Five social media tips every writer should know
Want to confidently use social media to promote your work and build connections that boost your writing career? Here are five tips you need to know.
These days, it’s practically impossible to build your career without needing to use social media at some point. For many professionals – business writers included – the platform to be on is LinkedIn, which is teeming with helpful articles and potential clients.
For those whose work leans more to the creative side, there are an abundance of other sites to be on, and each one can serve a slightly different function. Facebook, for example, is great for engaging with readers. Twitter, on the other hand, is an ideal space for meeting other writers and publishing professionals.
To help you navigate these many platforms, here are five tips that every writer can use to bolster their online presence.
1) Optimise your profile
If someone were to find you on a social media site, then the first thing they see would be your profile. Which makes it the perfect place to present yourself, promote your writing, and capture the attention of the reader.
For business writers and copywriters, optimising your profile can bring the right projects to your inbox. Start with a memorable username or customised LinkedIn URL: not only does this induce better brand awareness, it also makes you appear more professional. Then, use the space on your page to succinctly mention your best experiences or projects (a bit of name-dropping can go far). Make sure the reader doesn’t have to look too far to know that you’re a wonderful writer they should hire!
Novelists and nonfiction authors who aren’t active on sites with extensive profile templates face the challenge of inciting interest and balancing promotion with personality, all within the space of a few sentences. A winning formula is to include a note about your most recent publication, or perhaps an upcoming one, together with a little something about yourself.
Author Celeste Ng, for example, demonstrates an efficient use of the 160 characters you get for a Twitter bio. We learn a little bit about her as a person, as well as the works she’s known for:
Fiction writer, science nerd; ex-Clevelander. Embarrassingly sincere. Novels: EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU; LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. She/her.
2) Constant engagement is the most effective policy
Getting your profile down is the first step. Now you need to build and foster a following. This may or may not come as good news, but social media will have to take up a chunk of your time because constant engagement is crucial.
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on management tools to schedule and push your posts either — because constant engagement doesn’t simply mean posting 24/7. What it means is frequent interaction between you and other users. You can go online every other day, drop some likes and comments, throw in a post of your own, and you’re good to go.
The magic of these interactions is that they reveal the person behind the words — and a personal touch will always resonate well with your followers. You might even meet some new friends, which should make the task seem less like a chore and more like a casual catch-up.
3) Use Twitter to connect with publishing professionals
If you’re writing a book and you’re hoping to find editors, literary agents, or publishers who might be interested in your manuscript, then look no further than Twitter. Social media isn’t just a good opportunity to engage with readers and share your work, it’s also a great place to find the professional help you need to publish your writing!
Search for the tag, #AmEditing, for instance, and you’ll find loads of editors sharing their tips and tricks, and even encouraging authors to submit requests. Similarly, literary agents frequently post wishlists on their Twitter accounts, which you can consult.
Every few months, there’s also a pitching event called #PitMad, in which authors can tweet an elevator pitch for their book, which literary agents will review and like if they want it to be sent to their inbox. It’s a neat little exercise that provides you with a great chance to get your book published!
4) Create a Facebook group for your readers
If you’re looking to engage with readers rather than fellow creatives, Facebook might be the platform for you. It’s still one of the most popular social media sites in many parts of the world, and its users are quite diverse.
With a professional author profile on Facebook you can nurture the loyal readers into a community (like a fanbase). They can come together to discuss your book and share their thoughts, and you can join in the conversation, too!
If you’re writing a nonfiction book, a Facebook group can be used as a forum to share related articles and personal experiences. From these interactions, you’ll not only create a supportive environment for people who care about the same things as you do, but also learn more about their preferences and concerns. It’s a great way to prepare for your next book!
5) Invest in visual content
Our final tip pertains to a very prevalent aspect of social media: the visuals. Aesthetics don’t just matter on photo-based social media networks, like Instagram – they’re a big part of just about any platform. From your profile picture and header to your promotional material (banners and posters), any visual element of your social media can influence the success of your marketing efforts.
It’s much faster to see something and be persuaded to click for more, than it is to read a line of text. Also, the better designed this material is, the more professional you will look. So don’t be afraid to invest in your graphics and photos! You could even enlist the help of a professional, if you have the budget for it.
And that’s it! With these five tips, we hope you can confidently use social media to promote your work and build connections that boost your writing career. It’ll take a bit of time to set things up and find the practices that suit you the best, but the effort you put in will all be worth it when your online presence is booming!
Photo by Vladimir Fedotov