Oct 10, 2012

Why, How and Where of Social Media

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?
  1. 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.
  2. Keep up with industry news - You can follow agents, publishers and other industry experts to learn of opportunities and guidelines for submissions.
  3. 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.
Marketing yourself:
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Goodreads. A good site for gaining reviews.
  6. Amazon. You can create your own author page.
  7. 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:


  1. Great points. I'm a big lover of social media and have helped a lot of my writer friends out with setting up profiles and with hints and tips for posting.

    I also love Tumblr. I have a writing advice blog on Tumblr (writingbox.tumblr.com) and in just a few months I've gained over 900 followers.

    I also get thank you messages from my readers and messages saying that I've encouraged them to start writing. Nothing makes me feel happier than that!

  2. This us great Charmaine. It must have been a great workshop.
    Thanks for the shout out for Halloween House of Horrors. Great writing group today. Next week is going to be fabulous.

  3. Excellent advice. I think my hardest thing is being consistent. I don't know why I have such a problem with that. I need to work on it.

  4. You are always so generous with your knowledge. That makes you pretty special. Thanks for all these tips.

  5. i think social media is definitely worth getting involved with as an author, even if it is a bit daunting at first (it was for me anyway).

    Nice breakdown of what's out there.

    Moody Writing

  6. Thank you for the tips! (I'm going to bookmark this page.) I'm not familiar with Google + (but I see it on my blogger screen). What is it? (forgive the ignorance, ha!) I like interacting with other writers a lot. The problem is it can soon become overwhelming because of the many blogs, contests, writers, agents, etc. Many times I find myself lost (as far as what to read and comment) because there are so many choices and such a limited amount of time to do it (but I'm glad I stopped here :))

  7. Excellent post, learning how to use it successfully is the key. I'm still learning.

  8. Hi, Charmaine! Great advice. Thanks.

  9. Great advice, Charmaine. I believe it's best to find what suits your personality and then be consistent. I still haven't got a good grip on Twitter. ; )

  10. Thank you Charmaine! Such great advice~ I need to check out all of these! Hope life is treating you well :D

  11. I haven't attended a workshop in a while. I hope to soon.

    This was a great wrap up of social media out there. Good to know all the options.

    Hope you're having a fun weekend Charmaine.


  12. This was great! Anyone with a website/blog can really benefit from social media. My area had a social media conference and they had a speaker who spoke on how to benefit from social media, what to do to get ppl to your site, view your product, etc.
    I wish I could of gone! Even though she spoke to ppl trying to make their business successful on social media I felt ppl with websites/blogs would benefit too.
    After all book bloggers,authors, writers, etc. need visitors and return visitors to keep the wheel turning.
    We are all trying to sell a product, it may not be our own, but we are advertising it. Trying to get others to buy/read it. I speak for book bloggers/review sites only.
    Thank you for this great post & allowing me to ramble..lolz..

  13. PS: My Zombie Dog is a MUST have! I cant wait to read it!
    I love dogs, love zombies. This is a win/win! Perfect for Halloween too!

  14. Such great advice! I especially love #1 in marketing. I think it's so important to have a picture of YOU, instead of something else, because it helps people to connect to you so much better. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I'm new to social media so thank you for the overview and advice, it can all seem a bit daunting at times.

  16. All the pointers in this post are a great place to start! Glad Twitter has worked for you!

  17. Great Post, Charmaine.

    I liked your comments on the individual platforms the most.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  18. If you present as well as you blog post Charmaine, you're on a winner. Superb post - again simple and straightforward guidance to find your way through an otherwise sometimes daunting social jungle.

  19. I'm really touched when I get all your beautiful comments and this reminds me what a supportive and sharing community readers and writers create. More encouragement for writers to put themselves out there - your receivers are very kind!

    Love you all :)

  20. Fantastic things to remember about social media! And I'm with you about Blogger. I just don't like Wordpress.

  21. Great advice.

    I briefly had Wordpress for an official site, but I decided to just use Blogger for everything. It seems so much simpler.

    I feel like I'm flowing with my favorite social media sites. I don't do them all in a day, but I'm most consistent with tweeting and blogging.

  22. Another great post, Charmaine!!
    You made some great points--particularly about being consistent.

  23. Thanks for visiting my blog - I'm glad I have found yours. This is a really useful piece. I hadn't thought of several of the points, even though I do use social media.

  24. Social media is definitely one of the best ways for writers to showcase their talent in writing. It allows you to freely express what you want to share with your readers. But you have to be smart when using social media. Tip: Always give your readers something new to read and share with their friends. Stay fresh and informative when you are connecting with them. Don’t forget to look professional.

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