Unconventional Marketing: Crafting Creative Social Media Posts

by Melissa Tagg, @Melissa_Tagg

Let’s just get this out of the way: this is a blog post about creating fun, unconventional and [insert any word that’s the opposite of “normal” or “boring”] social media posts. However, it’s coming to you from a girl who gets super twitchy any time someone tries to give me “rules” for my online presence. I just feel like you deserve to hear that caveat first. I am not a rule-follower when it comes to social media. 😉

I am, however, a big believer that as authors we can use social media to our advantage without it becoming this overwhelming monolith that sucks up all our writing time and creative energy.

I’m going to focus on Facebook in this post because that’s where I’ve found my best writer-reader online relationship niche. No, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers, nor would I win any awards for having the coolest, most consistent presence around. But I do have fun with it and have, thankfully, seen some nice results. Though I’m honing in on Facebook, the points below can pretty much apply to any social media platform.

To make this super organized (a massive feat for the girl who arranges her life by post-its and has never once made it through a whole year of using a planner), I came up with an acronym! So here we go.
Note: All the examples included below are from my Facebook page…not because I think I’m the only one with great content but simply because it’s easier than trying to gather other examples. In other words, I’m l-a-z-y.

…Be Relevant:

No, you don’t need to infuse all your posts with up-to-date pop culture references. But before crafting a post ask yourself: Does this have any relevance whatsoever to a) my readers and b) my books and c) my relationship with these people I’m interacting with. And it’s okay if the post is about YOU. I think sometimes we worry that we’re going to come off as self-centered, but people wouldn’t be following our author pages if they didn’t want to actually know us. Crafting posts that give readers insight into both your books and your life creates a meaningful connection.

Example: A few months ago I wrote a post about my favorite fall movies—the 1980s Anne of Green Gables series. I knew this was relevant to my Facebook followers because they’re readers, they’re mostly female, and frankly, it’s hard to find a female reader who doesn’t love Anne! It allowed me to share my own love, while inviting readers to participate in the conversation.

…Be Enthusiastic:

I read this quote once from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin: “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically and people will like it more.” It made me laugh…but man, it’s so true. Enthusiasm is contagious! We can foster that in our readers and online friends by writing posts in which we’re just plain excited…not only about our stories and characters, but about the other things in our lives that make us unique and personable. (And also, by being intentionally enthusiastic, we avoid the kind of complainy, ranty, whiney posts that no one needs to be subjected to!)

Example: For me, writing giddy posts comes most naturally of all to me because I’m easily enthused. LOL! Here’s a post I wroteback in November about a new coffee mug that reminded me of the main character in my latest book.

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…Be Authentic:

Nope, this is not a call for intense and uncomfortable sharing of too many personal details. LOL! Authenticity can be as simple as being silly. I have crafted posts about my slight (okay, fine, massive and ridiculous) crush on my own main character, for instance. But it can also mean sharing little snippets of what God’s doing in your heart or what you’re learning through your writing.

Example: A few months ago, I wrote a post about standing in line at Target and accidentally out loud professing my love for a character…at which point, the dude in front of me turned around and…well, you can read the post. It was a silly moment of authenticity from an author’s life. But I also periodically do longer posts with heartfelt thanks to readers…or deeper thoughts about life and faith just to give readers a glimpse into my heart…like this one, about finding joy in every day life.

…Be Lenient:

Be lenient with yourself. Back when I was trying to follow all the marketing experts, literally ALL the fun of social media drained away for me. But lately I’ve pulled away from much of what I thought was a must-do in the past. I’m to the point now where I don’t feel guilty if I need to take a few days away from my Facebook page. Or if I write a post that’s *gasp* six paragraphs long and *double gasp* doesn’t include a fancy graphic. By being lenient with myself and taking off the pressure, I’ve found myself crafting much more fun and engaging posts—because it no longer feels like a task with a ton of rules attached to it.

Did you catch the acronym? Be REAL. Really, I think that’s what the best social media marketing comes down to. Being a real person. Building real relationships. And having real fun. 🙂

All This Time (Walker Family Book 4) 

Bear McKinley’s past refuses to let go.Ten years ago, Bear gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him once again. Suddenly he finds himself back in Maple Valley, charged with the care of his missing brother’s children, convinced he’s out of second chances to make his life count. And yet, with every day that passes, these kids, this quirky town and the woman he never stopped missing help patch the holes in his heart. Maybe this is the fresh start he’s been longing for all along. But as his newfound hope grows, so does the mystery surrounding his brother’s activities—and when the threat reaches into the lives of those he loves, it’s clear he can’t run away this time.

Fear holds Raegan’s future captive.

Raegan Walker is fine. She’s happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more than fine. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending?

Award-winning author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. The second book in her popular Walker Family series, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to one of their spring 2016 Top Ten lists. Her most recent releases include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Eve (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. Connect with Melissa at www.melissatagg.com or on Facebook and Instagram.