For the next couple of months, I’ll be posting a tip (or sometimes two) each Tuesday about how to use social media sites if you’re a romance writer. I’ll cover everything from which sites to use to basic courtesy.
For convenience, I’ll put all the tips together in one page at the end of this sojourn, but, in these individual posts, I’ll have more thoughts and details. Most of these rules apply to all writers, but I discuss everything through the eyes of a romance writer, so for you writers of other genres, you may have to do a little adapting.
Onto the tip!
Tip One: You don’t have to have an account on every social media site. If you don’t plan to pay attention to Twitter, then don’t bother. Only choose the sites that work for you.
I’ve seen the question, “Which sites should I use?” floating around the Internet a fair amount. I don’t think there’s a magic formula for which ones are the absolute best. There’s not a perfect answer.
The first thing to think about is the various demographics that frequent social media sites. Think about your target audience. On Jeff Bullas’s blog, he has a handy breakdown of what percentage of men and women use that site and how many users are on the site. (There’s also a great infographic that discusses social media etiquette on six different sites.) As adweek.com said, “Men Are From LinkedIn, Google+ & YouTube, Women Are From Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest.” Also, click on that last link–it’s another handy infographic about how many people use the various social media sites. A whopping 71% of internet users use Facebook. 18.5% use Twitter.
If you immediately think after looking at my previous two sentences that all you need in your life is Facebook–well, you may want to think some more on it. While it’s absolutely true that there are more users on Facebook, it’s not a site that is easy to build up a network from scratch, particularly if you do not want to pay for advertising. It takes hard work, and a lot of interaction. Plus, Facebook often changes their formulas for how fan pages are treated–and you may find your posts buried or nonexistent in your followers’ news feeds. If you choose to use a profile page, you’re capped at how many friends you can have. Even profile pages get rather buried these days among the paid advertisements and posts.
All that said, your followers on Facebook can be more targeted and less random than what you may find on Twitter.
Twitter, however, is pretty much designed for networking. Sharing posts and using hashtags are quick ways for people to notice you. If you maintain good content, Pinterest, too, can be an easier place to get your name out. So, before you choose your author sites, think about how you plan to network on them. (If you Google “easiest social media to get followers”, you’ll come up with many articles on how to build your networks–look at them to get an idea of how easy/hard each one is.)
And, let’s not forget GoodReads. From what I’ve read, if you’re published, you should have an Author Page. Personally, I have a basic account, but plan to have an Author Page if I ever am published.
Once you’ve looked at the various social media sites, consider whether you will really use them. There’s no point in having a Facebook account if you don’t like using Facebook and plan to do everything on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t make yourself nuts trying to do everything. If you love Tumblr and hate Twitter, don’t fight yourself. It’s fine to pick only one or two places to engage readers. It would be great if we could do everything, but who has the time or patience?
Now wait, you say (if you’re unpublished), I’ve been told I must have a Twitter and Facebook account if I want to attract the attention of an agent or an editor. It’s true, and I think you should have one or both these types of accounts. Go ahead and set up those accounts, but if you’re not using one of them, make sure you tell me where you are active–direct readers to your webpage, other media site, etc. Put some work into your banner and your bio even if you don’t plan to use the site for much more than a placeholder–it still needs to make a good impression!
Other articles related to this topic that I found useful:
Does Twitter Make Sense for Most Writers? https://janefriedman.com/does-twitter-make-sense-for-most-writers/
Why Writers Should Use Twitter (and HOW to USE It Effectively) https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/why-writers-should-use-twitter-and-how-to-use-it-effectively/
3 MYTHS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS http://timgrahl.com/3-myths-and-2-truths-about-social-media-marketing-for-authors/
Facebook for authors: Pages vs. Profiles https://www.standoutbooks.com/facebook-authors-pages-vs-profiles/
Why (Most) Authors Don’t Need a Facebook Page http://www.notesfromtheslushpile.com/2015/03/why-most-authors-dont-need-facebook-page.html — I loved what she had to say about “being human” is the best kind of marketing.
Authors: 6 Reasons You Need to Be on Goodreads http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kudler/authors-6-reasons-you-nee_b_7589190.html
An Unofficial Guide to Goodreads for Readers and Writers http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/unofficial-guide-goodreads-readers-writers/