According to the highly educational and never incorrect* website known as Wikipedia, a “cocktail party mixer” is defined as:
That sounds a lot like what social media is…one, giant, malignant, cocktail mixer. What does that mean for you, especially if you’re using your page as an author/for a business? It means you should treat your social media page like a cocktail party. Same etiquette rules apply.
Heather, what are these rules you speak about?
According to Etiquette International, my favorite cocktail party rules are as follows:
Keep conversation clean, avoiding any sexual innuendos. Excessive flirting is not appropriate, especially at a business-related affair. Also, steer clear of taboo topics like dieting, health (yours or theirs), the cost of anything, malicious gossip (yes, you do know when it’s malicious), religion and politics.
Don’t fill your plate to overflowing. People seldom notice you going back for seconds at large cocktail functions; they will notice the mountainous heap on your plate. And, claiming it’s for the table sounds like an excuse, not the truth. A pertinent example comes to mind: while on a three-day promotional cruise several years ago, a businessman reached for a cookie on a large silver tray heaped with a generous assortment when a woman yelled to him not to touch; the cookies were all hers. The businessman remembered her months later when she tried to solicit his firm’s business.
Let’s pull both of these examples apart and discuss how they apply to your social media presence. Because right now, I can tell you’re pulling away thinking I’m a crazy person. My therapist says I’m not “crazy,” I’m “creative.” We’ll go with that.
Social media is like the damp towel in the corner that is super soft and fluffy but starts to smell and acquire bugs after a few days. How do you keep that towel soft and fluffy? By keeping it clean and taking care of it.
As an author, I have a brand to uphold. While I want to comment on everything I feel strongly about — politics, violent current events, race issues, women issues, how dumb Kanye is (no, really, I can’t help myself), I can’t post about everything. Nor should I. So what do I post about?
1) Things that make me relatable – fun with friends, generalized family stories, hilarious stories, one-liners.
2) Subjects that relate to my books
3) Reviews on something I bought/read/listened to/saw
4) The weather
5) Playoff sports (come on, friends! I’m a Red Wings girl.)
For instance, in my story Hunting Witch Hazel, I have a gay couple who help at Billy’s Blues and BBQ. I’m a HUGE support of equal rights for all genders and sexual orientations. Therefore, I will sometimes share posts related to diversity. Because, quite frankly, if you don’t like me posting about equal rights, you won’t like my books. That’s part of my branding.
What I chose, with difficultly, not to post about are my opinions on things like $15 minimum wage and the upcoming election, for the most part (it’s an ongoing struggle). I discuss these topics offline with my trusted friends. Why? Because my social media sites are part of my business personality. If I won’t talk about it at work, I won’t talk about it on Facebook. (But sometimes I can’t help myself…)
That party I went to last weekend where the bachelorette got an extra spicy surprise? Not going on my twitter, sorry folks. Me in a bikini? BAHAHAHA. No one is seeing that. Anything I don’t want my bosses to see, I don’t put social media.
My latest movie review? That IS going on social media. So are fun life events and books I’m currently reading. Book club outings? Hell yeah. These draw readers in and make them feel like they know you.
What about health issues? This, I find, is a fine line to walk. I recently announced on my social media sites that book two in The Lynch Brothers Series, When It Raines, has been pushed to late fall due to health issues.
This was an important announcement to make so my readers know where we stand. I’ve heard so many complaints from readers about how an author they love disappeared! Readers are what keep writers published. Be upfront and honest, but respectful all at the same time.
Things I NEVER talk about:
– Anything personal about my boss/job
– Anything specific/confidential about my job
– Complaints about my day job
– Personal attacks
– Financial information
If you’re not sure if you should put it on social media, don’t. Once it’s on the internet, someone is bound to scoop it up when you least expect it…
Did you know August 27 is known for:
- Global Forgiveness Day
- Just Because Day
Wishing You Laughter & Good Books,
Bold. Bewitching. Breathtaking.
Author of Hunting Witch Hazel featured in Falling Hard (A New Adult Anthology).