Knowing What to Share

Last weekend, I taught a workshop on advanced social media for writers at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Conference. In the weeks to come, I’ll supplement and expand on that information here on the blog (and in my related #PubLaw Twitter feed).

15H23 Sunshine City

Today, let’s take a look at retweets and sharing.

One way to become a content provider on Twitter (and Facebook, and other social media) is by sharing other people’s information. Authors can do this either by sharing links or by “retweeting” and sharing others’ posts and tweets. Both are effective methods of sharing content, though today we’re examining quick and easy guidelines for deciding what–and when–to retweet or share.

On Twitter, as Elsewhere, Humor Reigns.

Things that make you laugh are often of high value to others, too. Retweeting or sharing funny content–especially harmless humor that doesn’t put others down–is valuable to your followers.

When sharing others’ self-promotion, remember: giveaways are more valuable than reviews.

Retweeting another author’s good review helps spread the word, but it’s only of limited value to your followers. Sharing good reviews helps raise awareness, but it’s less likely to prompt action from your followers than sharing a giveaway or contest. Contests and giveaways offer content your followers can use immediately.

Sharing release day information and congratulations offers useful content to people who might not know about a book’s release.

When friends, or authors you follow, have a book release, it’s great to help them by retweeting the book release information or by sending a congratulatory message. However, be careful not to let your twitter or Facebook stream become entirely promotional–even on others’ behalf.

Use judgment: too much promotion for others will make your feed seem spammy too.

My personal rule of thumb is no more than 5-10% promotional material–including the promotional material (releases and contests) I share or retweet. The “10% promotion rule” will keep you focused on generating real content in your feeds instead of becoming an empty advertising space.

Share others’ links and advice that you find personally useful or valuable. 

If you find content legitimately useful, the odds are good that people who follow you will agree. Be honest with yourself about what you find useful or important. If it makes you laugh, or think, or feel…it might be worth a share.

Don’t share just to please a friend, or someone you want to impress, if the content isn’t actually useful.

Your friends and followers are not stupid. Don’t insult their intelligence. Share things that have value to you. Remember: “being a content provider” requires you to…(wait for it)…provide content. The content you provide can be yours (original) or sharing and retweeting valuable content others share–either works! 

When you share or retweet others’ content, be sure to tag or acknowledge the original source with links or by using the “retweet” or “share” buttons on Facebook and Twitter. When sharing blogs, do NOT copy and paste the content onto your own blog or website. Offer a teaser and link to the original source. Using the automatic “share” or “retweet” buttons on Facebook and Twitter will protect you from legal liability, because you’re not claiming ownership, you’re merely sharing what someone else created.

Retweeting others’ content makes it likely that others will retweet your content too. When you retweet (or share a post on Facebook), the original source will see that you retweeted, and everyone likes having their signal boosted. When you use discretion in what you retweet, the original source will see that you’re not just trying to “earn points.” That’s good too. Over time, retweeting valuable content will encourage people to follow you–boosting your signal and gaining you visibility.

The most important takeaway from today is–use good judgment in what you retweet, screening for value in the content. Humor ranks high, and useful information does also. If you love it, share!