Your Social Media Persona

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

As an author, whether you’re published or not, your social media persona is important. What kind of face are you showing to the world?

It’s not always easy to understand how we look to others. Sometimes we have to view our social media feeds as a stranger would. Open up your Facebook or Instagram feed and read through your posts, all in a row. If someone were to happen across your page, what kind of opinion would they form about you? What kind of person would they think you are?

  • Would they think you’re a person mainly interested in promoting your books?
  • Would they think you’re a person who whines and complains a bit too much?
  • Would they think you’re a person who’s real and authentic and interested in real conversation?
  • Would they think you’re interesting? Funny? Inspirational?
  • Do you seem like someone they’d want to be friends with?

Does your social media feed match the kind of person you want to be?

Look at your posts and ask yourself: What kind of energy am I bringing to this party? Is it the energy you want to be spreading?

If you have books or anything else to promote, make sure you’re offering valuable content—something inspirational, educational, entertaining, or motivating—five times as often as you’re promoting your wares.

And as for those posts where you complain about what a hard day you had—ask yourself if that’s really what you want to say. I’m all for being authentic, but I’m not a fan of the whining or complaining post. I don’t think we should be asking our social media followers to bear the burden of our minor inconveniences or annoyances. But maybe that’s just me.

Rather than using social media as our go-to arena to vent our latest thought, I think we should be intentional about how we present ourselves to the world. This should probably be true for everyone, but especially for authors.

What do you think? Is it important to maintain a certain persona on social media? How do you manage this?



Image copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

23 Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Rachelle, this is so important…I’ll bet you’ve got a lot of people thinking. I’m included, there…I can feel the rust flaking off as the gears in my head start into groaning, petulant motion.
    * I don’t really like the social media persona that’s constantly riding the edge of blatant self-promotion. It’s not that I don’t care about Dear Writer’s success; I do wish wealth and joy to all in this lonely endeavour. But I’m far more interested in WHY the Dear Writer chose to park her (or his) bum on the chair, faced with a blank screen. I really can’t ‘celebrate with you’, Dear Writer, until I know you.
    * My social media persona is the offspring of necessity and circumstance; I’ve seen so many people wrapped up in misery when facing pain, misery, and humiliation that I felt it incumbent on me to say something. To wit, pain (it keeps me up nights), misery (the dogs run so I don’t puke on them) and humiliation (don’t always reach the loo) do not displace joy; on the contrary, they make joy easier to find in the small things, green shoots of young grass bravely standing above the pavement. A multi-book contract would be nice, but if it’s clear tomorrow morning I will see the sun’s corona push up ahead of its limb on the eastern mountains, and that’s a glimpse of Heaven.
    * I have been inspired by writers, most of all by Richard Bach, Nevil Shute, and P.G. (Sir Gordon) Taylor; and being told that I am an inspiration, I’m shocked. I’ve never set out to inspire; I would not know how. All I’ve done is try to give an accurate accounting of the good that I’ve encountered on a downward path, and that while one’s road may lead through Hell, its terminus is Heaven.

    • And if you want to see the definition of rage, throw up on a Red Heeler. Ladron is my Service Dog In Chief, and when she needs a field-expedient bath, it’s only her innate devotion to duty that keeps my fingers intact.

  2. Jason Sautel says:

    Great advice. As opposed to complaining, I like to show my vulnerabilites. If I am having a rough day, I look for the teaching moment within it and pass it on. I find that blessing people with a teaching moment in my life creates a better bond than just venting about it. People don’t read posts to help the writer, they usually read the posts because they are looking for the writer to help them. Just my $.02……..Jason

  3. I give this a lot of thought, Rachelle. I want to be the cheerleading, compassionate Granny, offering encouragement and wisdom, wrapped in a bit of humor.
    * When we were houseparents years and years ago, we were taught to be on watch for the better moments and offer a quick word of affirmation (works so much better than criticizing the bad).I keep that in mind. I highlight a good moment in a tough day in my own posts, and I praise the positive in other people’s posts. I assume that’s why the little girls I taught in VBS and Sunday School, now high-schoolers and young adults, keep me as a Facebook friend.

  4. Great article! I’m constantly making notes on the social media that I love and look forward to. What are they saying? Why does it interest me? How can I model my own in such a way that others will enjoy it and even seek it out.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Just a thought to toss out there…how many of you have a ‘social media accountability partner’, someone with whom you can exchange honest feedback about your personas?

    • Jason Sautel says:

      Andrew, I have a couple of buddies who are Pastors and they have given me some helpful advice when I have purposely or accidentally posted something that I might later find inaproprote or a little off. They both know my heart and also my passionate personality. If they bring something to my attention, I will listen. In my opinion, your accountability partners should really get to know you otherwise they will end up driving you nuts, haha!

