Many writers know they should be on social media. And many others are already on social media but not exactly sure if they're doing it right. So, here's a post on how writers can use social media to find more success with their writing.
I've collected 10 tips on how writers can use social media. I know these work, because I used them myself. And I know many writers who've found success employing them. So let's get started.
Tip 9 below explicitly tells you to avoid hard-selling your wares on social media. But it can be done effectively when it's done right. Which is why Writer's Digest created Advanced Social Media Skills for Selling Books, a conference session video download led by Kristen McLean, a social media and data analytics expert who does this sort of thing for a living.
Learn the techniques and strategies that get results without driving away your connections.
How Writers Can Use Social Media to Find More Success
- Put your writing first. It's easy to forget while in the throes of building your personal brand that the writing should always come first. If you feel at any time that social media is blocking your writing, pull back. Thousands of followers can't buy the book you didn't write. Always let the writing know it's your first love.
- Try every platform. Don't jump on every social media platform on the same day. But get a profile on Facebook. Then, jump to Twitter. Link up with LinkedIn. Make a move on Instagram. And every so often, try a new platform. Some will appeal to you; others won't. But the only way to know is to try them out.
- Be public. If you can't get over the obstacle of making your social media profile public, then it's going to be very difficult to use social media to find more success for your writing. That doesn't mean you can't find writing success, but social media won't be much of a help. When you make your profile public, more people can find you...and that's really the goal of this post. Making your profile private encourages obscurity. That said, only share things on your public profile that you're comfortable sharing.
- Brand yourself. Every social media platform provides writers with ways to brand themselves. Think about your avatar image. Craft a snappy bio and/or tagline that shares who you are and what you care about. Some sites give you enough room for a catchy sentence, while others afford you the ability to write a paragraph (or three). Use your creativity to differentiate yourself from every other writer on social media...while remaining true to your brand and your goals.
- Be consistently active. This might mean you post once a day...or multiple times a day...or a few times a week. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to be active. Because inactive accounts look like abandoned accounts. Stalker accounts look like abandoned accounts too. And well, stalkers are kind of creepy, right?
- Find and follow good content providers. One trick to being consistently active is to find great content providers. Most social media sites make it easy to share content. So find and follow people who align with your writing goals. Also, find and follow literary agents, as well as magazines, websites, and book publishers that align with your writing niche(s). Plus, writers who write in your genre(s) are great people to find and follow too, whether they're established or not.
- Share great content. You might've picked this up from reading tips five and six, but it never hurts to point out the obvious. The great thing about social media is that you don't have to write everything. You can see a great post and share it with your followers. This is called curating, and it can help you gain new followers if you do it well. Speaking of which, be sure to add your own comment when you share content. This helps personalize the content through your lens and includes you in the conversation if your "share" or "retweet" is shared or retweeted in kind.
- Share your writing. Of course, create your own posts. But also, share links to your published writing and upcoming events. And don't be afraid to share some of your unpublished writing, whether you're looking for feedback or to build enthusiasm for an upcoming book.
- Avoid being a used car salesperson. Let's do a quick empathy experiment regarding social media. Ask yourself these questions: Am I joining social media to buy a bunch of stuff from other members? Do I want all my new "connections" on social media to immediately pitch me on a book or "opportunity" to send them money? If you answered yes to these questions, then please buy my forthcoming book on Amazon. If you answered no to these questions, then back off the hard sales pitches when you're on social media. My assumption is that 99.9% of the people on social media would answer no these questions. You should assume that too.
- Engage with your connections. Social media is at its best when people engage each other. So if you see a great post on a topic, don't be afraid to like that post and leave a comment. To take this a step further, craft posts that encourage feedback from your followers. This is an excellent way to build deeper connections.
One final tip: Tailor your approach to each platform. While your writer brand should stay consistent across social media sites, savvy social media users know that how you use Facebook is different than how you use Twitter. And that Instagram requires a completely different approach. It can be a fun challenge. But remember my first tip: Put your writing first.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, specifically working on the Market Books, WritersMarket.com, and maintaining the Poetic Asides blog. He can be found on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. And, of course, follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.