Rosa Marchisella is the author of the gripping "Touch of Insanity" series and the bone-chilling novella "The Greatest of Books."
I wrote this article in response to some very bad advice being given to authors in a writer's group run by a shady publisher that has since gone under. My original reply was to the other authors, but I feel it's important to share it with other professionals who deal with and sells product or services to others.
Paraphrased, the original post stated:
If you're constantly posting negative things on your personal Facebook profile and it's chasing away your readers, make a second account and post only positive, uplifting things there. Moreover, this was suggested specifically as a branding tactic so your followers see you as someone who is positive and admirable ... even if you're not.
Notice, this isn't the same as suggesting that you keep your personal profile separate from your professional one to keep your personal life private. The poster was very specific about "constant negative posts" driving away readers.
And yes, some authors create separate accounts for their pen names to protect their identity. I'm not discussing this specific issue in this article.
Why It's Not Okay
First, it's against Facebook's Terms Agreement. One account per person. If you're a professional, you really don't want some petty person to report you and have your professional profile shut down.
If you want separate entities, your have the option of Pages and/or Groups. Yes, yes; I know: the algorithms are making harder to get organic views to push you to pay for "boosts" and ads. If you don't want to use a Facebook Page, encourage people Follow you so they see only your public posts.
More importantly: If an author (or other professional) is constantly making negative posts on a their profile, they definitely should not friend their readers, clients, and fans. I'll go a step further and say that (in general) clients, fans, etc. should not be on our profile or privy to our private life. They can "follow" and see only public posts, but your private life should stay exactly that: private.
And, what about readers, clients, and fans who are family and IRL friends? Plainly put: They don't want to hear constant negativity, either. They love you, but ultimately they're going to walk away from your drama for their own emotional well-being.
There's a difference between sharing about the rough patch you're going through or an unpleasant experience and making so many negative posts that other people no longer want to see your content. One is being transparent and relatable. The other is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Suggesting negative people start a second profile so they can pretend to be something else to their readers is NOT branding. It's lying. If someone is an undesirable person in real life, that's going to leak out.
If we want to succeed, we need to be accountable for what we post on social media. Even on our personal profile. Even if it's private. It's important to understand we can't say whatever we want, whenever we want. There are consequences to being an unpleasant person and for authors and other professionals, it's loss of support, sales, and reputation.
Instead of violating Facebook terms and risk getting your account shut down so you can LOOK professional, it's wiser to actually BE professional. Even on your personal profile. Have class and be considerate of others - Just like you would be in real life.
We don't just walk into a room full of friends, family, and colleagues and just spout off over and over. We need to actually control (and be accountable for) what comes out of us; whether it's spoken to people in real life or posted on social media.
Instead of expending valuable time and energy babysitting a second account in an effort to be viewed as a decent person, invest your time in learning how to authentically connect and communicate with your audience (personal and professional).
If what you're posting on social media so negative it turns people off of you and your product/service, the problem isn't that you're sharing personal trials. It's YOU.
Identify the Problem
Take a moment to self-evaluate:
- Are you dwelling in the negative?
- Are you always in a crisis?
- Are you attacking, complaining, cutting down, soap-boxing ...?
- Are you not authentic in your support of and/or connection with other people?
- Are you making promises you don't keep?
That type of behavior exhausts people emotionally. It mentally drains them. It has nothing to do with whether or not they're going to read your books. If your posts are regularly "taking away" from people, you're going to lose them.
I'm not saying you can't be true to yourself on your personal profile. Or that you have to hide parts of yourself. I'm saying you need to take a look at how and what you communicate with others so you aren't robbing them of their joy and peace of mind.
What to Do Instead
Before you post, think about what you're about to put out to your social circle.
- Is this issue going to matter in 3 weeks? 3 months? 3 years? Will you even it remember it in a few month's time?
- Can you rephrase it in a more positive light? Or turn it into a positive learning moment?
- Is it something you could discuss with a friend or therapist instead of blasting on social media?
- Type it out, leave it for 3 days until you feel better. Then, consider rewriting or not posting.
This applies to political or religious post, as well. I know you feel strongly about it. How can you communicate your view without making others feel attacked? You won't necessarily change anyone's mind, but if you don't drive them away, you might be able to teach them something or open them to a new point of view.
"But That's Just Who I Am."
If you sincerely cannot control yourself due to medical issues, I suggest your get someone to help communicate with your audience while you seek professional help. I want you to succeed and if that requires taking workshops or talking with a professional to help you, then do so. You deserve a better life and by helping yourself, you are in a better place to help others.
However, if someone thinks they're fine and don't want to make the effort to change how they communicate .... Good Luck. A second profile to hide that they're a negative person is like a Band-Aid on a gangrenous wound.
Original article published June 16, 2019
© 2021 Rosa Marchisella