Social media is a powerful tool for writers. It’s fast becoming a necessity. Publishers appreciate authors that are savvy when it comes to promoting their own work. Why sign someone who is willing to rest on their laurels and let the publishers alone do the marketing? There is more to getting published than writing a book.
But social media can be tricky for the inexperienced. All that talk about deciphering the ever-changing algorithm and choosing which hashtag to use can get a little overwhelming. I speak from experience. But once you get into the pattern of using a handful of social media platforms it will become second nature to you. Not without trial and error of course.
So what social media platforms are useful for writers.
We’ll start with my personal favourite, and the one I am most active on. You might think Instagram is a weird choice for a writer. Isn’t it a picture-sharing app? But if given the chance, the platform can become much more than just that.
You can really get creative with Instagram. A lot of writers, such as myself, post inspiring quotes about writing by using separate editing apps, which attracts the writing community that you want, especially if you use the right hashtags. We’ll come to the art of the hashtag later. Also, some writers use Instagram to post small snippets of their writing and poetry, to establish a small fanbase.
Facebook is a great addition to your website as it’s easy to link and promote your blog posts via your very own Facebook page. When establishing a page, Facebook makes it exceptionally easy for you to track your views and likes, delivering easy to understand stats. It even offers (for a fee) to promote your posts to people it knows would be more likely to follow you and like your work.
For me personally, I link every blog post I do on Facebook.
Twitter is something I have yet to join and master. That is something I will probably leave until I am published and signed. That is because Twitter suits the author rather than their works. In the sense, that Twitter is usually used to connect the user to their followers. If the person of interest as something important for their fans and followers, they would usually announce it through Twitter.
Now that you know the three main platforms, what are some useful tips to help you succeed?
Master the Hashtag
Don’t go light on the hashtags. This is how you connect with people. If you don’t use hashtags it is incredibly hard for people to see your posts. I have at least twenty on each of my Instagram posts, dedicating the first comment to them, rather than actually posting them in the caption.
Experiment with Time
The algorithms that social media platforms use are very hard to conquer. Mainly because they always seem to change. Finding the perfect time to post and get the most possible views is a tricky situation, and there is no quick fix. It all comes down to trial and error.
Vary your times and see which one is the best one. Unfortunately, a lot of it comes down to luck. A successful day this week, might not carry over to the next.
Consistency and Persistence
Nothing will see your followers drop off more than a stagnant, inconsistent blogger. Make sure you are posting things at least once a week, preferably two if you want to slowly increase your views and followers.
Be prepared to do the long haul of gaining followers as it takes a damn long time. Instagram and Facebook are cunning games of cat and mouse, where followers like followers and then unfollow each other when they suspect the other won’t notice. When first starting out, it’s best to follow the people that choose to follow you. This is so you can get a substantial foundation before you pick and choose who you support. It’s all about that good karma.
Social media is a powerful medium that cannot be overlooked by the writer. Establish yourself a decent and consistent following before you’ve even finished your novel and it will make it that little bit easier to get published.