Social Media: “Build Your Brand Like You’re Running For President”

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“Build your brand like you’re running for president.” –Tess Collins

Author Cara Brookins said not to build your platform on social media at the Can’t You Hear Me Knocking? panel at Bouchercon which was held last month in festive New Orleans.

Hold the phone! Don’t build a platform on social media?? What?

She said social media platforms can change or disappear and it is wise to direct your readers to a place that you own and you control–your website, where you can build a mailing list. (Hey, since you’re here reading this post, would you like to join our mailing list? Join on the right side of this page.) Historical mystery author Jennifer Kincheloe said that getting people to sign up, however, is a challenge. She suggested using an incentive to entice people to sign up and said she gave away short stories, among other things.

Website developer Maddee James said to figure out who your audience is and choose social media platforms based on that. She suggested Facebook and Instagram for YA authors. Make friends and build community rather than simply promoting, she said. And when you promote, be subtle. Nobody likes “in your face” promotion, six-time novelist Tess Collins added.

James said, “The more you post, the better it is.” According to Kincheloe, she posts on Facebook three times a day. Brookins said that Facebook is an essential platform, but Twitter is international as 75 percent of users are non-American. She said that Twitter also provides the opportunity for an ongoing conversation.

Brookins contends, “You are a brand,” and should find your brand personality and present that way. James suggested having a uniform header across platforms. “Build your brand like you’re running for president,” Collins said.

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