The Secret Etiquette of Facebook Posts: 8 Rules You May Be Breaking

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Facebook Posts

Every social network has its own inherent culture and etiquette. If you want your Facebook author page to act as the fan-building machine it’s capable of being, you must know how to navigate the unwritten rules of online interaction. Such as: Is it okay to put up a quick, short post when you’re pressed for time? Or, should you attempt to reason with negative online trolls? Knowing the right etiquette for every situation will help you connect with your audience and build your fan base.

8 Etiquette Tips for Successful Facebook Posts

Keep it friendly. Use a courteous, inviting tone in your posts to engage your readers and fans. Thank people for their comments and be approachable. Remember to avoid swearing or making rude statements. A warm personality can go a long way toward gaining fans.

Avoid polarizing topics. Unless your work encourages political discussions, or your online persona embraces a shock-jock mentality, don’t post controversial opinions about hot-button issues. You might risk losing followers based on an unpopular point of view.

Stay positive. Nobody wants to follow a grumpy, bitter, or mean writer (unless it’s a comic shtick or you’re a grumpy cat!). Always try to put a positive spin on whatever you’re posting about, despite how you may really be feeling.

Don’t be obscure. Try not to post vague, angst-driven material on your profile—you want readers to understand what your posts are about. If visitors feel like your topics are over their heads or too hard to decipher, chances are they won’t stick around long. Being clear and concise in your posts allows readers to feel connected to you and your writing.

Choose images wisely. Images are a great way to liven up your Facebook author page, but be careful about which images you choose to post. Don’t put up any photos or illustrations that might be considered offensive or inappropriate by your audience.

Share good news—but don’t brag. Of course you’re excited about your latest acceptance; what writer wouldn’t be? But you don’t want to start bragging about how great your writing is or how much better you are than other authors—no one likes a show-off. It’s better to stay humble, and show fans that you’re grateful for any opportunities and accolades that come your way.

More chatting, less selling. Remember: The key word is social media. Readers visit your author page to learn more about the person behind the writing. Selling your book is fine, but if all you post is…Buy! Buy! Buy my book! visitors will be saying “Bye-bye.” Being more personal and less promotional will also give you more to talk about and make it easier for you to post more consistently.

Be respectful. Every fan is entitled to his or her opinion—and some of them may not agree with you. Although it may be tempting to lash out at online trolls or to delete all criticism that comes your way, try to remain calm and react with moderation. It may be hard, but don’t take the negativity personally.

Authenticity and Facebook Etiquette

Some people complain that adhering to the unwritten rules of Facebook etiquette means that a writer can’t be authentic and real. And that’s understandable! But we like to think that writers can use Facebook as a lens that forces them to focus on the positive as opposed to the negative. Don’t lie about how you’re feeling if you have a head cold or wish your vacation were going better—after all, you are a human being and nobody expects you to be Mary Sunshine all the time. But DO try to tease out the most positive aspects of your life when possible. And if you need help, check out our book The Happy Writer for tips.

QUESTION: What Facebook etiquette faux pas do you see most often? What techniques work best?

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