Whether you’re a writer of nonfiction — blogs, articles, technical and nonfiction writing — or an author of books and fiction, you know how important it is to be active and engaged on social media. It might seem like a headache or a chore to keep up with so much when you’d rather be spending your time working on your writing, but there are some easy ways to make your social media efforts both efficient and even fun. Here are some tips for a successful social media strategy.
Don’t Just Post—Engage!
Spreading the word about your latest articles or new book release is the primary reason you’re on social media as a writer. But in a sea of other writers promoting their own publications, you need to stand apart from the crowd. Show yourself as not just a marketer of your own work, but a curious and approachable person who’s using social media the right way—to be social. Take the time to respond to followers comments and likes whenever possible. Ask questions in your posts to start conversations. Seek out other writers in your industry or genre, and introduce yourself before connecting as friends or followers. Above all, be genuine in your responses and be willing to go the extra mile for your readers. Take, for example, the case of John Green, prolific and adored writer of YA novels. As a vlogger with his own Youtube channel, he does unboxing videos and mentions how he’ll be signing 200,000 copies of his latest book. Now, while that’s not feasible for most writers, it’s his passion and willingness to go the extra mile that wins him such adoring fans. Consider doing 20 or 200 After all, he has more than 5 million Twitter fans, and 2 million Instagram followers, so it’s safe to say he’s doing something very right.
If all your followers see from you is nothing but your own accomplishments, they’re going to either become very bored and/or b) be turned off by your selfishness. Make sure to praise other writers, both in your industry or genre and outside of it. Encourage your followers to read the publications of these writers, and be specific about why, and what you liked about a particular work. This will show you to be more than just a self-advertising machine and will encourage more people to interact with you in return. For a healthy balance, Livehacked suggests posting about your own work only 20% of the time, while the remaining 80% should be dedicated to engaging with your audience and/or promoting the work of others.
There’s more to social media than posting, retweeting, and liking. To gain new followers and attract loyalty from those who are already in your network, try hosting giveaways or posting reader-submitted photos, or launching a hashtag campaign for your latest project.
Because writing is such a solitary endeavor that the creative writing process is often a mystery, so offer your followers a view into your world as much as is possible within your comfort level. For example, post photos of yourself on your book tour or at home at your writing desk or even during the interviews for your research. These snapshots into your writing life are sure to lure followers who are curious to see the background of how your book or articles came to light.
Use it for Research Purposes
What better way to engage an audience and be productive than to ask the very people who are already invested in your work? Crowdsource ideas from your followers on anything from your newest title or subject matter to book cover design. You’ll get real-time and authentic feedback from those who have your best interests at heart. You can also use social media as a research tool by asking for interviews or finding subject matter experts for further information to fuel your writing.
Just like your writing, social media works best when your heart is in it. People can smell it when you’re only out for self-promotion or when you’re not being authentic. Avoiding business speak and maintaining a friendly and casual tone is the best way to gain genuine partnerships and/or loyal followers online.