I’ve been active on social media as an author for a while now. I originally got Twitter and WordPress to promote my books and connect with writers/readers. Instagram is something I got to share my love of pictures; I also have an author account for Bookstagram purposes. Overall, I’ve had a good experience with the apps. Protecting your energy is huge when using social media sites. I’ll share some of the things that have helped me make use of social media without feeling burnt out by it.
- Know when to take a break. If one app is eating too much of your time or the comments/messages are getting to you (or any aspect of the app stops being enjoyable), feel free to log off and step away for a day or two. I view social media as a tool – it either inspires me or I use it to share some insights/book promotions. It’s meant to be fun yet professional. So if it ever gets to be a bit much, I’ll take a break and not visit it for a day. Some people will deactivate their accounts if they’re feeling drained by an app. Also, if I feel a venting mood coming on, I try to log off before posting a bunch of negative thoughts. Sometimes I do vent online, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Everyone has their own things they’re dealing with so I like to keep social media fun and light-hearted overall.
- Follow accounts that add something good to your life. If it doesn’t inspire, motivate, or make you happy, you don’t need to follow that account. If it violates your values or makes you unhappy, you can mute or block that account so it doesn’t pop up in your feed. Different apps have different settings and some allow you more control over what you see than others. Either way, please don’t feel guilty about not following someone back. Sometimes you have to be selective for your own health.
- Block people who drain you. I used to give people who bothered me a second or third chance. I’d post warnings letting people know that DMs and unsolicited advice will be blocked pronto, but they would keep happening. I block accounts when they bother me. I’m not talking about one comment where they don’t agree with me 100%, though if it’s disrespectful I will likely put an end to it right there. I’m not online to debate with people. I have my accounts to share ideas, support others, or share my work. If someone pesters me, I’ll block them. I’m not sure why this bothers some people. I am only one person so I have to take care of my energy. I’m also wary of DMs, so if I give someone a chance only for them to say something very rude, they get a block. I don’t have time for disrespectful people. If you have been blocked before, maybe ask yourself what you said or did prior to being blocked. Sometimes someone will block you for seemingly no reason, but be assured there was a reason why they did it. Leave them alone, don’t overthink it, and move on with your life. People are allowed to have boundaries, especially on social media where it can get overwhelming.
- Be respectful. I assure you that the chances of you getting blocked or reported will be close to 0% if you remain respectful to others. That means giving people space, not debating with people, not pushing for someone to message you back, not being creepy, etc. Remember that the people you’re interacting with are human. If they post things you don’t like, maybe you should make use of the mute or unfollow button. Don’t post snarky things on someone’s positive posts, either. Never assume someone else has it easier or better than you. Let people have their nice moments, because life is challenging for everyone. If you leave supportive, kind comments on people’s posts, basically no one’s ever going to dislike you for it. Give people space and be respectful so your social media experience will be great.
- Don’t worry about followers. I’ve had a nice natural growth with my accounts over the years and I love it because it’s mostly with genuine accounts. Some people stress about getting huge follower numbers right off the bat and they end up with 20K yet no one buys their book or interacts with them. Post things that are authentic to you and the right people will follow. It takes time to build an audience and there are things you can do to reach more people, so don’t let the numbers consume you. Social media followers don’t always translate to book sales.
- Retweet/share other people’s work. Helping people makes us feel good and it creates a positive experience for everyone. You can make new friends online this way and this support as an indie author is very important. We’re all in this together. Support people when they have success so that they can also support you when your turn comes.
- Celebrate milestones and small victories. When you reach a new milestone, celebrate it and thank all of your followers! You can host a giveaway to help give back to your supportive community or do a Retweet hour. Receive good news? Share it! Did you get your first book royalty cheque or receive a great book review? Tell people about it. That energy can help keep the app a great place.
- Have a direction for your account. I think one of the reasons why my social media sites have been around so long is that I got them for specific purposes. I have directions I want to take my creativity so the apps I use will help with that. If there’s no real purpose for something, it’s easy to lose inspiration or direction and get bored with it. Using the sites that support something you’re passionate about will make them more enjoyable.