Paint-by-Numbers: Instagram

Part of a series

Hubspot’s research on social media usage patterns reveals that people generally use Instagram for bonding.

What does that mean in an author’s marketing environment?

Bonding

Instagram users post images and videos that reflect how they see themselves, and who they want to be. It’s emotional content, warm and fuzzy, often humorous, designed to make them closer to their friends, family, and other followers.

They follow others not only to bond but to discover new trends.

What to Do

  • Create visual content that reflects your personality as an author
  • Ensure that your posts are emotion-based
  • Use appropriate humor
  • Respond to your followers’ posts with likes and the occasional comment

What NOT to Do

  • Don’t get deeply informational
  • Don’t be unnecessarily negative; keep it warm and fuzzy
  • Don’t pitch, push, or sell; this is not the place

Paint-by-Numbers: Facebook

Part of a series

According to the research on social media usage patterns reported in HubSpot’s article, people generally use Facebook for communicating and blocking. While those actions are both obvious, what may not be obvious is that both have value to you, the entrepreneur author.

Communicating

Good Facebook posts encourage followers to communicate with you as a brand. Just as important, a good post encourages followers to communicate about you with their existing circle.

Blocking

More than those of any other social media platform, Facebook users are more likely to block unwanted content. Reasons for blocking range from the extreme (content the user finds offensive) to benign (content the user has no interest in.)

What to Do

  • Use Facebook for two-way communication. Write posts which clearly indicate your desire to engage, and then, when followers respond, keep up your end of the conversation.
  • Give your followers the words for word-of-mouth. Write posts which are good communication with your followers but which are also shareable—and ask your followers to share them.
  • Be yourself unashamedly. Write posts that will make your followers feel like insiders, part of your tribe, even at the risk of alienating others.

What NOT to Do

Facebook is, surprisingly to me at least, a warm and fuzzy place for most users. They’re chatting with family, catching up with old friends, sharing a laugh.

Do not use this friendly communication channel to hawk your wares. Do not pester, badger, harass, harry, or otherwise sell them to death. The type of selling you’ll do on Facebook is what you’d do at the coffee shop with a friend: you might mention your book or services if it comes up naturally in the conversation, in fact, you should, but otherwise, it’s not a pitch-fest, it’s a conversation.

An adjunct: in that coffee shop conversation, you wouldn’t send your friend somewhere else to, say, get a scone to go with their tea, or suggest that the napkins down the street are softer and more absorbent. It turns out that linking away from Facebook isn’t very effective. Keep people on your channel; they’ll go find you elsewhere if and when they’re in the mood.

Do not water down your personality. If anything, dial it up a little. Your insiders will love you more. The propensity to block unwanted content on Facebook is a plus for you: it means you’re not wasting effort and possibly an advertising budget chasing fence-sitters and the uninterested.

Allowing potential followers to self-select is exactly the right thing to do, whether they get down off the fence on the inside or the outside. After all, you can’t have insiders if there are no outsiders.