By Pavarti K Tyler/ Part I was posted on the blog yesterday–read it here.
Social media marketing is all about perception and reputation. The moment you allow yourself to lash out or hit send after composing that diatribe against all reviewers, you’ve done yourself a huge disservice. In general, the rule is don’t reply to reviews, but sometimes I just can’t help myself, and I know you can’t either. So before you send that email, post that comment, publish that blog or let loose that tweet think about this: You are nothing special. You don’t get special rules or exceptions. You are no more or less than the hundred authors to your left, who have a hundred authors to their left.
So instead of risking everything, consider these four words: Authentic, Receptive, Thankful and Graceful.
If you can apply all four of those words to what you’ve written, go ahead and post, no matter what the rules say. Here’s why:
Authentic: Spammy, whiney, calculated writing is easy to spot. It’s kind of like art vs. porn—I know it when I see it. And so do your readers. They don’t want ad text and they don’t want perfection, what your readers want is you. Social media marketing is all about connecting with your following. If you allow yourself to become disconnected from it, your readers will turn off instead of feeling like they know you. Spoil your readers, share yourself and they will relate to you and become not just readers but fans who want you to succeed.
Receptive: You are not perfect and you are not special. I’m sorry if that seems blunt, but it’s true. You have more to learn, more to experience, more to regret and more to achieve. If someone has the audacity to point out something they don’t like or don’t agree with, take a deep breath and open yourself to what they are saying. That doesn’t mean assume they are right and you are wrong. It does mean, allow for the possibility that this point of view has something to teach you. Even if what they are saying is completely flawed, instead of dismissing it, consider the fact that someone felt this way and what you can learn from their impression because I promise you, if one person commented with something, 10 other people thought it but didn’t say anything. Every moment is an opportunity, open yourself to the possibilities presented and be receptive to what the universe is offering you.
Thankful: No matter what you write in social media, approach it with a sense of thankfulness and a smile on your face. You are lucky, you have the rare opportunity to reach readers directly. Not everyone will like what you do and not everyone will agree with you. Even more frustrating is that not everyone will understand. But no matter what, keep a sense of thankfulness about you. Even 5 years ago self publishing did not have the reach, respect and audience it has now. You have a rare opportunity and even traditional publishers and authors are looking to you to learn how to behave in this new world. In the words of my childhood ballet teacher, “If you can’t do it with a smile, you aren’t really succeeding.”
Graceful: When someone deals with a difficult situation, what we remember isn’t so much what was said about them as much as how they handled it. How many negative reviews of other authors do you remember? Now how many authors who responded to those reviews do you remember? Yeah, a whole lot more of those, huh? Especially if they embarrassed themselves in their response!
Taking the high road isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the only thing to do. Everything we do on social media is available for critique, so be prepared to stand behind every action and every word. Navigate your online presence with a sense of professionalism and when pushed into a corner, consider using a little charm, a smile and some flare to extract yourself with grace, leaving no victims in your midst.
Pavarti K. Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not busy working as the director of marketing at Novel Publicity she spends her time penning her next novel.