A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend a conference for writers in Vancouver, British Columbia. The event took place at a perfect time for me in my writing journey and spurred me on to step up my Internet activities specifically around my writing life.
Already I’d spent a few years writing a blog on blogger.com which was called Beader Girl Jewels and celebrated my life both creative and personal. After attending the Vancouver conference I mentioned above, though, I stepped up my social media footprint to start a new writing blog (On Becoming a Wordsmith), get active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and build my list. I even joined Pinterest when it became a thing. The promise was that all of this activity would help me get known for my writing.
Today I’d like to spend some time telling just what I’ve learned about the value and uses of the various social media platforms I’ve used.
Twitter: In the beginning this was really useful. I went on the Twitter Feed and narrowed my search for sites to follow according to my writing and marketing needs. I was interested in seeing sites which taught me about these topics and I learned a lot. At this stage I would run down the Twitter feed and see what people were publishing. Then I’d follow the sites that interested me and I found some fabulous people and information this way. As the years went on and I built my list and my needs changed so did the time I spent reading the Twitter feed. Now my Twitter time is spent liking and retweeting friends’ stuff as well as checking out new people whose work I want to follow. I rarely take any time to just run down the Twitter feed.
Pinterest: I do a little here but have certainly not used it to its potential. I’ve enjoyed seeing amazing libraries and books pictures but, truthfully, most of the emails Pinterest sends me do not catch my attention. My current goal is to create my own Pinterest poster about my Loyalist books and see if I can get some traction in book sales that way. Always looking for new and interesting ways to market.
LinkedIn: In the beginning I used LinkedIn’s groups to connect to a lot of writing/book related groups. I joined quite a few of them and used them to gain a wider market for my regular blog posts. It was fun and instructive to connect with other writers. One problem began to occur, though. Many of the groups did not want me to post links to my latest blog posts even though those posts had loads of pertinent information for other writers. One even told me I could not use any links in my posts. Gradually I realized I didn’t have time to tailor my group submissions and I opted out of several. The thing that I learned is that a writer’s needs change along the way, going from specific writing questions, to publishing, to marketing, and a LinkedIn member needs to keep abreast of help groups for whatever is the particular need at a specific time. I realized I had to use my social media time as it best helped me. Now I am a member of two marketing type groups and that’s all.
Facebook: My most useful SM time has been spent on Facebook. I have a personal page which helps me keep up to date with family and friends as well as a number of writing friends. Then I have my writer’s page at ElaineCouglerAuthor which is more tuned to the writing world which is so important to me. If you haven’t liked my page, come visit me. Here I post my weekly blog post and any other interesting writing-related things I find along the way. I am most appreciative of those who share and like my articles on this page. I have also done some Facebook advertising which worked pretty well although it takes a few months to actually see the results in sales. You can hone your marketing reach for these ads in several ways which all makes knowing exactly who your audience is absolutely crucial. The FB stats on this are good and the procedure itself is well-documented and easy to follow. Also my audience for my books coincides with the main audience for FaceBook which works out well for me.
I do find sometimes that the world works in mysterious ways. Today as I was writing this blog post, I received a newsletter in my InBox from The Writer Magazine with an article by fellow Canadian Brent van Staalduinen entitled “Stepping away from social media (and back into what matters.)” Interesting because I felt it was kind of serendipitous. How did The Writer Magazine pick that moment to send me that article? Anyhow, I hope you’ll click on the link and read what Brent says.
Over the years I’ve really learned to limit my time on social media. The writing and the marketing are what matter the most to me. Every person on social media must decide where to spend time to get the most value. I think that we must also consider which platforms are the most pleasurable for us. I am much more likely to prepare articles to post in places that are fun. Aren’t you?
A final note to consider when deciding how much social media to do is its effect on getting your message out. I often get comments about my high level of visibility as I market my work. A lot of that is because of my social media time. One final thing I really try to do is make a FB event out of most of my speaking and workshop events. Even if people can’t get to these events they see the notice and are reminded about my writing life. Many people do come because of those ads as well. Life is good for me as long as I don’t let social media take over!