“Interview and Top Ten Social Media Tips with Holly Jahangiri” by Joan Y. Edwards
Today I am very excited to share Holly Jahangiri’s Top Ten Social Media Tips. I met her at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Incorporated conference in May, 2016 where I celebrated the release of Joan’s Elder Care Guide. She is also a published author with 4RV Publishing. She presented a workshop on Social Media. I was amazed at her clever ways of using Social Media and asked if she would be a guest on my blog.
Thank you, Holly for being a guest on my blog. My readers are going to be amazed!
You’re welcome, Joan. It’s wonderful to be here. I’m ready for your questions. Let’s get started.
By the way, Holly is giving away an autographed copy of A New Leaf for Lyle for one lucky person. GIVEAWAY CONTEST Details on how to win at the end.
About Holly Jahangiri
- Where were you born?
I was born across the street from the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. You see? I come by my “lead foot” naturally!
- Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why?
Silver Lake, Ohio. It was the town my mom grew up in, and she knew it was a great place to raise a child. Many of her friends had stayed or moved back, and had children my age. We lived right around the corner – or two back yards and a couple of hedges – away from the elementary school. There was a little lake with a tiny island where we could swim in summer and ice skate in winter. There were no fences; good manners were the only fences we needed as we played in the neighbors’ yards, careful not to trample their flower beds or break their hedges or peer into their windows. Only one or two older people in the whole neighborhood were the “Get off my lawn!” types. The rest looked out for us and called our parents if we got into trouble or did something they considered dangerous.
- Where is your favorite place to live now? Why?
Right now, I call Houston, Texas, home. And it’s a very good place to live and work and raise a family. It’s cosmopolitan and diverse, with top-notch schools and universities, parks, theaters, a symphony, a ballet, an opera house – and it’s very near the Johnson Space Center and Galveston Beach. The most surprising thing to people who visit Houston for the first time is that it isn’t dry, brown, and full of tumbleweeds. Houston is in the tropics – we have seven-story-tall pine trees next to magnolias and palm trees and hibiscus. It’s hot, but it’s also quite humid. You may have heard we had some flooding, a while back? I now understand what my grandmother meant when she’d say things like, “See you next year, God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise.”
- Did you ever want to hide when you were a child?
From what? Seriously, my favorite game was “Hide and Seek.” I was a master at it. My favorite places were the closets under the stairs, the top of my grandparents’ “Climbing Tree” (who ever thinks to look UP during a game of “Hide and Seek”?), and the third attic in my grandparents’ house. You got to it through a walk-in closet. Along one wall of the closet, there was a bookshelf, and behind that, a hidden door. Enter the door, then turn around – to the left of that door, there was another door. Their house was just made for hiding!
- What are your 3 favorite places to read a book?
In a tree. On a window seat. In bed. But really, a book transports me to so many places – by the time I’m immersed in reading one, I can imagine that I am anywhere I want to be.
- What is your favorite ride at an amusement park? Why?
The roller-coaster! Why? Like life, it has its ups and downs. There’s the delicious anticipation – that sense of adventure mixed with excitement and dread in almost equal measure – that moment as the car crests the first incline, when you think to yourself, “Oh, dear God, what have I done?” followed by that sense of joyful flying as it races downhill and turns sideways or rises for a loop-de-loop. It’s over too fast, but you can always do it again!
- What ride do you avoid at all costs?
The Viking Ship. Nothing is more guaranteed to make me toss my cookies than The Viking Ship or its variations, especially if it’s a hot day. I used to love rides like The Octopus, but there came a point where that was more nausea- and headache-inducing than it was fun. When I was a kid, I loved all rides – the wilder, the better. I may have been the only child disappointed in Disney World, because it was more “theme” than ride. Cedar Point rules! I haven’t been there since I was a tween, but I can still remember being turned loose with the all-you-can-ride wristband, a watch, and a list of times and places to “check in” with the grown-ups. Those were the days!
- What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
Gosh, I don’t remember – so many funny things have happened to me, but no big one stands out!
- How did you do in English in high school?
Wonderfully well! English was my favorite class – an easy A.
- When and why did you decide to become an author?
