you uncomfortable.
- Don’t blindly copy others. Users respond to personality and authenticity .
- Don’t overly fixate on numbers – shares and likes are part of the story, not the whole story – a smaller audience who get you is better than a lowest common denominator audience who will never buy your book.
- Don’t lose hope if a network presence doesn’t work out
- Don’t blindly wade into arguments – it's destructive, toxic and never ends well. If something makes you angry, take a deep breath and go for a walk before responding.
- Don’t expect people to behave well: Remove non-constructive comments and promotions from others on your posts
- Don't be afraid to blow your own trumpet.
- Don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend social media doesn’t exist.