Why a Consistent Social Media Presence is Important for Writers

by WiseFool

If you're going to use social media to promote your novel, blog or articles, it's important to create a dependable social media presence.

Now, clearly, you don't have to use Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, in order to be successful. I know many writers who've never tweeted and still have a thriving readership.

However, the benefits of social media are hard to deny. It can offer access to like-minded groups of people, can generate a fanbase and allow you to communicate directly with your readers. It's easy to get social media wrong, though and one of the most common pitfalls is inconsistency in your social media presence.

Don't Get Lost in the Crowd

It's Easy to Get Lost in The Social Media CrowdIn 2012, the number of tweets sent per day reached a staggering 340 million - that number is continuing to rise, as Twitter adds to its 500 million users. And this, like all other forms of social media, makes for an extremely fast-paced existence. 

In other words, if you're not regularly engaging with followers or fans, you'll quickly be lost in the melee.

This has been a real problem for me, as I have two Twitter accounts: one for all of my Shakespeare-related work and the other for everything else. This division of your social media persona is something I still feel is an asset, as it means targeting the people who would be most interested in a particular article, post or book. However, what I've discovered is that it very easy, when you're particular focused on one area, to neglect your social media presence in the other areas.

So, even if you're not regularly adding new content or releasing new work that is relevant to a specific social media platform, it's a good idea to continue to dip in - remind followers and fans of older work, or simply try to instigate a conversation. Whatever you do, don't let potential readers forget you exist!

Are You a Writer Who Uses Social Media?

Become Part of Your Potential Readers' Daily Lives

If you're able to create a really solid and consistent social media presence, what will happen is you become part of a fan's or follower's routine.

If they expect a tweet from you over breakfast, they'll come to look forward to that. Alternatively, if you upload new blog posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (as a matter of routine), dedicated readers will come looking for those articles.

Of course, the goal is not just views or book sales from a 'regular' crowd, but it's wise not to neglect the importance of that solid, core group.  

Get in Your Readers' Subconcious

This is particularly important if you write for Wizzley et al, and are therefore in the business of article marketing.

Not only do you want to be viewed as a reliable authority on whatever subjects you're focusing on, but you also want to worm your way into your readers' subconscious.

That way, when they want a new tea kettle, advice on dog training or tips on shifting flabby arms, they'll instinctively know where to come.

Of course, creating this awareness in the minds of readers and potential readers, may require more than just a routine consistency in your social media presence.

It might be wise, therefore, to sign up to a service like Buffer, which will allow you schedule tweets or Facebook updates, enabling you to reach an audience that may be asleep during your active hours.

Create a Fanbase and Interact With Readers

Social Media Can Feel Like a Chat Between FriendsInteracting with your readers is not only useful in terms of building a dedicated readership, it can also enable you to get feedback in an instant and very frank way. People are often too busy or simply too lazy to leave a comment on a blog, or a review after they've purchased a book. But a quick tweet or a sentence via Facebook is easier and, somehow, less formal.

Moreover, followers and fans who regularly read your work, whether it's novels or articles, begin to feel like they know you. So, interaction via social media becomes more like chatting to a group of friends.

Of course, this informality and instant communication is not to everybody's tastes, and as mentioned above, social media is not a necessary component of a writer's success. Additionally, because a consistent presence is required, there really is no point in delving into these things unless you're likely to enjoy them. A halfhearted attempt at social media, which I have been guilty of on more than one occasion, simply doesn't work.

However, for users of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, the intimacy and immediacy of communication is a great part of the attraction. And, for some writers, good social media proves a hugely beneficial tool in marketing their work.

Updated: 02/16/2013, WiseFool
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WiseFool on 02/20/2013

Oh, well...That's my full-proof plan not seeming quite so full-proof any more. : ) Whatcha gonna do, indeed.

Guest on 02/20/2013

:-) I wish we could blame it all on the environment. My kids grew up before the internet came along. My husband and I were both heavy readers, and our house was full of books, including books that fit their interests and reading levels. Now, as adults, neither of my kids is a reader. Whatcha gonna do?

WiseFool on 02/20/2013

No, no, I don't think it's kids' fault that they don't have the attention span or will to read. It is, indeed, the environment of fast-paced visual stimulation they've been brought up with (it's made them lazy). I just think it's a shame that parents and teachers don't do more to encourage reading - the classic (good) literature is there for them just as it was for me and you. If/when I have children, that'll be something I'll try to instil early on.

Guest on 02/20/2013

Oh yeah, those adverts before you can even get to the videos. Another reason I don't view them unless it promises to be something exceptional. But I'm glad I didn't miss a talk by Cory Doctorow on his recent book tour for Homeland.

Anyway, let's not blame the kids for being lazy. They're growing up with what they've been given, and that's very little in the way of good reading. We can blame schools for that. Then TV, movies, videogames. Not that any of those are bad, but they've become almost the entire environment for kids.

WiseFool on 02/20/2013

Hello again, Catana. I have noticed more and more videos and/or slideshow images cropping up on some of the popular news sites. Like you, I find it a bit off-putting and, of course, with videos you inevitably get a 30sec advert before the actual piece begins to play.

It's a very sad state of affairs, we're cultivating a generation (or more) who are too lazy to read. And, as you rightly point out, if they don't read, they don't learn how to write properly either.

Guest on 02/19/2013

I don't think imagery has quite usurped the written word yet, but it's getting close. I've noticed a lot of popular websites, including news sites, placing much more emphasis on videos rather than text. I can read any given material much faster than it's delivered via video, plus the audio isn't always that good, so I tend to skip articles that don't even have text.

If you compare the writing quality on Wizzley and Squidoo, you can see the effect of the dominance of imagery on young people. Most of them can't write well enough to communicate clearly. Wizzley weeds them out, while Squidoo rarely does.

WiseFool on 02/19/2013

Hello, Catana. Great to hear from someone who's finding success without social media, I know it's possible. Thanks also for shining more light on the preference for images - I knew the use of images was prevalent in teaching nowadays, but didn't realize it's importance had usurped the written word. That's a great shame and, frankly, quite worrying.

Guest on 02/19/2013

I'm one of the vanishing species -- people who don't use Twitter, Facebook, or G+. Yes, I've tried them, disliked them, and found that they had no effect on my book sales. My "marketing" is my blog posts, and discussions on sites like Wizzley. My potential audience is fairly small, and blogging has proved to be the best way to reach it.

By the way, the preference of the young for images rather than text is quite recent, and is a result of growing up in a visually intense world, aided and abetted by education that no longer puts much importance on the written word.

WiseFool on 02/18/2013

Katie, you're absolutely right, of course, there does seem to be this swing among the younger generation towards Instagram over Facebook and Twitter. I have nothing against it, but I do worry that this obvious preference for images over words is not good for us writers. Then again, maybe that's always been the way - younger people have always and will always favour image-based stimulation. Just means we have to cater our work to the demographic of our likely audience. All the more reason to use social media to get to know them, I suppose.

katiem2 on 02/17/2013

You said a mouth full and yes social media moves at a very fast pace. The young teen and young adult set hardly ever use facebook at all now they use twitter a bit and yet mostly use instagram which is only for smart phones. NOw this apps social media thing is an up and coming branch of social media we must explore to stay a head of the pack. :)K

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