Monday, 16 September 2019

Revisiting Social Media - The Creative Process


REVISITING SOCIAL MEDIA

I made a post about this ages back, (found here) and thought that it was time to revisit the subject and give you all my thoughts and ideas about social media and how it can help you as a writer, an author, and as a person looking to grow your platform and reach. Because it's not just about making connections, but meeting the people who are going to become friends and help you along the way.

I talked about hashtags in a recent piece (found here) and they make up a lot of the advice when it comes to social media. But it's not just about growing numbers, because a lot of the time, that's where the focus is, but also gaining people in your corner. Not just as fans of your work, but as cheerleaders of you as a person and a writer. It's something that I've talked about before, that engagement is key, but it's taken me a long time to take my own advice and now I've gotten to the point where I actually feel like I'm doing it right.

So what advice do I give you, either as a newbie writer, or long-time author or anything in between? Glad you asked, strap in and let's go for a ride!

#1 - DON'T JUST BLAST INTO THE VOID.

Now I say this knowing that you're not going to get responses to every post and tweet, but sometimes it can be tempting to vent that frustration into the void and figure no one is going to answer you anyway. Don't do that either. But when it comes to making those first forays into the social media world, make sure there's things for people to respond to. A tweet that talks just about what's going on, with no question to answer, or advice to give, will, most likely, fall flat. People will read it, but they don't have anything to say to you telling them about your day. With Instagram, the usual thing is to include a question with your post so that people have a reason to comment. It doesn't always mean everyone will, but it's a start.

#2 - HASHTAGS ARE YOUR FRIENDS.

Now as with most things, there are different rules for different sites. On Instagram it's usual to have a lot of hashtags either in the post or in the comments. That's the way the algorithm works. Facebook and Twitter are usually better when you use them sparingly, as in you don't fill your whole tweet or post with them. And the same can be said for other sites as well. You also want to be using the right hashtags. What works on Instagram might not on Twitter and so on and so forth. A little research, and you can find the ones that are the best fit for both your post and the site itself. Know them, use them, and answer other people using the same ones, this is a great way to make friends.

#3 - IT TAKES TIME TO GROW
While it can be somewhat tempting to do a follow for a follow, unless you're someone writing in the same genre, or you actually talk to the person, then it's probably better avoided. All that does is clog up your timeline with things that either don't interest you, or you actively don't want there. It's much better to make sure that you're following the people who you actually want to talk to. When I first started out on Twitter, I followed everyone who followed me. I have people who would just have their facebook/tumblr feed on their page and nothing else. It was a nightmare because when I added people who I actually did want to read, my feed just went so fast that it was next to impossible to keep up. So I did a purge and since then I only add people I've actually got a connection with, or who I want to hear from.

#4 - PROMO IS OKAY IN SMALL DOSES
I've talked about this before, in writing pieces and on my Authortube channel, but don't be that person who spams everyone hourly, daily, with a blast of what's on sale and why you should buy it. Not only does it annoy people, but because the posts are usually exactly the same, it just feels false and misleading. Now, you get a good review, yes share it, interview, something new, then of course share it, but be careful with how much promo you do. This applies to both yourself, and anyone else who you might want to share with your followers. It's all dependant on who's online and such, but I find that posts that are spammy just get you muted or unfollowed, or people scroll past without even reading.

AND FINALLY, #5 - REPEATING YOURSELF IS OKAY
For the longest time, I would have things automatically cross-post. I do have some of that still, like my Instagram pictures go up as actual picture on Twitter through a site called IFFFT.com, and that's a great way to do it, because they're not the same thing over and over. But when it comes to retweeting, or reblogging something of your own, don't be afraid to repeat yourself. On top of that, when you want to cross-post, sometimes the interaction will be key to the fact that it's you actually doing the cross-posting and not a site doing it for you. It allows you to tailor the post to suit the site and also gives people a good idea that you're both present and active on your sites.

So there we have it, my top five tips for social media. A lot of my experience right now is with Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, simply because that's where I'm active a lot of the time. I do post on Tumblr, and I feel like that's a forgotten site from time to time which has a thriving writing community and also some really big name authors. It's one of those that you kinda find your corner and go from there. I've found a bit of my corner but not completely.

Lemme know any tips you have in the comments!


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