Wednesday, December 2, 2015

5 Tips for Tailoring Your Social Media Presence

Social Media.

I know...I'm cringing with you.

There is so much pressure on writers to have an ever-growing social media presence. If you want to have a writing career, whether as a traditionally published author or one who publishes your own books, you have to become comfortable telling the world about them. After all, a book isn't really a book until it's read.

Because it is part of the writing life, here are five tips to hopefully remove some of the angst from building your social media presence.

1) Get to know the platforms. There are so many different social media outlets available, take the time to explore them. Not every outlet will be one that you enjoy. That's okay. For every platform you aren't fond of, there will be another one, two or three that you love. So play around. Try them out. See what you like.

2) Pick one or two to focus on.  You can't be an expert on all formats, but you can develop skills in a few. Take it slow. You eat an elephant one bite at a time after all. So focus on Twitter until you figure out how it works for you. Then try Facebook. Maybe you'll decide Pinterest is your sweet spot. Could it be Goodreads? You'll never know which one is a good fit for you until you get on a platform and take it for a spin. Invest a few months in it and see how it develops.

3) Realize each Social Media Platform has its own system. What works on Twitter does not work on Facebook and vice versa. So you will need to invest some research and time into what will work for you on each. Some good sources of information to get you started include: Social Media Examiner, Author Media, The Marketing Nutz, and Edie Melson. There are many more resources out there, but if you start with these three, you can begin to develop your strategy.

4) Strategy? I don't need no stinking strategy! Well, actually you do. I'll admit on my blog, I don't always look like I have a strategy, but I do. It's buried in there. One day a week I try to post on parenting/homeschooling. Wednesday are faith days. And Fridays are fiction/book days to coincide with the weekend. On social media, my strategy is to provide a ray of hope in a dark world. This could be through quotes, pictures with Bible verses, questions for engagement, etc. But I decided a long time ago that selling books is why I'm on social media, but it is not the only or even primary reason. Prayerfully evaluating and altering why I'm on social media helps on the days I really don't want to be.

So can I be efficient? Are there ways to funnel content from one to the other? Yes! Experts debate about whether it's a good thing to do, but it can save you some precious time. Which leads me to...

5) Maximize Your Limited Time with Tools. There are many great tools that can help you feed content to your social media presence so that you aren't constantly needing to be online. You might choose to be, but you won't need to be. There is a difference. Rather than recreate it, I have a post that gives you five of my favorite tools to maximize social media. You can read it here.

Do you have a social media presence? Which is your favorite application?


An award-winning author of twenty books, Cara is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post, Kara! I started on Facebook years ago. A few years ago, I added Twitter. These, along with my blog, are my main ways of interacting on social media. I'm on Instagram, but that's more for fun. :) Pinterest is the same, though that can be transferred to a more business-oriented focus, should I so choose. :)

Cara Putman said...

Jeanne, I love the way you've slowly been adding social media over time. Such a smart way to do it!

Rebecca Gomez said...

I'm like Jeanne! I started on Facebook years ago, then jumped on twitter in order to participle in a twitter pitch event. I use Pinterest and Instagram primarily for personal things, but there is some overlap with some of my pinterest book-related boards.

Cara Putman said...

Pinterest is a great site...what a time suck if you let it :-) I love it as a writer.

Pepper Basham said...

I feel like I'm still trying to figure it out...and there are always new ones to add!
I'm glad to see that you've listed only being most active in two. I definitely have FB, but I'm trying to figure out if Instagram or Pinterest is going to be my other means. I use them both, but not as actively as FB.

THanks so much for this, Cara!

Unknown said...

Excellent post!

I'm just starting to learn Instagram, and I'm finding my way easily since I love taking pics. Agreed about Pinterest, but it's such fun and hard to ignore that one for long. :-) By using tools, I've saved much time too.

Preslaysa Williams said...

Great post! I do have a social media presence and I am on all platforms now. *Cringing* Eeek! You are right, it's best to focus on a few platforms instead of ALL of them. I signed up for some platforms on happenstance (like Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter, lol). Right now, my favorite applications are Instagram and Pinterest because they're both visual, and for a person who deals with words a lot, looking at pretty pictures is a nice break :-)

Cara Putman said...

Preslaysa, it's okay to be on all of them, just know you're purpose. I'm on Instagram, but keep it small on purpose. Google+ I've never figured out. But that's okay, i do a little when I remember -)