Get social

Continued from…

In addition to the many things you should be writing, you need to write and respond via social media. Instead of devoting all your time to posting photos of your kitten, you need to connect with your audience. Sharing kitten posts may be a part of that, but you need to have an actual conversation.

Too often we forget that social media is…social. It is a conversation. Lecturing is not social. Having a two-way discussion is.

So how do you jump in and do that? It’s easy.

You can certainly share other people’s posts. But, you need to add a note explaining why you are sharing. If you share a photo of a crocodile, is it because you love crocodiles, or fear them, or breed them, or study them, or think they are funny?

Do keep in mind that search engines crawl social media. Pasting a link into a post accomplishes nothing. You are simply reposting exactly what has appeared elsewhere. Not adding some of your own contact can actually drive readers away from you. If you post a link to something else, with no further information, your reader is going to click on that link and leave your post, possibly never to return. So, why did you post it? Were you involved in some way? Were you hoping to drive your reader away?

It’s fine to post something out of the goodness of your heart, for absolutely no reason. We do it all the time.

But, you do need to focus most of your social media presence on conversations that relate to your business and, let’s make no mistake, writing is a business. Treat your posts like an advertisement for your business.

The social media side of the business can be time-consuming. And, yes, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are several.

hackUse a social media management application to schedule posts. Write content ahead of time and then intersperse it with other content, as it appears. At 108 pages, The Definitive Guide to Social Media is twice as long as a lot of things that pass for books these days, yet it is one of the best guides I have seen—and it is FREE.

There is never an excuse for your social media to appear to be out of date. There is even less excuse for it to actually be out of date. Use whatever tool you need to in order to keep posts fresh and current.

hackI have just started using Airtable’s Blog Editorial Calendar. I can plan out my writing schedule ahead of time and fill in content when I get a chance. I can schedule when I anticipate posting something. I added columns for the various streams I use so I can track where I will or have posted. Airtable understands attachments so I can attach images or text and not have to remember where I stored them and on which server. But, a spreadsheet would do just as well for something simple, basic and already on your computer. Basically, you just need a process.

Some sites use a gimmick [I am not using that word derogatorily]. I used to manage social media for a zoo and we had a “guess what animal this is” day once a week. We knew that we could draw people on that day. Even if they had not looked at our website since the previous week, they would come on that day for the fun.

There was no prize. Just interaction. And, parents often involved their children who would, of course, want to come to the zoo to see the animal in person!

Writing has the unique misfortune of not usually having a location. It does not lend itself well to Yelp! or TripAdvisor, unless you are writing about a location. But, you don’t need a location. You need a conversation.

A common hashtag currently in use is #writerwednesday. Should you participate? You can ride on the coattails of the likes of Huffington Post—but can your content compete with the Huf, or will it swallow you? Maybe you’re better off creating your own hashtag. You decide.

Writers are often shy. We would rather curl up with a book than be the life of the party. Usually. Most of us, anyway. But, SEO and social media should be second nature for us. It’s all just words and do we ever love words?

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