Previously, I wrote about how you must accept that marketing is essential if you want your writing to become a career. Today, I’ll focus on one facet of marketing: your social media profiles.
Part of being a career writer in the internet age is keeping your personal and professional presence separate. To this end, set up separate social media profiles on the platforms you intend to use to market your books.
If you use a platform exclusively for personal uses or solely for your career, then one profile is adequate. For example, most people don’t post their vacation and party photos on LinkedIn. But if you intend to work and play on the same website, create a second profile.
So, why is it so important? I do understand it’s extra work juggling multiple accounts. However, there are several reasons for doing so.
I’ll start with the reason that may sound corny: it’s about mind-set. When you post as a published author, you communicate with a different voice than you do with your closed ones.
You’re putting up a brand even if your online persona is warm and friendly. When branding, you’re guiding prospective and current readers to perceive you a certain way and have certain expectations. With an author brand, you sell books, deal with publishers and other writers as a business, and set boundaries so that work doesn’t bleed into play.
This differentiation is more difficult if you use the same profile for personal and professional use. When you make a new profile, you can tailor your brand without worrying about what you post personally.
Another reason is that social media platforms offer different features based on the type of profile or account.
One website that makes a stark difference is Facebook. On Facebook, “Profiles” are reserved for personal use. Meanwhile, professionals and organizations have “Pages.” They look different even on the surface, with Profiles having a Friend button and Pages having the Like button.
But once you set up a Page, you’ll have access to tools that Profiles can’t have. For example, with a Page, you can set Page Roles and provide other people limited access to posting on your Page without giving them your password. You also get access to analytics and advertising options, tools that can elevate your Facebook usage from casual use to a web marketing machine.
Most other major social platforms have profiles that don’t look as drastically different. For example, a personal Twitter profile and a business look similar at a glance. However, even other platforms—like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok—have options for you to opt in to a “professional” profile, which grants you more behind-the-scenes tools to augment your social media marketing.
However, even if these technical differences didn’t exist, keeping separate profiles would still be a good idea.
Another major reason is respecting your audience. While some readers may be interested in your life outside writing, not all of them want to see you post pictures of your family. Some posts you make for friends and family may alienate readers who wish to follow you to keep up with your upcoming releases and events. If you mix the two, you may irritate your followers and drive them to unfollow.
Conversely, some of your friends and family may be interested in your books and may nod politely when you mention your novel to them. But many of them don’t want to see you post all day about your books, as they’re more interested in whether you’ll come over at Thanksgiving this year. To prevent them from muting your posts, give them an out and keep two different streams. If they’re genuinely interested, they’ll follow your author profile and boost your follower count!
One reason may be scary to think about, but it’s crucial: as an author, you want to protect your privacy and safety.
Early on, you’ll have so few readers that you might wish some of them showed more interest. However, a growing career comes with a greater risk of danger. You may attract haters who may send you harassing messages. Tragically, some authors even end up with stalkers—not just cyber stalkers, but real-life stalkers who may attempt to find your whereabouts.
To make sure no one finds out your personal details, such as your address or location, I recommend you keep your information contained to your personal profiles, if at all.
Additionally, I recommend you set your personal profile’s privacy settings, so they are only visible to friends. While privacy settings may feel constraining, they reduce the risks of unsavory prowlers finding your information. If you do insist on keeping your personal profiles publicly visible, separate accounts will allow you to set individual posts, pieces of information, and the entire profile to private at any time without shutting down your professional profiles.
All in all, it’s essential to set up separate author profiles because of the technical, marketing, and social benefits that come with that separation, along with the protection for your virtual and personal safety.
As you set up this divide on social media platforms, pat yourself on the back: you’re taking one more step to becoming a successful author!
Over to you: Which social media platforms do YOU use? Do you currently keep a separate author profile on them? How do you post differently between your accounts?
ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.