My Musings on Social Networking

I haven't blogged in awhile.  I've been busy with social networking.  I've been managing my other blog,  I've been busy promoting my newest release, Upon Your Return.  I even ran an official print release event on Facebook for it.  All of this, of course, with a side job.  So this may come as no surprise to any of you if I say...well, I'm exhausted.  LOL.

I have a love-hate relationship with social networking.  Some days, it likes me.  Things flow smoothly.  Other days, it really doesn't.  My numbers are good.  I have 1501 connections on LinkedIn and 1105 followers on Twitter.  I have 1127 friends on Facebook.  My author page has 359 “likes” and my book page has 255 “likes”.  This isn’t even counting my other pen names.  This is only my Marie Lavender accounts I’m talking about.  So, hey, I’m making good progress, right?  I guess what I meant when I said “love-hate” with regards to social networking was this…rules suck.  This pretty obvious statement sums it up to a tee.

I promote, promote, promote.  I blog personally when I can.  I have guest bloggers.  I do interviews, both with authors on my blog and interviews on other sites to promote my book.  I do guest blogs on other sites.  I run events.  I just…try.

Well, getting the word out on a limited or, really, no budget is hard.  So, I do what I can.  I post on LinkedIn.  Then I have some good responses like, “Hey, that’s great.  I loved this article!”  And that’s really exciting, right?  No, it really is.  And I love hearing that.  Then there are other people who direct message me with a nice statement about how “check out” is a really stupid phrase to use and could I please take a look at the group rules before posting?  Or…“please don’t advertise your book here…it will just get deleted.”  

Group rules.  Who thinks of this stuff?  Well, apparently, LinkedIn thought it would be funny to allow moderators the ability to do that.  And that’s great.  For them.  Not for authors like me who somehow have to get their name out there or have to somehow help other authors.  And I agree that with some groups posting the same ad over and over again can get monotonous.   “Hey, we offer such and such service.  Don’t miss it!”  This repetitive spiel is bad.  So I totally understand.  But, I’m hardly repetitive.  Each posting is about an new author or new article or new interview.  Well, you get what I’m saying.  I guess I’m just venting, but it is really hard to get yourself out there.

And then there’s Facebook.  You have like, thousands of friends.  You have tons of likes so that means you should have “followers”, right?  No.  Not really.  When you post something and look at the stats, you have only managed to “reach” like 20 people.  Twenty as opposed to however many should be seeing it.  Wow.  And you know what boosts it?  Oh, the age-old thing called money.  So, let me get this straight.  We have to “pay” Facebook to make an impact?  Oh, that’s right.  Because nothing in this world is free.  How could I have forgotten that?  So, why didn’t I just go with advertising?  Well, because that, my friends, is expensive.  Facebook ads can run anywhere from $1 to $50 per day.  Yeah, I said that.  Per day.  So, I would have to pay out at least $30 a month to penetrate a market that really should be free.  People don’t get on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or even Pinterest to pay a fee every month.  They get on there to “social network”.  Well, before I get into a raging tirade, I better move on to something else.  Say…Twitter.

Oh, Twitter.  It’s beautiful if you spend 24 hours a day in front of your PC.  Retweet, post, retweet, post, get a little creative, post, reply to a witty remark, reply to a lovely quote, reply to someone’s suggestion on what movie to see, retweet, post.  Okay, I think I’m getting dizzy.  Follow a ton of people.  I have.  Should I have?  Well, I have a lot of followers now.  But, are they all following me?  Well, no.  Then you have to ask yourself, “Should I unfollow someone, and will that have a major impact?”  Possibly.  See, the problem is that Twitter likes to freeze you.   They block you from following anyone else at around 2000.  From there, you have to boost your followers until you can follow any more.  So, I am just staying where I am.  I’ve followed who I’ve followed.  I’ll do what I can to have them follow me.  But, if they don’t, what can I do?  If my numbers change and I’m able to follow more, great!  If not, I guess I’ll just keep doing the Twitter thing.  Hopefully that helps.  

I am selective about what I retweet.  If it appeals to me, I do it.  I am not going to retweet every silly thing people say.  Like, “Hey, FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW I SWEAR I FOLLOW BACK FOLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOW”.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve seen that.  All I can say is…wow, and move on from there.  But, if something is really interesting, catchy or worth retweeting I will always do it.  I reply to people’s tweets when I am moved to.  Sometimes it’s even fun!  And if one of my followers sends me an entirely inappropriate suggestion or asks for a random hookup, I don’t hesitate to…ha, you thought I was gonna say, go for it?....unfollow.  Because I don’t have time and I really don’t have the inclination to deal with juvenile comments.  Not to mention it is embarrassing and I’m in a happily committed relationship.  

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Rules suck.  Rules suck.  Rules…oh, sorry, I had a robot take over my body for a moment there.  Rules are no fun.  The world, unfortunately, is run by them.  There is no getting around them.  Rules are the building blocks of society, aren’t they?  Damn, that sucks.  I have always been the kind of person to want to knock down those kind of walls.  But, there’s really no way to get around these “rules” in social networking.  Just as you can’t get around certain rules in publishing.  Or in entrepreneurial ventures.  You have to follow certain steps to get a certain point.  Sure, you can step around some things.  But, there will be some things you almost have to do whether you want to or not.

Where am I going with this spiel?  Oh, yes.  Social networking can be a powerful tool if used properly.  But, it can be a real pain in the ass on the way there.  Did I say that?  Sorry, everyone.  Just venting.  These are all the downsides, of course.  

The upside is this…people.  Because I love my fans.  I do.  I love getting messages on Facebook from a potential fan interested in my books.  Or just talking to someone like a human being.  Because we all have problems.  We’re all human.  And  I love interacting with other writers and doing interviews with them.  I definitely love a lot of things about it.  It’s fun sometimes, that social networking thing.  If I could just get over the hurdles, the limitations these tools have in place, it would be different.    

Maybe when it comes down to it, I’m just exhausted.  Well, now I know why.  It’s almost four a.m.  DUH.  I think I’ll call it a night.  Goodnight, fans, and good luck to those of you who use social networking to promote your books.  It’s a hard road.