This week I was honoured to be invited to speak at a Strathpine Library to a writers group on the topic of social media. It was a fun night and the group was very welcoming and participated enthusiastically.
Here are some of the points we covered:
Why use social media?
- Connect with your peers - Writers share a supportive and encouraging community. You'll find other writers who are learning the craft and willing to share their findings as well as professional authors offering tips and advice online. My online writing buddies have helped me by sharing links, bringing competitions to my attention, guiding my marketing plans, and making recommendations for service providers.
- Keep up with industry news - You can follow agents, publishers and other industry experts to learn of opportunities and guidelines for submissions.
- Reach an audience. Readers use social media too and they love making a personal connection with the authors they read. Social media is a great way to make readers aware of your books.
- Be consistent. Most writers will spread themselves over more than one social platform. Have one suitable profile picture, preferably of yourself and not your dog/cat/kids/favourite cartoon character. When people connect with you, they want to feel it's really you. Using the same profile pic on all platforms means follower won't be confused by your identity.
- Entertain, educate or engage. This is the only reason you post. If you can be humorous, go ahead, share a joke (appropriate to your target audience). Followers will also appreciate tips and advice. Plus don't forget to respond to other people's posts, make a connection.
- Some people believe you must follow everyone who follows you. I feel you should follow the people who's posts interest you, don't worry if they follow you back.
- Stand by your own standards and ethics, don't criticise other peoples decisions online. For example, there's a lot of criticism about certain authors paying for reviews lately. I choose not to pay for review, but those authors who do have the right to make their own choices.
Where to go?
There's many options for social media, here's my choices:
- Blogger. I tried Wordpress and looked at others, but for me Blogger was a nice simple and clear platform. It's very easy to update and to follow through Google friends. I also like that Blogger links to my Google+ account.
- Facebook. This is not my favourite platform, but it's where my friends are. I don't like the way you have to request a friend acceptance from people you want to follow. It is handy though for creating fan or group pages.
- Google+. I like the way this platform flows. The circles are a great idea, you place people into the groups you want to use. My circles include writers, marketing, internet experts, artists and friends/family.
- Twitter. This is great for finding and sharing links. You're limited to short posts, so sometimes it can feel a bit like everyone is posting at you rather than interacting, but it is the platform that has generated the most sales for my ebook My Zombie Dog.
- Goodreads. A good site for gaining reviews.
- Amazon. You can create your own author page.
- YouTube. I follow some wonderful authors who offer vlogs (video blogs) on this platform. It's also good for hosting your book trailer. YouTube does attract trolls (people who leave nasty comments just for the sake of upsetting you) so don't post vlogs unless you're thick-skinned.
In this digital age the culture of writers has evolved to include social media, it's important that we evolve to fit within this emerging culture.
And for some online fun, why not take part in this blog challenge: Write a short story for halloween with a romantic spin and post your link on Romantic Friday Writers: