When I first joined Facebook I thought, “This is ridiculous. Who would ever do this?”
But I was told if I ever wanted to be considered by a book publisher, I better have an author platform. One of the foundational ways to build a platform is by using social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter.
So I grudgingly used my Facebook account. I logged in once a week to see what others were up to. But then a weird thing happened. I discovered I loved social media. I made real friendships online and looked forward to hearing from my “peeps.” I enjoyed getting ideas and opinions from people all over the world. I loved knowing what people were thinking and talking about. I looked forward to laughing, crying, and praying with my online friends.
As soon as I mastered Facebook, I noticed authors talking about something called Twitter. Twitter seemed overwhelming so I read a few books about it:
*Twitter Revolution by Warren Whitlock and Deborah Micek. I wrote about it here
I learned that Twitter is very different from Facebook. Twitter is a powerful tool for specific purposes such as checking how snowy the roads near Vail are, what Judge Belvin Perry is ordering Casey Anthony’s jurors for lunch, discovering what the police are doing near I-70, talking out loud to politicians and celebrities, and telling companies about their bad (or good) service.
As I settled into my social media routine, I saw my heroes adding tens of thousands of friends, so I did likewise. I added and “friend-ed” everyone who crossed my path.
It makes sense. We all want to be part of the group like this little guy:
My friends and followers list grew, but I dreaded getting on my computer. I didn’t know whom I was talking to, and I felt like I was being spammed when I wanted to relate. So one day I deleted all 800 of my Twitter friends and started over.
I carefully and deliberately chose which friends I would follow (now less than 100) and paid little attention to who was following me. Every few months I clean out my Facebook account. I unfriend lurkers, spammers, and people who spew their message but never interact. One thing I’m proud of is that people I interact with on social media are not strangers, they are my friends. I have found several benefits to cutting back:
- I am more eager to login to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- I have built relationships with my online friends, so when my book gets published I won’t be a nameless face spamming everybody.
- My friends and followers are more likely to pass my books, videos, and blog links to others.
- I’m interacting with people who share my interests.
- I’m filling a social need by relating instead of spamming. Research shows that people form communities on Facebook and Twitter in order to get social needs met.
More and more people, whose expertise I admire, are limiting the ways they interact on social media. As authors we are continually trying new marketing ideas, so we experiment, take risks, and try new things. I don’t know if the way I do social media is right for you…
Do you think more followers and friends are better? Why or Why Not?