Use Social Media By Bailey Belmont In today’s world of digital connection, social media has the power to boost writers’ success. Social media platforms allow a writer’s work to be immediately shared, enhancing a writer’s ability to reach far-flung audiences. Why is this important? There are two main reasons: The more people who read your work, the better exposure you gain. In this way, you can increase the potential to develop a larger, loyal following. A broader exposure net allows a writer to reach potential clients through second, third, or tenth-degree connections. You know that old Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, right? Well, the right social media tool can put your work in front of both potential fans as well as potential clients. It’s a win-win situation. Expanding New Worlds According to a recent Pew Research study, 52% of online adults use two or more social media sites regularly, and researchers expect this number to increase. While the ever popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram work for writers to promote their work, there are other, more beneficial social media outlets for writers that offer higher returns. A writer’s work doesn’t end at the completion of the article, blog, or story. As all writers know, promotion is the name of the game. A successful writer not only creates an engaging, viral piece but subsequently works to promote it. Good promotion is worth its weight in gold. Sean Gardner, recently ranked by Forbes as the top social media influencer in the world, summed it up best: “Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources.” Sean Gardner Creating a Social Media Toolkit Before beginning to market yourself on any social media platform, it’s imperative to organize three key things: 1. Create a Personal Website In today’s interconnected world, people want to know everything about the people they follow. Building a personal website, complete with a peek into your own life as well as your professional trade as a writer creates you as human. Market yourself to your strengths: a parent, a coach, a gardener, a musician…whatever niches you fit into, use them to form connections with fans and potential clients. Additionally, a personal website is crucial to link to in both print and online media; when you’ve piqued people’s interest in you, they need a destination to find your work. 2. Create a Compelling Brand Blurb Take the time to craft a blurb about yourself; this can be used on guest blog sites or as a tagline for articles posted online. It should appear as a tagline and encapsulate you as well as your talents with some easily digestible and memorable few sentences. 3. Choose an Interesting Logo Create a logo for your brand. As an author, your name becomes your brand; therefore, you should create a signature logo to accompany work when appropriate. Check out Glennon Melton Doyle’s signature logo at the end of each blog posted online here; Doyle’s built an enormous following of “Love Warriors” over the past decade, and her logo is recognizable around the globe. Once you’ve assembled a social media toolkit, it’s time to hit the social media sites that will give you a return on your investment. Let’s take a look at a few of the best social media platforms for writers: Which Social Media Should Writers Use? Facebook Facebook provides amazing tools for positive interaction with your followers. Use specific features such as polls to engage your base. Link to timely and interesting content to further your appeal as a knowledgeable asset among the millions of other users. While you should promote on Facebook, it’s more important to use this platform as a tool for increasing your target base. Twitter Use Twitter to add a bit of “oomph” to your written pieces. Many professional writers follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to this social media platform: spend 80% of the time building a following by linking and retweeting relevant posts, and 20% of the promoting your own work. Use Twitter to extend your network and keep abreast of current trends. Muck Rack This is a phenomenal social media platform for PR professionals and writers. This platform exists as a one-stop shop for writers looking to increase their brand and visibility. Journalists and bloggers can create portfolios to share work and build a network of clients. Muck Rack assists PR professionals in connecting with writers who have the skills to produce the pieces required. Also, this platform provides PR professionals with immediate email notifications when writers link to targeted information. In essence, Muck Rack takes the vastness of the internet and channels it effectively to connect writers with people who need things written. GoodReads GoodReads has evolved with the times; this platform interacts with others such as Facebook and allows friends and those with friend connections to see what each other recommends and is reading. Use this platform to not only promote your own work but also the work of fellow writers. Taking the time to shout out to fellow masters of the pen will likely see them return the favor. The more reviews your work receives, the more likely it is to pop up in someone’s feed as a recommendation. Hootsuite A must for those managing several social media accounts; Hootsuite reduces your workload and enables you to streamline the effort and accountability it takes to engage on diverse social media platforms. It allows users to review social media statistics, tracks user comments, and ultimately works to manage 100s of networks. Hootsuite can provide immediate statistics to see what posts gain traction and which don’t, enabling writers to laser-focus on the content that gets noticed and builds a loyal following. Here’s the thing about using social media platforms: you need to use them. You need to be present and engage your fans, your followers. You must provide tidbits of value often—and these tidbits should possess a viral quality that makes your fans share them far and wide to recruit new fans who love your bestseller. 71% of adult internet users interact with Facebook, and this number continues to rise. While Facebook still holds the lion’s share of social media platform usage, other platforms possess percentages worthy of attention: LinkedIn captures 28% of adult internet users, while Pinterest and Twitter come in at 28% and 23% respectively. It’s worth the time to develop a profile and create a community supporting your work on these platforms. Writers can make powerful connections through a variety of social media platforms. However, it’s important to know your audience and reach out through the best platforms. What platforms would you recommend to fellow writers?