Social media – technology’s gift to the 21st century. As a writer, if you’re NOT on it, promoting your work gets a whole lot harder. But being on it does soak up a lot of time. So how do you get the most out of each platform? And if you could use just one, which would it be?
We asked social media marketing expert Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, these sorts of questions in a recent interview on our So you want to be a writer podcast.
On social media in general:
“In today’s world, people really want to connect with people. If you’re not on Twitter or Facebook or somewhere I think people are confused.
“Traditional publishers are looking to see if you have a social media platform to share your book with… it can affect how much your book deal is; you can make more money if you have a social profile, because they’re looking at that for people to see it. If you’re going to self-publish the only thing you have is your social media platform. Either way you really need to build it.”
Why Pinterest is so good:
“The thing I like about Pinterest is you can spend the least amount of time there and get the most bang for your buck, which I think for writers is especially important. It takes less time.
“It’s like a sleeper network. You can just go there every once in a while, there’s not the pressure like there is with Twitter or Facebook. If you’re writing for a week and forget to go to Pinterest, it’s fine. The world does not stop.
“As a writer it’s a great way to show people what you like, who you are. I write about business stuff, so most of my boards are about social media, but I have a lot of other boards on just things that I truly like, like travel or cupcakes. It’s a place for people to get to know who you are.”
Getting the most out of Twitter:
“I love #FridayReads, it’s so good for writers on Fridays. All day long on Twitter people tweet their favorite books to read. It’s just people giving shout outs for people’s books. See what they’re doing and talk to them. Follow people who are going to be interested in what you do.
“It’s hard at first if you’re not getting a lot of mentions and no one is really interacting with you to figure out how to connect. That’s one of the hard things with Twitter. But, when you create a twitter list of relevant people, and it really can be very small, if you interact with 10 accounts on a regular basis you would be surprised at how much good interaction you could get. That’s people, not like celebrities and Time Magazine. I think everybody does that when you’re new, you follow people with 10 million followers and then you realise later, ‘They’re never going to tweet with me'.”
Make a hash of it:
“If you are on Twitter or Instagram, it’s actually a great place for a business, and connecting with people using hashtags. Find hashtags that fit with your genre and connect with people on Instagram and Twitter with those hashtags. If you’re not really super social savvy you can go to Fiverr and spend $5 and have somebody do hashtag research for your genre and they’ll give you a big huge list. Five dollars is pretty affordable for hashtag research!”
The best platform for promoting a book:
“I would have to say Facebook for me has come into a big resurgence. When you have a Facebook page, they’re giving a lot more tools with promoting posts and sponsoring posts and they are so inexpensive.
“I was afraid to try any promotions for any platforms because I thought it was going to be like hundreds or thousands of dollars, it was really like five dollars. You can do five dollars over three days, so it’s like $1.67 a day. It all pays off. You just have to look at it as a little investment.
“I think Facebook is a great place to do a page and build it up, because there are so many targeting things that you can use to get your ideal audience.”
The best platform for writers starting out:
“I’m a big fan of having your home base, because that’s the one thing that you really own on the internet. Twitter could close or Facebook — any of those things can come and go, but you own your real estate on your blog, so I do feel that’s really important.
“It is hard when you’re writing to maintain blogging too, but I think it has a huge value, then that gives you a platform later to have your books listed and if you’re going to be a speaker or all of those kinds of things. It’s a great place to start. It’s a great place also it makes you a better writer. Blogging and writing are different, but they’re so related that I think they work together too.
“It’s great to just connect with people. There’s a lot of writers that have great blogs. I always use Hugh Howey as an example, he’s just so good.”
Social media can help writers bloom:
“I think we’re at a neat age right now where you can connect with an author. Who would have ever thought when you were growing up and reading books in the library that one day Judy Blume would have a Facebook page. You know? You can be like, ‘Hi, Judy Blume…Thank you for being a part of my preteen years!'”