Tag Archive | social media

Facebook Groups- Why Authors Need One

If you have spent any time on Facebook lately, you may have noticed a proliferation of Groups. Groups on Facebook have evolved as a way for people with common interests to share information. They can be private and closed, or they can be open, but most require you to request admittance. Simply press the “+Join” button on the group’s page, and a member of the group will add you. (I have not heard about anyone being rejected and not added, so I’m not sure what happens in that case. If anyone knows, please share).

A Great Tool For Authors

Groups are a great tool for authors. If you don’t have your own group page just for your readers, set one up as soon as possible. It’s best if you can think of a catchy name that ties in to your books or your author brand, but if not, at least think of how it might look in a Facebook search. Mine is called, “Renee Regent’s Readers”, and I’d love for you to join us! Message me on Facebook and I’ll send an invite, or you can enter my name in the search bar, and it should come up. I’m showing this as an example, so authors can set up their group, and readers can find the authors they like. It’s a great way to interact with your followers or others interested in your books and to share news, ask for feedback, and do giveaways. I’ve already given away books and swag and plan to do much more in the future.

Why A Group Page?

But why have a reader group page when you have your Author page? The answer is visibility. When you post on your Author page, Facebook restricts how many people see it in their feed. They want you to boost your posts by paying for them. Unfortunately, even that doesn’t get maximum viewing, and several authors are saying they no longer use their pages as much as they used to since hardly anyone sees it. But in a group, all members get notifications when someone posts (it can be the author or administrator of the group, or a member). Thus they are more likely to be aware of posts when they occur, and you may have a higher rate of engagement.

How To Get Members To Join

Once you have set up your reader group, spread the word through all your social media channels, your newsletter, any place you have contacts. Some marketing groups, such as Love Kissed Author Promotions, will do a promotion for a minimal fee to help build your group. Ask other authors or join a few author groups and see what is working for them.

Group Etiquette

Facebook also has a way to add people to your group, by listing your friends next to an “Add” button, but don’t use that. It is considered rude to add someone to a group without asking first, so get their permission or invite them to ask to join your group. It’s a good idea to welcome new members when they join, and when you post, ask questions to get everyone to join in, or have members post their own pictures. Eye candy photos, pet photos, talk about favorite tropes, etc. You can be creative because it’s your group.

Keyword: Anything Goes

There are also many groups now focused on the business side of writing, especially marketing. You can ask questions to the group and get feedback, or simply share your own experiences. Some of the groups I’m in and monitor regularly are Love Kissed Author Promotions, Genre Crave Book Marketing, and Seasoned Romance. There are groups for every genre and subgenere, and every interest under the sun, really. Enter any keyword in the search bar and related groups will appear. It’s that easy.

So take advantage of Facebook groups now, while they are still free and unencumbered by ads. Oops! Did I say that out loud?

What Facebook Groups do you belong to?

 

 

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The Latest Internet Challenge- Unplug!

Have you ever participated in an internet challenge?

Every so often, one goes viral across the internet, such as the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness and donations for ALS a few years ago. There have been many others whose purpose was a good cause, such as the 30 day push up challenge for fitness, but some internet challenges are just plain silly or even dangerous, like snorting cinnamon or eating ghost peppers. Or they are just for fun, like staging a video where everyone stands frozen in place like mannequins.

Uh, okay….

Since it seems like we are running out of ideas for worthwhile challenges, I have a suggestion. I successfully executed this particular challenge last weekend, and I highly recommend it. Ready?

I stayed off the internet for an entire weekend.

Renee Regent, Unplugged

I not only survived, I totally enjoyed it. It felt better than I expected, and my stress level decreased dramatically.  So what drove me to do something so drastic as to unplug completely?

First, this has been a crazy (in a good way) year for me personally and professionally. My day job/business enterprises went through significant transformation, and I am still in the process of working all that out. I have been trying to sell my home and move, with all that process entails. I also launched my first novel last month, the first of a 3 book series, so all that goes into an indie produced work was added to my workload (editing, formatting, covers, promotion, etc.) I asked for all of this, so I am not complaining. But where social media might have been an escape of sorts in the past, lately it has become inundated with political views, news, and posts about important causes. I am not giving an opinion on anything in particular, just saying what used to be mostly social has now become nonstop ads, articles and opinions. Since social media is integral to my businesses, and I also use it personally, I am on it for a good portion of each day.

Maybe it was all of this on top of post-election fatigue, but I woke up one morning and I simply did not want to deal. With anything. I had a mile long to-do list but could not bring myself to care about any of it. I am not prone to moodiness or depression, but I had no mental energy left. My husband was worried, because it was unusual for me to be in such a funk. So he suggested we go away for a short weekend trip to the beach (which is unusual for him, because he hates to travel). After much resistance, I gave in, thinking maybe I did need a break. But he had one condition─I must agree to unplug for the entire weekend.