  6. I try to stay out of politics on social media, but that isn’t always easy.

  7. Loyd Uglow says:

    This blog was very helpful to me, Rachelle, because I’m a novice at social media. I don’t know whether you’d strictly call it a persona, but I do have some ideas on how I want to come across to readers. I suspect that the questions that puzzle me may also be on the minds of at least some of my readers. Those questions may be about writing technique and practices, and they also may be related to the kinds of themes, characters, and settings that my fiction deals with. I’d like to come across as a person who doesn’t necessarily know the answers but inspires the group to share mutually beneficial understandings, so we can learn together more than any of us could know individually.

  8. Yes it is definitely important. As a consumer of social media, I tend to skip over those on Twitter who only Tweet about their books. The same goes for Facebook, but I will also shy away from people who are combative about social issue and/or who constantly forward posts “educating” others on how they should think.

    Having said that–and with a background in PR–I know it is difficult not to use these tools for marketing above all other uses. However, I have found I stick around and read posts from people who are DOING something interesting much more frequently that from people who are merely WRITING something interesting.

    Case in point: Tricia Goyer and her #growingupgoyer posts are fabulous! I learn about her and her family and out of what I learn, I also want to go check out what she’s writing now. Best of all, I feel like she is giving and not taking when I read her posts.

    As for me, I try to keep my writing posts to a minimum so that when I do post, I don’t come off as begging for sales. A few years ago, I accidentally fell into the lifestyle hashtag #TurnerTravels as a way to connect with readers. Basically I use that hashtag when I am out and about with the hubby and find something interesting to photograph. Sometimes it is The Man (as I call him online) and me and other times it is something altogether different. Yesterday’s post was of a table at the Junk Gypsy’s place in Round Top, Texas, and the subject matter was a glass of raspberry lavender iced tea alongside a Sweet and Salty Royers Pie. Not a thing in that picture sent anyone to buy my book, at least overtly, and yet I have lost count of the times I get comments, somethings weeks later, about a #TurnerTravels post. I’ve actually had people tell me they look forward to them.

    So, I think the goal in social media is to give, not get, and to try to find something that not only fits who you are but is fun. If you don’t like what you’re doing online, it will show. If you are becoming nothing more than a salesperson for your stories, that will show as well. But if you love sharing glasses of iced raspberry lavender tea or photos of bluebonnets, then make that work for you. Just be yourself!

    • “To give, not get”: excellent way to view it.

    • I LOVE #TurnerTravels!! That is an awesome way to give your friends and fans a fun insight into your adventures, and it also highlights the very sweet romance between you and The Man.
      Another fun one is Lisa Wingate’s Huckleberry Report, in which her dog Huckleberry reports on amongst other things, his daily defence of their house, especially against the tree bunnies (squirrels).

    • Great points, Kathleen…but I’d also add that while being yourself may not be much fun, it can be useful. That’s where I come from, and I have no choice…I can only hope that my message, that life is worth living, regardless, resonates with at least one person out there. If so, I’ve done my bit.

  9. I try to be authentic, lighthearted and humourous on social media, because whining and negativity drives me nuts.
    On Instagram and Facebook, I try to see the fun side of life, and lead others at least to a place where they can smile. People do know I occasionally carry a sword, but I usually save my battle cries for my blog posts.
    And one thing you won’t find on my social media? “Can this sad kitten get a like? Click if…” posts. Unless it’s “Click if you or someone you know has been attacked by dragons…”
    As Dr. Jennifer Bennett says, in regards to social media, “Be worth following.” That means, cultivate a presence that people want more of, and that takes time, patience, and a willingness to accept feedback for how to improve how we do things.

  10. Oh my goodness, this is SO important!! I’m constantly checking my balance of real/relatable with uplifting and professional. Don’t know if I’ve stuck the right balance but I try to be very mindful of my online presence/attitude/reputation. Not even because of the professional ramefications, but moreso because being a follower of Christ that is how He would want us to be.

  11. Great thoughts on our social media persona, Rachelle. I’m becoming more and more aware of just what I post these days. It’s very important to uphold an image of integrity. Thanks for this reminder!

  12. I wholeheartedly agree, Rachelle. While I’m keenly aware that I represent the Lord in what I choose to post, a healthy “complaint” now and again can be sweetened when humor is added. My followers have really appreciated this!

  13. Thanks for this reminder. I try to edit myself and delete any ranting and complainig. Or, even better, I cut and paste those into an email to my mother. Or my daughters.

  14. The 80/20 rule is so important. Often I get the feeling of being pitched by a used-car salesman. Some websites slam us with the same annoying popup with every page refresh. Others (social media or personal pages) scream “buy me! buy me!” so frequently that I block them. A woman in my neighborhood has ostracized herself from most of her neighbors because she is endlessly pitching her Tupperware. It’s sad because I’m sure she is a wonderful woman, but we tend to dread seeing her walking the neighborhood sidewalks. I do not want to be like that with my online presence. We all have to keep a close eye on our “Ick Meter.”

  15. Thank you for posting this; I was just questioning whether I should start a blog or not, but I DO NOT want it to be a place to whine or complain… just like you just said. I’d much rather be inspirational!

  16. For a professional social media profile, absolutely. You can share whatever you want on a personal profile but keep in mind that sometimes the lines begin to blur.