Whether it is Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google +, social media has invaded our everyday lives. Everyone hears about the latest books, feuds between authors, and leaks almost the instant it happens, so the way we present ourselves on social media is more important than ever. Interacting with your readers, handing positive and negative feedback, and becoming active in your niche without being promotional are just some of the important ways in which writers should handle social media.

Engage Your Audience

Engaging with your audience can be one of the most rewarding and best ways to gain readers and followers and getting your name and writing out there. It’s easy for many of us to forget that using social media is actually having to be social, which can be an art form unto itself. But not replying to your audience’s feedback, even if it’s just thanks, is one of the biggest mistakes you can do. Try keeping everyone interested in you without being too promotional, which means not alienating people or doing things to other people you wouldn’t want others doing to you. Showing your audience your personality, sense of humor, things that interest you or you are passionate about, are great ways to show your readers your voice and eventually getting them interested in your writing.

Minimize Self-Promotion

If a person is too self-absorbed or overly self-promotional, for many people, they are seen as annoying and are ignored on social media. Find that right balance of promoting, being self-deprecating, and curating content rather than creating it. Instead of promoting everything you write all the time, give yourself and your audience a break and share what others put on social media instead that you find interesting or is relevant to your genre to establish expertise. This includes videos, infographics, pictures, articles, and more. Curating your content not only makes sure that you are not overly self-promotional, but that you give yourself time to work on writing your book or articles, instead of spending time writing and creating content for social media.

Positive/Negative Feedback and Questions

Writing can be like a business. There are always going to be those that love your writing, but those that also hate your writing. On social media, you will have to deal with both, and like a business, not responding to it is one of the worst things you can do as stated in the Engage Your Audience section. Stated in the infographic, The Types of Social Interaction Businesses Might Encounter, by Ohio University, 70% of people say that a company’s response to a review can change their mind about the brand, and an author responding to feedback is no different. Answer promptly, be positive and polite, and learn from all of your reviews, especially the negative, and don’t dwell on them. Personalizing your response, as well as keeping it short to avoid sounding long winded is also important in your responses to your readers.

When it comes to questions from your readers, it’s also good to answer as soon as possible and as best you can, but questions can be difficult. If a reader asks personal questions or questions about your process, those are fairly easy to directly answer either with the actual answer, or an apology about how you don’t share that information. If it comes to answers about spoilers, characters, or things directly about your books, it might be good to tease or tell them their questions will be answered in the next book, or a potential interview coming up. Either way, the fact that you answered their questions shows that you care about them and what they have to say.

Don’t Stress About Numbers

Although it is incredibly easy to stress about how many Twitter followers you have, or how many likes you got on Facebook, worrying about the number will only stress you out. Just be yourself and honest with your readers and followers. If you are genuine in what you are writing and sharing with them, people will listen. It’s also good to think about the fact that social media is not your main profession, writing is. Although social media is good to have for marketing purposes and connecting with your readers, you don’t have to be involved with it 24/7. Answer questions and feedback when you can, occasionally share something interesting, and occasionally put up some of your writing/interviews/or other promotional items, and it will get to your readers and those that are interested in you.

Note: This is a guest post from Kerstin Stokes.