How To Let Go

Normally, I am on my phone/ipad/laptop constantly. The internet is such an integral part of our daily lives, and it is tremendously convenient. So the idea of staying off the internet sounded difficult at best, but here’s how it went:

We had our phones with us, and only checked periodically to see if there were any missed calls or texts. If anything urgent occurred, we could respond. This way, that sense of “I can’t be without my phone, something might go wrong” was eased. We limited our responses only to emergencies, or to let family know we had arrived safely at our destination (pictured below).

We did not check emails, social media, or any apps.

We did use our phones to take photos. This little guy on our hotel balcony eating crackers from our hands was too cute to pass up.

My husband and I actually talked, laughed, ate, drank and walked all over the place. We didn’t have to tell the world what we were doing minute by minute, and that actually felt nice, more private. Like a secret tryst, the experience was ours alone.

By not seeing what the rest of the world was talking/arguing/complaining about, we were able to focus on just us for a few days. By not checking our phone every five minutes, we paid attention to our beautiful surroundings and each other.

The dramatic “I can’t deal” mind-set was replaced with “I can handle it” as time away from everything changed my perspective.

 

Peace of Mind- at Least Temporarily

I came home feeling refreshed and ready to face the challenges of my life again. The lack of stimulus allowed me to focus on us, and what we were doing in the moment. I put aside all thoughts of my to-do list, and the future. Being in the moment was incredibly freeing.

So here’s my challenge to you. Free yourself for a day, or even longer if you can. Whether you go away or spend quiet time at home, the internet will still be there when you are ready to jump back in.  But do yourself a favor, and take a break once in a while. You might be surprised at what you find.

Have you unplugged recently?  How was it?

 

Social Media Fatigue- The Fondue Conundrum

Yes, it's chocolate....

Yes, it’s chocolate….

I went to dinner with some writer friends a few nights ago to one of their favorite restaurants, The Melting Pot.  If you’ve never been, their menu consists (only) of various kinds of fondue.  You know, melted cheese, oil or broth, heated in pots so diners can dip (or cook) bits of bread and raw food.  The Melting Pot is apparently very popular, with dozens of locations across North America, where people can enjoy the whole fondue experience.

I am not one of those people.   I have tried it three times now, and it is simply not my thing.  The bread and cheese was nice, because I could dip the bread cube, put it on my plate, and eat it immediately.  But the plate containing slivers of raw meat was more of a challenge, as were the vegetable chunks piled into a tiny square bowl.  And then there were three different cooking liquids, and fourteen (okay, five) dipping sauces.  Completing the scene was my three long- handled forks, which were fortunately a different color than anyone else’s.

I am really not OCD, and I make complicated business decisions all day long.  But unless I am cooking the entire meal, I just want to relax and have it served up all pretty on a plate.  However, I love hanging out with my girls, so with the help of large glass of Sangria, I gave it my best shot.

First, I speared a morsel of duck breast with a fork and set it in the pot in front of me.  Knowing that it would take a few minutes to cook, I speared some pork, and passed it down the table to go into the pot of oil.  Pretty soon we were all passing forks back and forth, cooking our supper. One. Bite. At. A. Time.

It was nothing like the yummy cheesy-bread dipping scenario.  It seemed that I either lost the meat off my fork, forcing someone to perform a diving expedition with a slotted spoon to scoop it out for me, or I pulled it out too soon, finding the meat still raw in the center when I went to eat it.  Or I forgot it altogether and burned the crap out of it.

It was the same feeling I get, trying to juggle all of my social media accounts.  I have a “fork in the pot” over here on Twitter, one on Facebook, two over on Google Plus.  Did I answer that post?  Did I remember to retweet a friends’ tweet?  Oops!  Blog post is overdue….what was it I read about that algorithm change?

I have multiple social media accounts for business, another set for personal, and yet another set for my writing.  I have a routine, and most days it is manageable, but dang!  Sometimes it can be overwhelming.   Not to mention the multiple email accounts and the texting.

I end up feeling as though I had all of this good food in front of me, but I can only eat a bite of it at a time.  And as soon as I get the hang of it and learn how to cook this stuff and what sauce to dip it in, there’ll be a new dish I have to learn to master, because everyone is flocking to it now.

The only advice concerning managing social media that made any sense to me recently was “pick the ones you like and/or are good at, and focus on those.”  It does not hurt to try everything on the menu, but a person can go crazy trying to keep up with every fad, or at the very least, be ineffectual and waste valuable time.   I try to remember that when I feel myself becoming overwhelmed and slipping into Social Media Fatigue.

So I guess that means- next time we go to The Melting Pot, I’m sticking with the cheese dip.