I think it was in 5th or 6th grade. We were learning to write essays. I got mine back – I think the grade was an A, but what I remember was all the comments in red pen up the margins. Reactions to something I wrote, plus suggestions for improvement.And that started my love of the red pen. Others see it as criticism; I see it as, “Oh! Someone really read what I wrote and thought about it!” It was the start of a conversation. I wrote more essays – unassigned, and looking back, probably dreaded by the teacher. But she read them all, and she filled them all with red ink and thoughtful suggestions for improvement. Mrs. T. created a monster.
- What got you interested in social media?
Boredom and curiosity. Isn’t that something all writers have in common? We all write to entertain ourselves, eventually, when we run out of books we want to read. But I’ve never written “just for me.” It was that conversation – started with my English teacher, back in middle school – that had me hooked on writing. Writing is a meeting of the minds, but blogging and social media makes it a two-way street. I’m more comfortable communicating through my writing than I am in speaking – though I did enjoy speaking at the 2016 OWFI Conference! Social media gives me a chance to read what others are thinking and to have those two-way exchanges of ideas that so hooked me on writing in the first place.
- Do you do “work for hire?”
I don’t. I have a full-time job and too little time for my own writing, these days, as it is! But thanks!
Holly’s Top Ten Tips for Social Media
- Always be aware that the Internet is forever. What you say now will still be there – to haunt you or to do you proud – in twenty years. Assume that nothing you post is truly private; it could be shared by the original recipient or it could be one server admin’s “oops!” away from being public.
- Claim your social media space before someone else does, and tell your story better than anyone else can. Make sure that you are the online authority on you. If you have a blog, cross-link it to and from all your social media profiles.
- If it’s not fun, and it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t do it. I think this applies to more than social media, doesn’t it? We tend to do well what we enjoy doing. When we try to do things we think are a chore, others can tell we’re just “phoning it in.” What’s the point? Someone says, “You have to have a Facebook Page!” and your first reaction is “Why?” then ask. Make them convince you of its value and worth to you. Set a limit for how much time you spend on social media – don’t let it keep you from living, work, and your own writing.
- If you try out a social media site and decide it’s not for you, close your account. Don’t leave abandoned sites all over the Internet. Someone’s likely to find them, some day, and conclude that you died five years ago when you stopped updating them.
- People generally prefer sincerity over whatever façade we think we have to show the world. This, of course, assumes that you are not a malicious, hateful troll.
- If there are two ways to interpret how something is said, assume the other person meant it the nicer way. Not everyone is a masterful communicator. Some people aren’t very good at recognizing sarcasm in writing. Sometimes, people are dealing with difficult things offline, and they take out their own hurt and frustration on the nameless, faceless “Internet.” Respond with compassion, and you may make a friend instead of an enemy.
- If someone harasses you, stalks you, threatens or cyberbullies you – don’t engage. You’ll often hear the advice, “Don’t feed the trolls.” We all have a little troll inside us, just itching to come out and play, some days. But there are a few – blessedly, very few – real trolls, and they can be quite malicious. Keep a careful record of it (use screenshots, document times and dates), and call the police. The motive is almost always to unsettle, intimidate, and upset you emotionally. Why give anyone that satisfaction?
- Record your username and password for each site in a safe place (offline, preferably in a password-protected OneNote file on your PC, or in a hardcopy notebook). Use different passwords for each site. For any accounts that link to banking, domain ownership, or that have the ability to request password resets, use very strong passwords and dual-authentication. If you write these things down, lock up the notebook or encode the information in a way that only you can read it. It’s a pain, when you forget your own password, but it makes it much harder for thieves to access your important accounts or for scam artists and identity thieves to impersonate you. Phrases like this are easier for you to remember, and are also quite “strong” passwords: I<3turnips+COFFEE!
- Look at your own profile the way others see it. Log out of the social media site completely, then visit your link. If you were a stranger to you, what would your first impression be?
- Don’t be afraid to jump in and try new things. Experiment. Have fun. The world will not explode if you press the wrong key, I promise.
Social Media Tips
for Those with Published Books!
- Blog. Your blog should be the hub of all your social media activities. Link from your blog, outward, to all your active social media profiles. Link inward, from all your active social media profiles, to your blog.
