This is some information I gathered on social media from the 2010 Volunteer Congress: Marketing Volunteers: Are we Selling the Unsellable? I thought I'd share it with you all. If you don't agree with it, that's fine. People do things differently and these are just industry recommendations from advertisers, marketers and radio personalities, not authors.
Social media is great to start conversations with a new audience so build the conversation, make it easy to get involved, ask some questions, and develop a web presence by being memorable and interesting. Listen to the conversation (on your blog and in others) so you can understand their thoughts, feelings, and the communication styles. Remember that people come to your social media site with a ‘What’s in it for ME?’ mentality. They want to know why they should spend valuable time and energy on learning more about you. Social media should generally be targeted so keep your writing blog separated from your personal blog unless you're sure that your audience will be interested in both.
Be willing to surrender control to your customers, to invest time, accept that your words may be misunderstood, be cautious when debating with critics (if you do it at all), and its generally a good idea to be polite and respectful toward your audience (though you can be irreverent towards your topics).
For those published authors who want to sell more books with their blog: Remember that selling is listening and problem solving. People buy from the people they like. It’s a recommendation economy and this is seen most clearly with blogs and Facebook where people can see your connections at a glance and choose to become connected themselves. Social media is a good opportunity to let your happy customers do the marketing for you. So remember, “At the heart of any worthwhile sale is a great conversation!”
What are the important things to consider in social media?
Challenges. (Why are you doing this? Why shouldn’t you be doing this? What are you worried about?)
Content. (Do I have enough? How long can I maintain this particular schedule? What would be a more feasible schedule? How can I improve, or increase, my content? What sort of content will I be putting out there? Plan ahead with your content, set standards, and stick to them.)
Communication. (What is the social etiquette expected in this medium? What sort of regularity can people expect from me? What sort of person do I wish to be and how can I reflect this through my communication styles?)
Connection / Conversation. (Don’t be afraid to make connections, build rapport, and get to know the people on your social media sites.)
Collaboration. (Remember, social media is about participation and not consumption. Social media sites are a collaborative effort. Surrender control – within limits – and understand that others are making a contribution whenever they comment or respond)
Conversion. (Be Fresh! Be Unexpected! Be fun! Be irreverent at times! Be provocative - but not too provocative. Have an idea! The more memorable you are, the more likely they are to become regular followers, but make sure you’re memorable for all the right reasons and not because of your rants about the underprivileged and how they should stop complaining.)
Put some thought into your public persona. People will start to develop a sense of who you are from how you speak and they will feel more comfortable if you respond in a consistent manner. What image do you want people to have of you? Do you want to appear to be an intellectual, a sophisticated academic, a laidback friend, or a motherly voice of reason? Do you want to be that critical person who says what everyone else is thinking with style and flair?
And remember, technology and the internet are a strategy, not a solution. If you want to be a writer, you must write.