It’s been an interesting three months since I moved into social media. I’m using these tools to introduce myself to the world as a writer.
Researching, signing up, figuring out, and participating in the Top Three — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter — have given me a better understanding of why these tools captivate hundreds of millions of people. They are powerful and free tools that will help get the word out about you and your writing as you build your online presence.
Your use of these social media also gives people a choice of ways to connect with you. Not everyone will take the time to visit your site — a hard fact that I’ve finally embraced. But they will visit these social networks and receive the updates that you post. Therein is the potential for writers: thousands of people seeing your name and recommending your work to others in their networks.
That’s the potential, but those eyes on your name and work are not handed to you on a silver platter. It takes steady work to get the attention you’d like to receive. Here’s what I’m learning as I use these social media sites for Darla Writes.
Facebook. Over 750 million users make Facebook the most popular social network and a huge audience for your work. A number like that, though, means you must post daily (and that’s a minimum) to get noticed. I have yet to meet that schedule, but I’m working towards it. Currently I post one or two times per week and have received a number of encouraging “Likes” for the page. The good news is that Facebook pages (as opposed to its personal accounts) are also viewed by non-Facebook users and search engines crawl them like regular web site pages.
More people see my blog name than if I wasn’t using Facebook, but the people connection is what I’m seeking. I want my social networking efforts to draw more readers and comments to this blog so that I’m sharing what I’m learning. Sounds like a goal for the new year.
Twitter. As I spend more time with this network, I see its usefulness to writers. A 140-word tweet can relay a lot to its reader, especially with the way Twitter will truncate links. The advice I’ve received about how often to tweet ranges from “once an hour” to “once a week” to “only when you have something valuable to say.” Besides posting to Twitter, I’m also a follower of several writing groups and bloggers. I subscribe to their tweets and find good advice and recommended resources on my timeline, “a collected stream of Tweets listed in real-time order.” Twitter also recommends tweets that might be of interest.
Once I start posting more often and gain more followers, I’ll increase my use of Twitter. For now, Darla Writes tweets will let followers know that I have a new post here or on Afternoon Tea, my writing collection, or an announcement (like my NaNoWriMo win). As with Facebook, I’m looking forward to connecting socially with others with Twitter as I work to get the word out about Darla Writes.
LinkedIn. This social network is second to Facebook in number of users. After I received an invitation to “connect” from a trusted friend, I decided to join. LinkedIn is another helpful tool for promoting my blog and my writings. It’s different from Facebook and Twitter in that its focus is business-related social networking. Users connect, seek jobs, and form networks with professional colleagues and others in their industry.
When I signed up, I added “Writer” to my professional headline of “Administrative Professional,” which is my current profession. I love my day job, and I’m not looking for a new position. For me, LinkedIn is another way to share my interest in the writing life and promote my blog. There are writers’ groups to join, and I receive notifications of freelance writing jobs. I’m still exploring the network to see how I can best put it to use, but I can tell LinkedIn will add another dimension to my writing life.
There’s a summary for you, a testimony to how I’ve gone from “tech foe” to one who is taking steps to learn about and appreciate social media and other new technology. You can do this, too — step by step and site by site. Best of all, these tools cost only the time you have to give and will help you build your online presence as a writer. There are many more social sites beside these three; choose those which fit your own personality and style.
Bottom line: Do you believe your writing is valuable and worth offering to the world? Then put those beliefs to the test and let yourself be known.
Question: What other social networking sites might be useful to writers?