We recently discussed ways to market your work using social networks. Today, we’ll talk about how to actually manage your social media presence. You can spend so much time marketing your work, that you have no time left for anything else. So managing your social media presence is critical.
Six ways to manage your social media presence as a writer
1. Use it as a tool. The point isn’t to have a presence on every single social network out there. The list is constantly changing. Experiment with several networks to see which best meet your business needs, fit your temperament, and are most comfortable for you to use. Settle on two, three, or four that you dedicate most of your social media attention to and grow your presence there.
2. Monitor your time. It’s easy for social media to become a time-suck. You can spend the entire workday blogging, posting Facebook statuses, tweeting, uploading YouTube videos, and more. But if you are using these tools to gain new business or grow your brand, then limit the amount of time you spend on these. Because you can spend so much time on social media that you don’t have any time to do the main thing: Service client projects, write your books and articles, etc. So pick a time of day to do your social media. Or, if you have an international audience, then maybe you pick two times a day when you do your Facebooking, Tweeting, and Google Plus posting. But don’t let hours roll one into the other with you sitting on your networks, constantly posting.
3. Use stolen moments. I often tweet in stolen moments. If I am waiting for an appointment or riding in the car (sitting in the passenger’s seat, not driving!), I sometimes post to social networks. Especially Twitter. It’s easy to hop on, do a few retweets or reply to tweets in spare moments. This way I can maintain a presence without occupying a lot of time.
4. Focus your comments. If your aim is to grow your brand, focus your tweets or status updates in this area. That doesn’t mean every tweet or update should be on that topic, but try to build a body of work in this area. Over time, this helps to grow your authority in that particular area. If you are a health writer, tweet health industry news, stories, etc. Reply to others’ health industry stories and news. If you are a lifestyle blogger, tweet information related to your lifestyle area and the interests of your readers.
5. Use a social media management tool. Tools such as Hootsuite, Social Oomph, and others can help you post across multiple platforms. This can save time and even allow you to schedule your posts, but I prefer to post directly to networks so I can reply and retweet others.
6. Connect with your target audience. Sure, you can use social networks like Twitter and Google Plus to hook up with all types of people. But if your aim is to use social media in your writing business, then be more strategic. Connect with those you admire, would like to do business with, or find influential in your industry. But don’t just follow them. Reply to their posts, share content from their blogs, and post your own interesting content. The point here is to be open to building a relationship. And that, my friends, is the whole point of social media: To connect and carve out relationships so your content stands out. You want your content, story, and work to resonate with others. From there, relationships come and maybe even business opportunities.
So what kinds of opportunities can you get as a result of your social media involvement?
I wasn’t thrilled about joining Facebook three years ago, but I realized I probably should, so I did. I also joined Twitter, but I just didn’t get it. I didn’t see the point of these teeny, tiny tweets. So I ignored my Twitter account for the longest, years, really. I just focused on my writing, clients, and traditional marketing. But along the way, something happened: I finally got it. I finally understood the point of all this social media!
I have personal profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, as well as business profiles on some of the networks. There are some other networks out there that I’ve used in the past (MySpace, anyone?), but don’t do much with anymore. We have received business opportunities as a result of our work on three of those four networks. In fact, we have landed several significant pieces of business — ghostwriting and editing projects, as well as speaking engagements — as a result of our social media presence.
Just within the last week or so, I’ve received at least four serious business opportunities that I attribute to social media presence (I’ve received other inquiries via social media that I’ve deemed not serious and so I’ve not included them in this tally): 1. A Twitter acquaintance reached out to me with a writing opportunity. It wasn’t a good fit for me, but I appreciate the relationship we are building and the fact that the Twitter contact sought me out for the project. 2. A LinkedIn contact reached out about a possible partnership or other relationship. I’m mulling some ideas. 3. A contact reached out through Facebook for help with some upcoming publishing projects. 4. I responded today to someone from LinkedIn who requested pricing for an editing project.
I’ve not seen anything come directly through Google Plus, but I’ve only recently started using that network.
And of course, there is this blog. Blogs are social media, and as with social networks, blogs can present opportunities, as well. In our case, this blog has raised our profile in our industry and when I look at the traffic in my analytics panel, I see growth, which I’m very excited about! The blog has also connected me with other opportunities that I’ll share later.
I don’t have a large social media following. We have several thousand followers, friends, etc., over multiple accounts on multiple networks. Many people have hundreds of thousands. A large number isn’t as important to me as the quality of the connections and relationships. But I know regardless of whether I seek a large following or a smaller, more connected community, social media has to be part of the equation. I get that now.
I’ve seen direct and real results in my writing business, all thanks to social media. So I know how powerful it can be, when used properly.
What do you want to get out of social media? Raise your visibility and increase your authority? Business opportunities such as partnerships? New clients? New markets to publish your writing?