I was quite irritated by a post I read on Twitter the other day and I got into quite an argument with the person who posted. They said they had considered refollowing some people they had unfollowed. They had unfollowed them because it was important for them to have more followers than they followed. This was pressure from an agent.
I can understand several things here. An agent has to make money and they’ll make more form their authors if they sell well which they may indeed if they have a big following on social media. In my role as a publisher I’m pleased to see authors who are proactive on social media. And I will unfollow in some circumstances: for example if someone is being offensive or if they keep trolling. But it seems to me immoral to unfollow if someone is not being useful to you.
But that isn’t the whole story and in fact I’d cringe if I saw one of our authors being inauthentic on social media. In fact, I might cringe so much that I wouldn’t publish them again.
Surely bottom line = you follow people because they are interesting and your ambition is to have people follow you because you are interesting.
There is a grey area; you want to follow back people who follow you. You may be able to help each other. That was always true of normal networking. But it usually works better if you think in terms of what you have to offer rather than what you have to gain.
So what’s the difference between authentic and inauthentic?
Liking only what you genuinely like
Following people who seem interesting
Seeing social media as a tool rather than a master
Limiting the amount of time you spend on it
Remembering your readers and brightening their day
Having the courage to raise something that may be controversial
Posting things other than the product or service you’re trying to sell
Posting different types of material on different platforms
Remembering it’s “social” media not “marketing” media
Offering something to the world
Being generous in sharing, liking and responding to a post that deserves it
Not expecting all of your posts to be liked commented upon or shared but being grateful when they are
Tagging people because you are posting something you think they ought to know about
Liking a post because you feel obliged to and because you think you might gain something from it
Following someone just became they’ve followed you or in the hope that they will
Unfollowing people just because that don’t follow you
Tagging people as a way of showing off and making them aware of just how good you are
Becoming a slave to social media
Going into a sulk because people don’t respond to every post you make
Constantly screaming “buy my book, buy my book”
Putting exactly the same post on every platform
Shying away from the controversial because you don’t want to offend or be trolled
Expecting only to gain without offering something in return
Liking and sharing because you don’t want to offend the person who has posted
There is possibly an argument that one tries to appear authentic in order to gain kudos. But is that actually sustainable?
Recommended: be authentic on social media – it’s much more fun than being a pain.