For writers, social media is a great way to send thoughts and images to the world in the time it takes to sneeze.
If you have something funny, poignant or crucial to share, there will always be someone to read it on social media.
What a world we live in, eh?
Here is what I told some BC travel writers about social media at the BCATW Travel Writing Symposium over the weekend.
Social Media is an excellent way to network with other creative people. There are groups galore who share the same interests as you and for people who are typically isolated, writers can find communities who understand them.
But the first thing a writer needs is a blog.
Blogs are the hubs of all you create. They are your main megaphone, a home your words, and thus, the basis for all your social media and promotional efforts. In addition to blog posts, blogs are where your bio, writing clips, photography portfolios, upcoming events live.
Blogs and websites are what all social media link to.
So there’s that. Here are the top social media platforms for writers.
Continuing to be mother of all social media, this micro blogging platform allows you to share almost every kind of media: photos, video, gifs, links, ads, contests, etc, and as well as keeping you in touch with friends and sharing with the public.
Facebook has groups to join to share specific information and engage in favorite topics. Most groups won’t let you talk about anything else.
The groups I belong to include Advanced WordPress, BC Association of Travel Writers, and YVR Bloggers, as well as The Kanes, a family-only page.
Facebook fan pages are for businesses, brands, celebrities or causes. These pages get fans, not friends. The best part of fan pages is the scheduler tool, which makes it possible to plan the sharing of posts.
From the fan page, you can create an event page to share with your friends and fans, and get a type of loose RSVP. Great for the next time you have a reading.
Be aware that Facebook will judge your post before broadcasting it widely. The more likes, comments and shares it gets in the first few hours, the more people will see it.
Twitter is an amazing macro blogging platform for sending 140 character blurbs, or Tweets, and for retweeting the tweets of others.
As we know, Twitter us relied upon by mainstream media for quotes and a modern type of informal polling.
Certain national leaders depend on Twitter to bypass the media by sending messages at 3 am, by that kind of stupidity is rare.
Using hashtags is the way to find larger audience on Twitter on specific. For instance, an airport abbreviation – like #YVR for Vancouver – is a great way to reach users in a specific region. Or, try using Follower Wonk, a tool to find people in a local area or specific hashtag to connect with.
Using handles – like @blogsitestudio – will alert a specific user in what is called a Mention. Twitter users love to be mentioned.
It’s a good idea to follow a Rule of thirds – Post your thoughts / Retweet others stuff / Promote your own stuff
Reply to the tweets on your feed. Retweet other peoples tweets. Thank those who retweet you. Shout out to people using handles. Respond to Mentions. Create lists.
If you are looking for specific people to follow, find a good Twitter List where you can hit Follow for everyone on that list.
Twitter has a Rule of thirds consisting of: Post your own ideas / Retweet others stuff / Promote your stuff
You can find Twitter Chats to engage with like minded groups in real time.
Instagram is a mobile-only micro-blogging platform that has seen tremendous growth in the past few years and shows no signs of stopping. You can post pictures and videos, and share them through other social networking platforms, like Twitter and Facebook. Three birds, one stone.
If you have a Facebook business page, you can have a Instagram Business account (since Facebook owns Instagram). That way, you can Promote a post and include a Call to Action.
Hashtag keywords are a great way to broadcast widely and Instagram will autofill them for you.
Pinterest users create Boards for every category they Pin to and everything Pinned comes from from the web, and are linked back to the original sources.
Visually, Pinterest is made for tall skinny images and infographics, making it very drool-inducing.
Pinterest content can live a longer time than other platforms. Good content seen by people with huge followings can bring major Repinings.
Repining other people’s content is the way to make them aware of your boards
LinkedIn is designed for professionals to meet and interact with like-minded people and to promote your expertise. All writers need to be seen as professional, right?
LinkedIn offers probably the most comprehensive profile of all social media platforms and it appears as an online resume. In fact, you can download your profile and use the content on a printed resume.
By joining Groups onLinkedIn, you’ll get professional responses to questions and opportunities to answer questions.
I belong to WordPress Web Design and WordPress Experts. Unfortunately, ever since the user interface was redesigned, I can’t find a link to my groups so I have to do a search for them.
If you’re looking for a job, which I never am,LinkedIn has a job board for you.
LinkedIn is great for finding and connecting with professionals of almost any kind. But, keep it professional.
Plus is Google’s version of Facebook, but instead of Friends and Fans, you have Circles of Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following that provide a sort of Venn diagram of all your People.
Instead of Groups, Google + offers Communities to join where you can engage about a favorite topic
But while Google + seems clunky and confusing, the main reason to use it is because, well, it’s Google.
Your Plus profile is the basis for other Google products such as Google for Business, which you’ve got to have.
And Plus offers good SEO to your blog posts. Do a search and you’ll find your Google + post on the SERP page. For that reason alone, Plus is worth participating in.
Be social, not sociopathic
As always, being on social media requires a level of decorum similar to society in general. Don’t say things online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Social media is not your personal journal or rant sheet.
If a “friend” is too annoying, don’t bother battling them. Use the unfollow option to not hear from them. Better to be nice than be right all the time.
Otherwise have fun on social media!
And if you have tips about social media for writers, please leave them in the comments section, which, thanks to a recent barrage of comment spam, will be open for only four weeks.
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