Okay, so maybe today’s Millennials (ages 18-33) weren’t born pinning, posting, and texting—but there’s no denying that social media is second nature to this age group. For those of us who grew up in the “olden days” of rotary phones, floppy disks, and even (gasp!) Pong, social media platforms like Facebook might seem complicated, frivolous, or simply not worth the effort. But Facebook is an important element of an effective author platform. Writers of all ages are successfully navigating the ins and outs of social media—and you can too!
We asked Millennials what advice they’d give to Facebook newbies. Here are the best answers:
1. Be Professional, But Not Stale
Make sure you have a great profile picture and cover photo. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want potential publishers, agents, or literary journal editors to see.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be boring! Write engaging posts that will make readers want to come back for more. You can provide unique insight into a topic, share something inspiring you read recently, post a funny or ironic image or quote, and much more! Try to keep your text posts brief—a long block of text can turn people off.
You know the old saying: A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, on social media, images are priceless! Funny (but not rude!) photos are very popular on Facebook.
2. Don’t Overshare
Authenticity has high value in social media, especially when you’re trying to promote your writing. So be yourself! Post about books, events, and activities you find interesting. Let the world know what makes you tick.
Be careful, though! Sharing can quickly devolve into oversharing—a big Facebook no-no! Your fans may care about your favorite author or a memorable quote from a book you’re reading, but they might not appreciate an overabundance of posts about what you ate for dinner (unless you write cookbooks!) or about your town’s juicy gossip.
3. Interact, Post, And Comment Respectfully
Interacting with others on Facebook is the key to building your audience. Find Facebook pages you’re interested in and start commenting on the posts. Your comments should be constructive and polite—be sure to follow Facebook etiquette. It’s acceptable to disagree or to weigh in on debates, but do so respectfully.
Here’s the worst thing you can do on Facebook or any social media platform: be overly pushy and sales-y. Don’t post multiple sales pitches hawking your book. And never comment on other pages simply to beg people to like your author page. If you post comments that are constructive and informative, people will want to Like your page and learn more about you.
4. Don’t Try Too Hard To Be “Hip”
You don’t need to use Millennial slang or post about “young” topics to be relevant on social media. And it may fall flat if you don’t fully understand the nuances of what you’re posting.
Check out the trending topics on Facebook, but don’t comment on them just for the sake of seeming “with it.” Remember, it’s easy for people to sense when you’re not being authentic. If something resonates with you in the list of trends, you can certainly post about it or comment on other people’s posts on the topic. Otherwise, stick to topics about which you truly have something worthwhile to add.
Use hashtags (the # symbol with words) sparingly! The hashtags #reading, #bookworm, and #amwriting are great choices, but don’t overdo it! A few hashtags are enough to give your post some exposure, while too many might make people think your post is spam and keep scrolling. In fact, a recent BuzzSumo study shows that Facebook posts without hashtags perform better and reach a larger audience.
Whatever your age, Facebook is a great way to connect with similar-minded people and build your audience. And if you’ve been around long enough to have a wealth of life experiences, you have the advantage of having more fascinating fodder for writing interesting social media posts! The key is to know your audience, and follow some of these helpful tips from Millennials. Instead of grumbling, “I can’t even,” you’ll soon be posting, liking, and sharing like a pro!
QUESTION: Do you think Facebook is worthwhile for more mature writers?