Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest Oh My!

By Kerrie Flanagan

This expression is one I have seen from countless writers when they hear they should be on social media promoting themselves and their writing.

Social Media?! Yikes!
They would much rather tuck themselves away and get lost in their own literary worlds, than jump in the social media pool.

Hiding is not the way to find success as an author.  

Social media can be a powerful way to connect to readers, other writers and even experts in a field. But with so many options; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+… It can be a challenge to know where to begin. The mistake many writers make is they feel they should be doing all of them. That can feel overwhelming, so they end up doing nothing.

I am here to tell you, you don’t have to do it all! If you aren’t on any social media platforms yet, pick one that most appeals to you. If you are already using one or two, and are enjoying them, then continue to build those and don’t worry about adding more to the mix.

Twitter: Each tweet is limited to 140 Characters. It can feel crazy at first, but if you think of it as a cocktail party it is easier to grasp. At a party, you visit with someone for a little while and then move on to another conversation. Twitter is the same thing. There isn’t a lot of deep conversation, but it is a nice way to meet new people and find those who you do want a deeper connection with.

Facebook (business page): Here you can get more in depth conversations going on and share videos, photos, articles and events. The business page works slightly different than a personal Facebook page, but it fairly easy to use.

Pinterest: This is the perfect platform for those who love photos and visuals. It is a great place to share ideas, recipes, photos, art, decorating tips, craft projects… Pinterest is basically a huge collection of different bulletin boards on every topic imaginable.

LinkedIn: Geared for the more professional crowd, LinkedIn is great for those writing nonfiction. For anyone trying to build a professional platform and be seen as an expert in a field, there are interest groups you can join to connect with others.

Instagram: This is a fun platform where people share photos and videos on their phone. You can share your photos/videos with just friends or share them publicly.

5 Social Media Tips for Writers

1. Pick one social media platform that appeals to you and make it a priority to understand the ins and outs of it. Research and learn what you can about how to be most effective on this platform.

2. Figure out who your ideal reader is for your books/writing and gear your messages/tweets/photos to that reader. Be strategic with your posts and always keep your ideal reader in mind.

3. It is not all about you. Regardless of the platform, no one wants to engage with people who are only focused on themselves. The “look at me!” “buy my book!” approach is not very effective.

4. Social media is about that—being social. It is about making connections with your readers, finding others with similar interests and interacting with them. In order for social media to be successful there needs to be interaction. Having 10,000 followers on Twitter is meaningless if you are never engaging with them.

5. Social media can potentially take up a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to. Set aside a certain amount of time each day and stick to that. You can also take one day a week to schedule posts/tweets and then use your time each day to interact with your followers.

It doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t have to jump right into the deep end.

Social media can be an effective tool for writers to make meaningful connections.  Start slowly and hang out in the shallow end until you feel comfortable. The key is to just give it a try. You never know who you’ll meet.

For those in Northern Colorado who want to know more about Twitter and how to use it, I am teaching a class on June 28th. CLICK HERE for more information. 

Follow me on
Twitter at: @Kerrie_Flanagan

1 comment:

Patricia Stoltey said...

Excellent advice, Kerrie. I've resisted Instagram and Pinterest and jumping on a few other new bandwagons that pop up from time to time. We need social media but we need to be smart about our choices and the time we spend on them.

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