Social Media for Writers
Julie Butcher offers tips and tricks for maximizing the impact of Social Media on a writer’s career.
February means hearts and flowers and romantic trysts in Italian restaurants for everyone but writers. Not that you aren’t lovable—because you are totally adorable and deserving of all the hugs and squidges. This February, a lot of you are going to break up with your social media platform. It is bulky and cluttered and looks like seven different people instead of just you. That isn’t a platform, it is a cardboard box stuck in a tree with holes cut out for windows. This would be all of the cute if you were seven years old but you’re not.
You deserve better. Your platform should be beautiful and when you cross social media borders, it needs to be recognizable as you. There are several things that writer’s do that are fun and time wasting and totally detrimental to your platform.
- Changing profile pictures. Holy cow, guys. We can barely keep up with Twitter and Facebook as it is. When you change your picture, we have to take an extra second to click and scan your bio to see who we are talking to. This is irritating in the extreme. Every holiday it happens and half of the time, I personally won’t even try and keep up with who is who. You might have something important to tell me but I won’t see it because you look like a stranger. Pick one picture and use it for every social media platform. Use the same picture on your blog and on your website, too.
- Advertising for your books and your friend’s books. When a new person follows me I look at their recent posts. If their posts do nothing but pimp novels, I am not going to friend or follow them. I won’t. They are boring. I’m not friends with AT&T either. It is called social media for a reason. Be social and talk to a few people. I pinkie-swear that they will not magic through your computer screen and bite you. If they get rude, then unfollow or unfriend them or block their accounts. The lovely thing about social media is that you don’t have to be there, you can just leave. Engage people one on one. A rule of thumb is that you can pimp a book on one of ten posts. The rest should be personal or simply friendly.
- Using different user names for each network. There is absolutely no reason to be IamAuthor on one social media and then change to GeorgeOfTheJungle on another. Yes you might use a pen name to write, and yes you might want to keep your personal friends and family separate. No you do not want your readers or potential readers to be unable to find you. While writers are on several networks, readers prefer one or the other. If you write, your name needs to be on all of the things. It isn’t cute. It isn’t witty. It is unprofessional. You can be silly on your personal accounts—if you have time. I don’t.
- Using a service to follow people. Anyone who has been on social media for a year knows when you’re following with a service. If I haven’t tweeted all evening and there are six or ten new followers in the morning, you can bet money that they are random and following with a robot. Maybe one in a hundred of these are a real person who talks to people. Seriously guys, this is rude. You’re exactly like the cold sales callers that interrupt dinner. Stop it. I’m telling you right now that having a million people following you will not be a good thing if none of them are readers. Have fun with social media by being—you know—social.
- Captain Crunch is your spirit animal. The only one who can represent you is you. Unless you’re writing a book about breakfast cereal, having animated characters in your background theme probably isn’t your best bet. Yes everyone loves Captain Crunch because it is delicious and does that numb thing to the roof of your mouth. But is your book about delicious instead of love or serial killers? Do elves really eat Captain Crunch? Of course every writer doesn’t have the King of Breakfast as their background but you know what I mean. Pick a theme that is somehow loosely related to your books. If you’re a beginner and you’re really not sure what genre you’ll settle on—pick a color. Make sure it compliments that one picture you’re using and go to town with it.
Once you’ve settled on a color, picture, name, and theme you need to get to work and put it everywhere. You’re the same person on Twitter and Facebook and Tumbler and Blogger and Google Plus and everywhere else. Build a solid foundation for your social media platform and there’s less of a chance that you’ll fall through the cracks.
Written by Julie Butcher Fedynich