Social Media for Writers: 5 ways to make the most of your social media presence

In this post, I share five easy ways that you can use to make the most of your social media presence and promote yourself as a writer.

When I started this series earlier this year, I pictured my target audience as writers who just don’t know how to approach using social media as a tool to promote themselves.

I’ve already talked in previous posts about several social networks that you can use to promote yourself and your books, and how to use each one, but in this post I want to talk about making the most of social media in a broader sense.

I guess this post will be a kind of ‘tips and tricks’ one. You might not be able to apply each point to every social network, but they’ll certainly be applicable to most.

So, here it is.

1. Use images.

Yes, this again. Tweets with images get more interactions and shares than those without. I noticed my blog readership increase once I added images to posts, and I know that when I’m reading something online, I’m more likely to save it to my Pinterest to look at again if it’s got an image.

As for how to make these images, I’m recommending Canva. There are tons of free stock photos you can download, or you can use your own photos, but Canva is great for sizing and adding text.

And while I’m talking about images, I’m going to include your profile photo in this. Your account is more likely to be discarded by a potential follower (and reader!) as spam or fake if you don’t have a profile photo.

2. Link everything.

Inviting people to buy your book? Give them a link to where to buy it. Asking people to follow your blog? Give them a link to it. Telling people about an interview you did on someone else’s blog? Give them a link to it.

If you’d adding a link in a blog post, hyperlink it. (This is where some of the text in the post itself is the link. For example: Check out this post I wrote on how to promote your books on Twitter. There’s a hyperlink on ‘this post’.) If you’re not sure how to do this on your blogging platform, answers are an easy Google search away.

You can also use link shorteners to tidy up your links. Again, if you just Google ‘link shrinker/link shortener/similar wording’ you’ll be offered a choice. Pick one you like, copy and paste the link you want to shrink, and they’ll shrink it for you.

3. Make friends and network.

Now I know this can be daunting and quite difficult; I’m going to have more posts later this summer on how to network on various social media channels. But here’s a brief note on it.

Connect with other authors (especially those in your genre) and book bloggers. Make a few people you know in publishing, or some book news feeds, things like that. Share their content and respond to things they post. You don’t have to like every Tweet they post, or anything, but take some time to look through for things you want to share and respond to.

You can also find groups on Facebook to join, of other writers. It might take you a while of blindly clicking on Facebook search results before you find one you like the look of, but you’ve got nothing to lose by requesting to join and connecting with other people in the group.

This is how you can build up your little network. Writers are always keen to support each other, in my experience – especially in the YA field. Someone gets a book deal, and the replies/comments are filled with congratulations messages and people sharing it.

Yes, you want to build your profile to promote yourself – but that doesn’t mean you have to be selfish in what you post. Speaking of which…

4. There’s a thing called the 30:70 rule.

This is basically a ‘rule’ that says you should share 30% of your own content and 70% of other people’s content.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say obey this rule religiously, but take it into account. If you’re only ever posting ‘Go buy my book! Go read my book!’ then your followers are going to start to get sick of it. But if you’re posting that kind of thing once a week, and the rest of the week you’re sharing other bookish/writing-related content, people are going to stay interested in what you share.

This isn’t quite so possible on a blog, I’m aware, or Instagram, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind on Twitter.

5. Post regularly.

If your aim is to build your following, it’s no good just sharing something once in a blue moon. When you’re starting out, you want to provide people with content to prove you’re worth following and worth wanting to know. I’m not saying you need to sit at your computer compulsively retweeting every new Tweet on your feed, commenting on every new post in a Facebook group, repinning everything remotely related to writing on your Pinterest – but stay active.

There are tons of infographics on Pinterest on how many times to post each day on each different social network, and there’s no hard and fast rule to stick to. But a starting point might be five Tweets every day and one blog post a week. It’s totally up to you what you decide to do, but staying active will help build your audience.

(I mean, if you find someone who posted some great content, but only posted once a month, and hasn’t been active in a year, are you likely to follow them? The chances are no, you’re not. If it’s content you’re interested in, you’ll find someone who’s sharing it regularly – and now.)

This is where I’m also going to say it’s important to make use of scheduling and automation tools. I love If This Then That (which is, as all my favourite tools are, free) so every time I upload a new blog post, it’s shared on all my social media. That’s what, four updates across all my profiles for one click of ‘upload’. So worth it.

And scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck (again, free!) are really handy, especially if there’s some news you want to share. New chapter uploaded? Schedule a Tweet for the next day – ‘Did you see yesterday’s new chapter?’, one for the next day – ‘Check out this week’s latest upload!’, and one for the day before you’re due to upload your next chapter – ‘New chapter tomorrow! Catch up on the story so far.’

And there you have it. Five ways to make the most of your social media presence.

I’ll go into some of these things more in depth in separate posts – things like scheduling, creating images, and networking in particular – but if there’s something I mentioned you’d like to learn more about, please let me know in the comments, or send me a Tweet @Reekles!

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