- Follow the 90/10 rule: 90% of what you post should be for others – entertaining, informative, fun, and engaging. 10-20% can be “shamelessly self-promotional.” After all, people appreciate your making it easy for them to find and buy your books, once you’ve given them a reason to be interested. But 100 tweets of your book cover with the words “buy my book!” won’t accomplish anything good! See #9, above – look at your own profiles, all of them, the way a stranger would.
- Read this post for more: http://jahangiri.us/2013/author-blog-holodeck-for-the-authors-brain/
Social Media Tips
for Those Hoping to Get a Book Contract!
Your blog and your social media profiles serve two important purposes:
- They are an online portfolio – a sample of your writing.
- They serve as “social proof” and give a publisher an idea of whether you will be an active and engaging participant in any marketing activities for your books.
Keeping that in mind, you want to carefully proofread your posts and build a solid network of followers – not 10,000 followers for just $14.97, but real people. Readers, librarians, indie bookstore owners, friends, fellow authors, experts in the field you’re writing about (if you’re writing non-fiction), and interesting people who are actively engaging with other interesting people in social media. That takes a bit of time and effort, so it’s never too early to start. I’d suggest building the blog and the social media profiles first – make sure there’s some interesting content there that makes clear who you are and why anyone might want to follow you – then start finding followers.
Vanity Surfing – Google Alerts and TalkWalker Alerts
You should search for your own name – and all its variants – periodically, to see what the first three to five pages of search results contain. Most people never really look past the first three pages of results, but you want to be sure those three are a good reflection of you and what you’re all about. It’s also a good idea to set up alerts on Google and on Talkwalker – think of this as the lazy man’s way of vanity surfing.
First, go to www.google.com/alerts.
In the box where it says “Create an alert about” type your name in quotation marks. You can also type something like this:
“ann smith” OR “anne smith” OR “anne w. smith” OR “anne wilson smith” OR “annie the cat whisperer” – listing all common permutations of your name and pseudonyms.
Click Show options.
Choose how often you want to receive alerts; from which sources (hold CTRL while clicking to select multiple sources, or choose Automatic for all); language; region; all or “only the best”; and enter the email address to send them to.
Click Create Alert.
Next, go to http://www.talkwalker.com/alerts. Fill in the blanks as described above (they are essentially the same as Google Alerts). Preview and Create Alert.
The results are similar, but there are some differences between the two and it may be worth monitoring both. Create alerts for your book titles, as well.
Social media should be fun. It can also be an excellent marketing tool for writers. If you follow my tips, you can avoid headaches, heartaches, and undue stress. You’ll find more tips on my blog: It’s All a Matter of Perspective. I also wrote a number of posts specifically on social media strategy for writers. Come on over and don’t be shy – I love comments!
Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.
More about Holly: http://jahangiri.us/2013/holly-jahangiri/
Where to Connect with her online: http://jahangiri.us/2013/holly-jahangiri/where-to-find-me/
Buy A Puppy, Not a Guppy: https://www.amazon.com/Puppy-Not-Guppy-Holly-Jahangiri/dp/0984070850/ref
Buy A New Leaf for Lyle: https://www.amazon.com/New-Leaf-Lyle-Holly-Jahangiri-ebook/dp/B00K1TW6DY/ref
Where to buy her books
- Amazon Smile where a portion of sales goes to charity: http://jahangiri.us/amazon
- Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Holly-Jahangiri/e/B002BMEYUC/
Thank you for sharing your tips about social media and about your life, Holly.
If you’d like to ask Holly a question or leave a message for her, please click comment below and scroll to the bottom of the page.
GIVEAWAY CONTEST: Everyone who leaves a comment between now and midnight on Monday, August 15, 2016 will have his/her name put in a hat. Random.org will choose the winner. I will announce the winner in a new post that day.
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Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards
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Filed under: Contests, Giveways, Drawings, Interviews, Marketing, Writing | Tagged: 10 tips for scoial media, A New Leaf for Lyle, A Puppy, A puppy not a guppy, giveaway, Google alert, Holly Jahangiri, Not a Guppy, Oklahoma Writers Federation Incorporated, presenter at OWFI conference, social media tips, Trockle |