SOCIAL MEDIA: THE WRITER'S RABBIT HOLE
Mastering the marketing element of social media can be one of the most difficult tasks for both new and aspiring writers. There are so many different platforms and so much out there, that it can be easy to get lost or overwhelmed, especially when social media is a form of communication and marketing that most of us are fairly new to. But we are in a digital age, and authors without a strong social media presence are practically committing marketing suicide.
So whether you have yet to set up any of your own accounts, consider yourself a social media guru, or are somewhere in between, here are some tips to make sure you don't get lost in the rabbit hole.
1. Don't spread yourself too thin. Instead of trying to maintain a presence on every platform you can get your hands on, focus your efforts on one or two sites. It's better to whole-ass one thing than to half-ass a lot of things.
2. Know your target audience, and pick your platforms accordingly. Every platform has a very different user base, and putting yourself on the wrong field is a waste of your time and efforts. Facebook has a much older user base than Instagram, and Twitter is a melting pot of all different kinds of people. As a YA writer, I don't have any kind of Facebook profile, and my main profile is on Instagram. My best advice is that before you get started, do your research!
3. Don't pick a platform that you don't like. There are thousands of options out there, and there is no hard and fast rule that you have to be on one of the big names. Effective use of social media requires a lot of time and active engagement, and you won't be able to dedicate the time you need to a platform you hate.
4. Be active. I think there is a common misconception out there that social media is something you can set and forget, like posting a more traditional type of advertisement, but that simply isn't the case. If you do not keep updating your feed with relevant content, your existing followers will get bored, and you will cease to acquire any new followers. There is no point in having a social media account if you aren't going to use it.
5. Be relevant. Keep your content relevant to the work you are trying to promote, your career as a writer, reading, and anything else that your target audience is interested in. That isn't to say that you can't post anything about your personal life; readers like to see their favorite writers as real people, but try to keep your writing profile distinct, consistent, and at least a little bit professional.
6. Be yourself. If you have something unique and genuine to bring to the world through your writing, then it's likely your personality will have some of those same qualities, too. Social media is an informal place where readers can really get to know the authors they follow, and this can be an amazing opportunity to attract readers to your style and flair. No one is interested in flat and fake personalities on social media . Don't be afraid to show the world a little bit of the real you. (Just stay away from hot-topic controversies in order to avoid alienating potential readers)
7. Remember that social media users are not here for constant ad-blasting and self promotion. Frankly, it's annoying. That doesn't mean you can never promote your work, but it shouldn't be all you post. In fact, it shouldn't even be the majority of what you post. The purpose of social media is to engage in the community and form meaningful relationships with potential readers and like-minded individuals, not just advertising. If you build those relationships right, you will have a loyal fan base eager and willing to read your work when the time comes.
Happy posting, writers! Visit these helpful links if you want to learn more.
The Ultimate Social Media Guide for Writers
Twitter Marketing 101: for Writers
Which Platforms You Need to be On, Based on What You Write
The Best Social Media Strategies for Creative Writers
7 Social media Tips for Writers Who Want to Get Noticed
How to Promote Your Book on Instagram, Without Spending a Lot of Money
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Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin
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