Thursday, December 16, 2010

Everything I wanted to Know About Social Media...

but was afraid to ask! Well, I'm still afraid, but the mist is beginning to clear a bit.

On December 9, I participated in a live webinar hosted by Writer’s Digest and presented by I.J. Schecter ( called “How to use Social Media to promote your writing and yourself.” I.J. concentrated mostly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with a short time devoted to blogging. I learned some new things in the 1 ½ hour lecture, a combination of live audio and power point presentation, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
We hear so much about branding in the writing world, and this webinar also touched on that theme. What is branding? I.J. described it as a combination of telling the world “Who I am” and “What I do”. In the who I am component, I must think about how I want to present myself to the world. What do I want people to think of when they think of me? What I do means telling people how I spend my day.
I think the question “What do I want people to think of when they think of me?” is very profound for a writer, and quite frankly, I haven’t given it the deep thought it deserves. There are certain writers whose work immediately brings to mind a thought, feeling or expectation. For instance, when I say to you “Steven King”, you immediately think horror, supernatural mystery, or psychological thriller. You will never think romance when you think of Steven King; he has a clear handle on what he wants people to think of when they think of him.
We should keep in mind that brand we want to project in any of our postings on social media. For instance, if I want to present myself as a person who can deliver funny and witty writing, maybe my posts on Facebook should reflect that.
But whatever brand we want to project, or however tempted we are to promote ourselves silly, screaming “Buy my book, please, please, please! It’s really good, I swear!”, we must resist. If someone posts constantly with messages exhorting readers to buy her book, to read excerpts from her newest release, or to comment on her latest review, it’s soon going to be ignored. You can only hit someone over the head with the hard sell for so long before they turn off. I.J. gave examples from the Facebook profiles of people he knows who have handled that delicate balance between the hardsell and the softsell very well. His friend, a freelance writer, will send several unrelated-to-writing type posts before slipping one in about his writing. For instance, he sent a post about the death of Lesley Nielsen, paying homage to the funnyman. It started a conversation among his friends. By talking about things not always related to what you’re trying to sell or promote, you build relationships in the online community. The hope is that once you’ve built those relationships, people will be more inclined to click on your profile and support your other endeavors.
I’ll talk more about this social media class and what I’ve learned next Tuesday. For today, I’ll leave you with this question: What is your brand? Do you have a brand? Do you think it’s important? I can honestly tell you this: I have no idea what my brand is. But I’ll be thinking about it, a lot, in the next few weeks. What do I want people to think of when they think of me?
Please friend me at I need all the friends I can get!


  1. You know branding is a big question for me, Jana! And it's hard as an unpublished writer to pin down what I want that brand to be! I guess I'll just keep asking the question - and maybe when I get around to a book deal, I'll have it figured out.

    Glad to hear the webinar was thought provoking and beneficial! Can't wait to hear about Twitter - still signed on, but have yet to venture out into the Tweetworld!

  2. Hi Janet,
    I think branding is tough for any writer. Or at least it is for me. How do you get readers to think of you and your writing the way you want them to? I'm still working on that one.

    As far as Twitter, well at least you've signed up. I haven't gotten that far. The webinar touched on Twitter but not a lot. I'll talk a bit more about that next week.


  3. That's an excellent question to ask oneself. I did give it some thought as I set up my blog but I'll need to give it some more as I wade deeper (and try to get the most out of) Twitter after the New Year!

    Looking forward to the next post!

  4. Karyn, it's a question I need to ask myself more deeply. And then figure out, somehow, how to get there. Not sure how to do that.


  5. Jana, you bring the branding issue to the forefront again for me. I, too, participated in a promotion workshop recently and branding came up in that, too.
    I discovered I not only hadn't given it much thought, but others didn't see my 'brand' in the same light I did. So I'm still trying to workout which direction to go with the branding issue.
    I found your blog very helpful. Thanks for sharing

  6. Hi Sherry,
    You're one step ahead of me in that I have no idea if people see my "brand" the way I would like them to see it. I guess we'll just keep sending out our messages and hoping that people "get" us.