I learned some interesting things from the Writer’s Digest webinar on social media I participated in on December 9. These are some of the things I’ve learned, and some of the decisions I’ve made.
Facebook - I need to quit being afraid of it (don’t ask me why I find it so intimidating) and just dive in. I can share bits of industry news and interesting links, mixed in with a bit of promotion.
It’s not like I have to be posting constantly. I.J. Schecter (http://ijschecter.com/), presenter of the webinar, says that a moderate poster will post a couple of times a week. A high frequency poster will post everyday or several times a day. He believes there is a “sweet spot” between the frequency of the posts, and the focus or topic of the posts. If your focus is always the same, for instance, on writing topics, you are highly focused. If you post on variety of subjects that often have little to do with your primary focus, you are a low focus poster. Schecter believes it is best to be relatively highly focused and relatively highly frequent.
However often I post, I must always be conscious and safe. Similar to email, don’t write anything you’d be embarrassed to have certain people read, or be sorry about later. Always be aware of your tone – watch the snark! You want to project a certain voice in all your postings. That voice is your brand.
There’s that word again – brand. I know what I would like people to think of when they think of my writing; I’d like them to think of hard-to-put down romance, memorable storylines and unforgettable characters. I would love readers to think of me as an automatic buy. So how do I get there?
I can start by showing readers in my posts that I love writing. I’m also interested in sharing information on writing and technology with other writers. My hope is that by showing myself to be a warm and decent human being (hopefully!) readers will be interested enough to check out my books.
I.J. says that figuring out what you want your brand to be and how you want to present yourself to the world is a little like writing an outline for a book. Once you figure out all the plot twists and turning points, the actual writing isn’t so hard. The same is true for posting on either Facebook or Twitter. Once you figure out how you want the world to think of you, then writing the posts is easy.
Blogging – Blogging is a good thing, but only if you’ve got something to say. Don’t do it just to do it. I.J.’s examples of blogs were very focused. For instance, his own blog is all about golf and golf courses. Sports writing, and golf in particular, is part of his writing career, and he’s decided his blog will be the place for public discussions about golf. I’ve decided to reduce to one blog a week, and I’ve decided that I want to concentrate on topics dedicated to writing. So beginning in the New Year I will be blogging on Thursdays only.
LinkedIn – At this point I don’t think I want to venture into another social media. But one thing I did learn is that LinkedIn seems to be the place to advertise yourself as a professional, in whatever profession you happen to be in. Eighty percent of employers go to LinkedIn first when looking for an employee. I’ve wanted to write magazine articles for some time, so when I get to the point where that becomes a reality for me, I would set up an account on LinkedIn under my real name.
Twitter – Many people claim it’s actually easier to use than Facebook and is more effective. But until I feel more comfortable using the social media I’m using now, I can’t add any more. That’s a project for the future. However, I am researching the Twitter-verse and trying to figure out how it works. Sage Cohen offers these reasons for a writer to tweet:
1. Give Service. Share relevant information with the people who are seeking your advice on a certain topic or genre.
2. Build Community. Connect with people all over the world who share your interests and inclinations. Exchange insight, information and inspiration with them.
3. Evolve. Through the offerings of your tweeting community, you can discover new resources, learn about new opportunities, and plug into possibilities that take your writing life where you want it to go.
Click here for some really good tips and advice from Robert Brewer on how to make Twitter work for writers.
And my friend Hayley Lavik (http://www.hayleylavik.com ) offers up this super “Introduction to Twitter”:
I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable with social media and building my “platform”. There are other avenues I’d like to explore at some point, like Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/program ) , but for now I’m taking I.J. Schecter’s advice and not spreading myself too thin.
Which social media do you use? Which do you feel most comfortable with? What new avenue do you plan to use in the future? Which do you think most effectively promotes you as a writer?