Five Ways to Make Your Social Media Better Right Now

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You’ve resolved to do better with your social media in 2013. But what does that mean? The trouble with resolutions — and the reason we so often fail to keep them — is they’re too broad and undefined. Be better. All right. How? Here are five ways you can improve your social media practices right now.


Hear me talk about social media engagement and building platforms at my workshop at Digital Book World Conference + Expo 2013 in New York on January 15: Bust a Move: The No-BS Approach to Building Engaged Communities with Social Media.

1. Set objectives.
Why are you using social media? If you’re about to say, “Because my publisher/boss/friend’s teenage daughter told me to,” that is not an acceptable answer. There’s a lot of talk about social media being this big, nebulous, un-measurable thing, but that’s not true. When you know why you’re going into social media, you should also be able to identify what you want to get out of it.

Set specific goals with metrics and deadlines. Get X Facebook followers by Y date. Increase pageviews by X% in Y time period. You get the idea. Track your progress, check in on your appointed deadlines, assess how your system is working, and make changes if necessary. For this to work, you also need to know what kinds of goals *don’t* work. Sell X books by Y date is a good general goal to have, but it’s not likely that you’ll be able to break out exactly how many of your sales came from social media. Pick a goal you can measure and get to work.

2. Define and develop a consistent voice.
Conceptualize social media as writing, not advertising, and create content with this in mind. Is your company’s personality playful? Irreverent? Serious? Write social content that reflects it. Act like a person!

If more than one person manages your social media accounts, develop standard practices to provide consistency for your fans and followers. Everyone who writes social content for your brand should be working from the same playbook. (For example, at Book Riot, social media is always written from a collective “we” voice, some cursing is OK, and we do not argue individual opinions from the shared account.)

3. Ask yourself, “Would this tweet/status update/pin/tumblr post make me want to click this link?”
Whether you’re promoting a product — be it a book, blog post, sprocket, whatever — or simply sharing something you found useful and interesting with your followers, remember that you are competing everyone else in their social streams for their eyeballs and attention. Be fun. Be engaging. (You know, actually talk to the people who follow you.) Give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle.

“This is a blog post I wrote. Please read it: www.blogpost.com” is NOT the razzle-dazzle. Would you click that link? I didn’t think so.

4. Don’t let the intern drive the bus.
Your company’s social media outlets are its digital face to the world. They’re your places to interact with your readers/fans/customers, to break your own news, and to convey your brand’s personality and values. That means your social media should be managed by someone who understands and has bought into your brand’s personality and values. Social media can seem fleeting; do not assume that means it is not valuable. Give the keys to a professional, and pay them for professional work.

5. Get OK with not being liked.
You want to build the largest audience possible. I get that. But having ALL the followers is not nearly as important as having the RIGHT followers. When you’ve done a good job defining your work and developing your voice, you’re not going to be liked by everyone. The sooner you get comfortable with the fact that you’re going to be unpopular in certain corners of the internet, the better. In fact, you want to be unpopular in those corners because the people who don’t get what you do are not the people you should invest time engaging with. There’s a great big beautiful internet out there. Find your people, give them the good stuff, and don’t worry about the rest.


Hear me talk about social media engagement and building platforms at my workshop at Digital Book World Conference + Expo 2013 in New York on January 15: Bust a Move: The No-BS Approach to Building Engaged Communities with Social Media.

About Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the associate editor and community manager of Book Riot, an online literary publication dedicated to the idea that writing about books and reading should be just as diverse as books and readers are. Since its launch in October 2011, Book Riot has built a social following of more than 60,000 - all organic, unpaid growth - through multiple social media platforms and has traffic approaching 500,000 monthly unique visitors.

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