Publishing tweets and status updates is definitely different from publishing the usual writing projects. However, that doesn’t mean that self-publishing writers cannot benefit from being self-promoting writers, too.
Social media are amazing platforms as they offer the writer great opportunities to connect with readers, other writers, and to catch the attention of publishers.
Here we suggest six great ways that writers can use social media to their advantage, so check if you are doing any or all of these things already. If not, ask yourself if you could you add them to your day-to-day routine. Remember there’s also a creative benefit to forcing yourself to articulate your thoughts in a concise amount of text, a skill which is always good to have.
1. Don’t promote yourself 24/7
It’s easy to see your Twitter account, Facebook page or other Social Media outlet as a billboard for all your work; but remember:
If you expect people to interact with your social media, it’s important to build connections and interact with them in return. People want, nay need to interact with other people, not with something or someone who seems to be like a robot.
We suggest posting details about your work only 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% highlighting other people’s work or interacting with people in other ways. This creates an engaging, humanised account for potential readers, and it encourages stronger connections. Meaning your postings are not just an account that spits out links to new stories.
2. Pick platforms that you actually like to use
Don’t force yourself to create a social media account on every single platform. Post only to those accounts you will actually use and enjoy using.
For some people that’s Tumblr, for others LinkedIn, or in some cases Instagram. You won’t be as motivated to stick with posting something regularly if you don’t actually like the site.
3. Utilise the “About Me” sections so they’re clear for your potential followers.
People’s attention spans online are limited! If someone does stumble upon your social media page, they’ll quickly scan the “about me” or “profile” blurb for a quick glimpse to see what you’re about.
People intuitively and immediately look at these spaces on blogs, YouTube channels, etc., in order to get a quick sense of whether they should dive into the material further or not. If you don’t have a clear and concise explanation about you, then the chances are they won’t dig further for it. Create something you can use across a number of social media platforms that explains the kind of writing you do plus a little bit more about yourself, if you want to.
4. Think inside and outside the box.
Though engaging and interacting on a popular social media website is smart, don’t forget about the smaller or more niche ways that you can use social media to work for you.
There are a number of smart ways that Indie authors can benefit from social media, including crowd-funding, social media advertising, and much, much more.
Social media is all about thinking creatively — something writers should be able to do with ease!
5. Share social media success with potential publishers.
As mentioned above, being engaging and interactive is really what will benefit you in the long run. But, if the strategy works, don’t shy away from bragging about those numbers if you have them.
Keep in mind that a built-in social media audience can be compelling to a publisher. If you’re trying to prove that you can sell books, build a brand. Being able to say that you’ve grown your Twitter following into the tens of thousands in a matter of months could be a compelling piece of information. Publishers will probably ask about this anyway.
Remember to check out websites that offer advice on such subjects. You will probably pick up some good ideas along the way.
6. Use it as a research tool.
Are you curious about what the readers are looking for?
Not sure how to end that story?
Wondering what colour your book cover should be?
There are tons of sneaky ways to slide questions like this into your social media, and get some real-time feedback from your audience, especially if you are self-publishing. Being able to engage with readers and ask such questions can be a valuable research tool.
One cautionary thought: As helpful as social media can be in building your brand, it can also become distracting if you become too obsessed with it. If you are writing, turn your phone off and block those social media websites. Or just get off the Internet altogether.
Used wisely social media can be a big win for all writers, don’t just carried away.