We’ve discussed social media for writers this week, and why your presence on social networks is essential, going forward.
Websites and publications for which you write use social sharing buttons on their webpages, so they want your social links. It’s common for anyone considering you for a writing job to ask for your social media network IDs. Yes, they’re interested in your follower count, but they also want to know that you will promote the material you write for them.
If you’re just starting out, that’s fine, your profiles take time to develop:
One writer told me, “I’ve only got five followers” (on Twitter). That’s fine. What counts is that he’s got a Twitter profile, and when his client publishes his article, his Twitter profile link will be on the article.
At least a couple of times a week, a student asks: “But what do I tweet about?” The short answer is: anything you like.
Here’s the longer version…
Think about WHO you’re engaging.
If you’re writing for businesses, then tweet and post on social sites about what interests businesses. A small business might be interested in topics like sales and marketing, SEO strategies, and social media (grin). You could post a link to an infographic someone created, a blog post you wrote, or something in the news which affects small business.
Or, let’s say you have some legal expertise, so you’re targeting law firms. You want to write Web content for them. (Bear with me here, because I don’t write for law firms, so this is off the top of my head.) You could post and tweet about apps for lawyers, time saving strategies for lawyers, clients for whom you’ve written – it’s ALWAYS a good idea to mention your clients on social media.
1. Complete your profile: it’s all-important
Please, please, PLEASE (yes, I’m begging) complete your profile on the sites. Include an image. The first thing anyone does when they decide whether or not they want to follow or engage with someone new on social media is check their profile.
Remember to add links to your website or blog, or your about.me page if you don’t have a site.
Tip: while we’re on the topic of images, set up an avatar if you haven’t already done so. When you’re writing for websites, or commenting, your avatar appears next to your name.
2. Presence counts: create a social media schedule
We’re all short of time, so you want to get most bang possible for your social media buck, so to speak. Create a social media schedule, because what counts is consistency. If you send a tweet, and then let your Twitter account languish, that sends the wrong message to someone who wants to follow you, or hire you.
So decide how often you’ll engage on your primary social media accounts, and create a schedule. It needn’t take longer than five to ten minutes a day, once you’re all set up.
3. Know WHY: create goals
Here’s your basic goal for social media; you need to be there. Beyond that, you know what you want from your writing career. Your social media accounts will help you to achieve your writing goals, but only if you’re clear on what those goals are.
Write down your goals. Review them regularly.
4. Engage: thank, connect, respond
Engaging on social media couldn’t be simpler. Think about your goals.
Let’s say you want to write for Magazine X. You could comment on stories, tweet about stories, tweet their writers, mention the editor, respond to a post they made on Google+, or on their Facebook page… It’s up to you.
Thank people who mention you, or like something you’ve posted. Ask questions. Respond to people who mention you, or message you.
5. Sell subtly: use images and links and arouse curiosity
Want to sell directly on social media? You can do that. Amazon for example makes it easy for you to tweet directly from a product page if you’re an affiliate. If you’re writing Kindle ebooks, by all means tweet about your book.
It’s social media however, so it’s all about being social, first. Put your sales links on your profile.
Be subtle about selling. Images tend to get more retweets, so post images. Post links too – to your blog posts, and other pages on your website. Aim to arouse curiosity, so that people who are new to you will click.
It’s all about your presence
Create your social media accounts. Start interacting. Your influence will grow.