How to Connect Authentically Online

We’ve talked before about social media for authors, our top 3 recommended platforms, and 4 best practices to maximize your outreach. These are great blog posts, Lindsay, you’re saying. Now how do I balance self promotion without coming on too strong? Well gather ’round friends, let’s talk about it.

How to Connect Authentically Online (aka Using Social Media for More than Pimping Your Book)

Using social media for more than just pimping your book is really simple: treat people online like real people. BE A NICE HUMAN. Seriously. That’s it, that’s the trick.

Repeat it with me now, fish are friends, not food fans/followers are friends, not customers. In fact, for the purpose of this blog post, I’m firing the words fan and follower. We are eschewing them from our collective vocabulary. The people online you’re trying to connect with are friends. Treat them accordingly.

Be Confident, Not Cocky

When it comes to making new friends online, nothing gets me to follow someone faster than them being authentically themselves, posting hilarious and relatable, behind-the-scenes, this-is-my-real-life-you-can’t-make-this-sh*t-up content. Conversely, nothing makes me UNfollow faster than someone who endlessly posts self promotion after self promotion (think some of those lifestyle bloggers you’ve ever seen on Instagram, you know the ones). We get it, you’re awesome. Thanks. But people want to connect with someone who’s genuine, be it online or face to face.

Don’t be the infomercial, the used car salesman. Don’t forget to be a real person.

It’s just like connecting with people in your real life. Be nice. A compliment never hurts. Ask questions to get to know them. Be interested in their answer. The natural friendships will follow.

Connect Authentically Online Confidence

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Vary Your Content

There are myriad rules of thumb available online to guide your content strategy, fractions and ratios to categorize and contrast your posts to your heart’s content. I like to keep it simple: no more than 10% of my social media should be self promotional.* That’s what works for me. Your mileage may vary.

*There are of course exceptions to this rule, like every other. If you have a ton of awesome news to share and it all happens to coincide within the same week, but it exceeds the 10% rule, by all means do it! Especially if you’ve done a good job building authentic relationships online, your social media friends are likely going to be pumped for you. Just make sure you’re balancing the scales.

Connect Authentically Online Content

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Share the Love

This is probably the most important piece of the pie. Or rather, the most important topping on the taco. Now I’m mixing my metaphors, and also suddenly very hungry. How long ’til lunch?… Never mind. Back to the subject at hand.

All those critique partners, beta readers, friends who’ve helped you shiny up those manuscripts? You can help support them the same way they’ve helped support you – promote their work! Whether they’ve got a new title releasing or they’re sharing lines from a WIP, or somewhere in between, share the love. Retweet them. Quote tweet their lines. Just brag on them. Trust me, no writer is eeeeeever (like, EVER) going to get tired of hearing the compliments.

Throw the love around like confetti, and it will come back to you.

Now, let’s talk about some organic, creative ways that are great for low-key self promotion.

Fun, Non-Obnoxious Ways to Pimp Your Book
  • #FridayKiss lines (heyyyoooooooo)
  • Hollywood dream cast
  • Writing playlists
  • Aesthetics
  • Share comp titles – bonus: this is also sharing the love, especially if you tag the other authors – double win!
  • Behind-the-scenes struggles (moments where you wanted to pull your hair out, the marked-up pages from four-hundred-and-eighty-seven revisions ago, etc.) – bonus: relatability will take you far

Now go forth and make friends, you brilliant, talented, beautiful people. I’m cheering you on!


Feature image by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Lindsay Hess
When Lindsay isn’t writing stories with magic and kissing, she spends her time devouring as many tacos as she can get her hands on, and wrangling the Hess herd of rescue pets—two cats, one dog, and an almost entirely house-broken husband. She watches muuuuch more Netflix than is good for her productivity, and loves to cook and entertain…but detests cleaning her house. Consider this your warning should you ever come over and encounter a cat/dog hair tumbleweed (or three). It isn’t her fault. Don’t blame her.

Also, bring wine.
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