Excuse me? I'm a person not a brand.
I have lots of author friends who are new to social media and they're not sure where to start. Quite frankly I give them the same advice I give to teenagers.
The first piece of advice anyway and that is (drumroll) don't put anything on there you wouldn't want a close family member to read. If your relatives are fine with explicit language and shots of your butt then you're going to have more scope than I would but remember, you can't take it back. So like that fifteen year old girl you better be sure that cleavage shot won't come back to haunt you.
The second piece of advice I offer is to know what your brand is?
I know what you're thinking - I'm not a brand. Lego is a brand. Starbucks is a brand. Pepsi is a brand. You think you're just a person but an author is a product and you need to brand yourself effectively. You need to do this so that people know what to expect from you and also to help you stand out in the crazy marketplace.
You need to think about what you write? An author who writes literary fiction is going to have a different brand than someone who illustrates children's books. The sexy romance author is going to be different to the horror writer.
Let's take me as an example - I figure if you're here you know who I am . I write chicklit and romantic comedies. These books are supposed to be an escape from the everyday hum-drum of life. I call it fun, flirty fiction and I imagine my readers on buses, on beaches and lying in bed at the end of the day. So my brand is fun and flirty and about escaping from the stress of the day to day. And most of my readers are women because of the genre I write.
So apart from things related to my novels and books in general I also post mainly about the following things. Coffee (because I like it and I like to escape with a coffee), sometimes wine or cocktails (again I like wine), friendship (my novels have a strong friendship component and women value friendship) and the beach (because that's where I escape to). Another part of my brand is where I live. I'm an Australian author living on Sydney's Northern Beaches so I often post things about Australia and Sydney. That's me...if you look at my Facebook and Twitter and blog you'll find those images and topics reappear.
I don't write really sexy romances so I don't share pictures of bare-chested men. I don't write historical romances so I don't share vintage dresses and houses - knowing your brand helps you exclude topics as well. People aren't confused when they visit you on social media if you're consistent.
The advantage of knowing your brand is then when you're looking for content you can search for things in those areas. It gives you a place to start in your daily quest to find new and hopefully engaging content.
So ask yourself this - what's your author brand?
(In part 2 I'll give you some good examples of authors who I think nail the branding).