Beyond the actual writing, the most important thing writers can do for their writing careers is to build a writer platform. This writer platform can consist of any number of quantifiable information about your reach to your target audience, and one hot spot is social media.
Here’s the thing: I think it’s more important to chase quality connections than quantity connections on social media. More on that below.
So social media is one way to quantify your reach to your target audience. If you write poetry, your target audience is people who read poetry (often other folks who write poetry). If you write cookbooks, your target audience is people who like to cook.
Social media is a proven way to build your writer platform, but it’s hard to know where to start or how to move forward. This is why Writer’s Digest offers Social Media 101, a primer on social media taught by e-Media guru Dan Blank (of We Grow Media). In this 4-week course, writers learn the top social media platforms (and which are best for them), social media lingo, how to find meaningful connections, how to create compelling content in 140 characters or less, how to manage multiple social media accounts, and more. Click to continue.
And in both cases, you can drill down into more specifics. Maybe the target audience for the poetry book is actually people who read sonnets. For the cookbook, maybe it’s directed at people who like to cook desserts.
4 Social Media Tips for Writers
Anyway, social media is one way to connect with your target audience and influencers (like agents, editors, book reviewers, other writers) who connect to your target audience. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Goodreads, Red Room, and so many more–they’re all sites dedicated to helping people (and in some cases specifically writers) make connections.
Here are my 4 social media tips for writers:
- Start small. The worst thing writers can do with social media is jump on every social media site ever created immediately, post a bunch of stuff, and then quit because they’re overwhelmed on the time commitment and underwhelmed by the lack of response. Instead, pick one site, complete all the information about yourself, and start browsing around in that one neighborhood for a while.
- Look for connections. Notice that I did not advise looking for leads or followers or whatever. Don’t approach strangers online like a used car salesman. Be a potential friend and/or source of information. One meaningful connection is worth more than 5,000 disengaged “followers.” Seriously.
- Communicate. There’s two ways to make a mistake here. One, never post or share anything on your social media account. Potential new connections will skip over your ghost town profile assuming your account is no longer active. Plus, you’re missing an opportunity to really connect with others. The other mistake is to post a million (hopefully an exaggeration) things a day and never communicate with your connections. It’s social media, after all; be social.
- Give more than you take. So don’t post a million things a day, but be sure to share calls for submissions, helpful information (for your target audience), fun quotes, great updates from your connections (which will endear you to them further). Share updates from your end of the world, but don’t treat your social media accounts as a place to sell things nonstop. Remember: Don’t be a used car salesman.
One final tip: Focus. Part of effective platform building is knowing your target audience and reaching them. So with every post, every status update, every Tweet, every connection, etc., keep focused on how you are bringing value to your target audience.
Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer
Read other great platform-building content on the WritersMarket.com blog:
- 6 Blogging Tips That Will Pay Off Immediately.
- Author Platform: How to Get Started.
- Help With Public Speaking: Tips and Statistics.
In this tutorial, Robert Lee Brewer shares 50 proven (and mostly free) ways to increase your blog traffic! From content to tools, Brewer shares secrets to how he’s found success on not one (or even two) but three blogs that have translated into more readers, more freelance opportunities, and more success for his writing career.