Saturday, December 31, 2016

Writers: 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence

Participating in the #NaNo Blog Hop inspired me to tweak my social media presence, and clicking on several hundred twitter, facebook, and blog profiles makes you hyper-aware of what works and what doesn't. So here are a few things you can check on your profiles right now, especially Twitter:

  1. List your genre(s). I can't tell you how many twitter and facebook profiles I read that said they were a writer or aspiring author, but didn't list genre. I love a lot of genres but there are some I'm simply not interested in. So if you write something I'm not interested in, me following you isn't going to help either of us. You'll get that cool notification and that's it. I'll never click on anything you post and I'll never buy your book.
  2. Links. Let's say you write SFF. Sweet! I'm interested. And maybe I like some other things about your profile. What now? Give me a website or something to click. There is nothing more frustrating than looking at someone's profile, which indicates that I'm already interested, and then not finding anywhere else to go from Twitter. And know where you want to funnel potential readers, because I'll probably only click one link and you'll be lucky if I click another link on from that first landing page. Like, I might link my SFF chapbook, Premeditations, and my PB Charlie Cat Does NOT Like Halloween, and my Readers Club newsletter,.
  3. Examples. If you have product to sell (such as books) I want to see examples of what you've written. I don't mean that I expect thousands of words for free, but come on, give me something. Be proud of your work and let it speak for you. And if possible, have your example link directly to your email list or a book you want us to buy.
  4. Images. You have about 30 seconds to catch a potential follower's attention. I saw all sorts of images; most of you had an author photo, which helps with professionalism. Some had covers on their back splash which often helped indicate genre. Some had cool photos which give a peak into that 'I swear I'm a real person' stuff (appropriate for Twitter if not facebook and goodreads). Some had more generic images of book shelves. What caught my eye were the bad images. The ones that were pixelated and a few that didn't have images at all (which is better than a bad image). Generic didn't bother me but bad did. These are social media websites that make it easy for you to add images. Add high-quality images that say something about you.
  5. Your Personal Life. Unlike in a short story cover letter, I like to see that tiny bit of you that says hey, you're a real person! Oh my gosh, are we both moms who like SFF? I just clicked follow. You like Star Trek, too? I'm a sucker. I clicked Follow. And as much as I like the witty profile descriptions, that description had better also say something about who you are (or at least your genre!). Adjust this advice for different platforms, but it works for twitter, which is a mix of professional and personal and has low-risk for following new people.
  6. Interact. So, I get that people hate those auto-DMs and even Twitter officially discourages it. But I'll admit to clicking on a few of the links sent to me this way--Now I'm not saying that you should break Twitter's rules, but I am saying that you should interact with the people who are your target audience or otherwise have a lot in common with you. There were also plenty of auto-DMs that I did not click on because, wow, you can't reach me if I'm not even your target audience. Twitter in particular is a platform where people expect a lot of short, quick interactions. Even though I found you on a list of 300+ NaNo bloggers, we might actually like talking to each other, yanno? Plus, you joining the blog hop tells me that you're open to almost-random contacts from everyone else on the list. /Advice from a social butterfly.
  7. Pick a Platform. What I mean here is to know what you can handle. Don't join every platform in existence without even knowing what that platform is good for. Exceptions might include Goodreads and Facebook, where having your book/author page up is good and interacting is even better but not really required. So don't reach out through DMs and whatnot using a platform that you're not going to stick with. Pick a few that work for you and make it clear where fans can best interact with you. I know an author who periodically has to remind her followers that a FB DM to her is a sure waste of your time, but she still finds Facebook useful because it's Facebook and she does interact on her author page. I didn't follow a lot of the FB profiles because I actually use Facebook for a lot of real-life things and don't need heaps of extra notifications. I have a Goodreads account and a Reddit account that I mostly neglect. Oops. So, for the record, I'd love to connect with you through TwitterFacebook, and my Readers Club newsletter.
  8. Media Sheets. Do yourself a favor and create a media sheet for anything you publish. A media sheet is a document that lists all those annoying things that you have to look up or write all over again when advertising your work, yourself, and otherwise engaging your social media superpowers. For example, amazon link, goodreads link, links to all your social media platforms, small versions of the cover, the blurb, your author blurb, pre-written tweets, etc. My media sheets made my life tons easier as I was filling out the blog hop and responding to new followers.
  9. Schedule Posts. As a creative person I often cycle through productive periods. For instance, NaNo meant that I was writing 50k+ words in my WIP, but of course I have to toil more before I can show that to my readers. Then I'll go through periods where I'm writing blog posts because I have an idea or because something timely is coming up. Rather than posting 20 blog posts in a week and then nothing for 6 months, I like to schedule these posts ahead of time and I use fancy magic to automatically tweet my blog posts and share them to facebook. And for advertising my books, I like to have a reason to advertise and I definitely don't want to spam followers every day, so I take something like Premeditiations bookversary and do something special for my Readers Club subscribers. Then there's my Charlie Cat picture book series which centers around certain holidays, so obviously that has a time factor to it. And here I am going back to my media sheets to embed links in this post. Whew!
  10. Go Back to Writing! Ever heard the 80/20 rule? Spend most of your time writing, not gleefully making hundreds of maybe-friends on social media. It was fun to participate in the blog hop and I 'met' quite a number of people I'm happy to have in my networks, but it meant that I spent less time writing and now I've got to get back to that. Buh-bye!
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