If you’re a writer just starting out and you’re not on social media, I have only one question for you: Are you nuts?
Okay, maybe that’s a little forward. But still, social media is an extremely important promotional and even creative pathway for any writer, new or established. You may have any number of reasons (excuses, really) why you are not on social media. Whatever they may be, I assure you that you that there are better ones for being on social media than not.
A presence on social media allows you to get your name out into the world at virtually no cost, it helps you engage with readers, which can lead to book sales and paying work, and it can be a resource for information and inspiration for your current and future writing projects.
If you have yet to take the plunge, or if you are just starting out but not sure you’re doing it right, here is a short list of social media tips to help you on your way.
- Pick just a couple of sites that work for you. There are literally thousands of social media sites. You’ll never need them all. You’ll never even need a fraction. Just pick two or three that work for you and stick with them. Factors to consider include demographics like age and gender and if the site caters to a specific interest or crowd. I use Twitter primarily, and I have started dabbling in Instagram as well. (Look me up @RickBrownell) Facebook is another good one, but recent changes to that platform are making it tougher for independents to find an audience.
- Use your time wisely. Remember, social media is supposed to be a tool that you use to promote yourself and your work. You don’t want to let it become a distraction from your work. Set aside a specific amount of time each day, and try to be consistent as to the time of day you are online. If you are consistent and predictable about times that you post or engage with others, you are more likely to build a following.
- Post regularly. You should try to post at least a little something every day. That may seem like a big commitment, but it doesn’t really have to take that long. If you are on Twitter, tools like TweetDeck allow you to schedule posts in advance, so you can plan ahead and line up a bunch of posts on an off day that are spread throughout the week. The important thing is, again, be consistent about when you post so that people will come to expect to hear from you.
- Post about things that matter. And by this, I mean things that matter to you and to your audience. You’re unlikely to gain followers if you are a science fiction writer who goes off on a screed about the latest presidential debate. Unless, of course, you think one of the candidates is an alien, in which case all is forgiven. But keep the content your share on your platform aligned with the interests of your followers.
- Don’t just talk. Listen. Social media is a conversation. That means everyone gets to talk. Like and follow people who follow you. Pose questions that elicit feedback from followers. Get a conversation going that introduces you to new people and gets them interested in you and your work.
There’s a lot more to being successful on social media, but keeping these points in mind is a good start. If you have questions on next steps, or want to know more about tips and strategies, drop me a line at Rick@RichardBrownell.com.