Social media for writers is mostly the same as regular social media for anyone else. There are some small differences and points to consider–being professional* is perhaps more important than on your personal account–but otherwise? Chances are you don’t need to worry. If you’re already using social media, you’ll rock social media for writers, too!
Please note that, while I’m on a lot of different sites, I’m not everywhere. The sites below are the ones I use myself and recommend.
*If you’re not sure what that means exactly and are worried you’ll step on someone’s toes, check out my post What Does ‘Being Professional’ Mean?
If you’re already using social media, I recommend you start a new account for your writer needs.
It’s a good idea to use the same username across all platforms, too, so your readers can find you without any guesswork. Having the same picture everywhere helps, too.
It’s frustrating when you’re trying to find someone from Twitter on Instagram and you think you have the right person, but it could just as easily be someone else! Unless you know them personally, it can be hard to tell.
This is why consistency in username and picture is so important.
If you’re tempted to create an account on every platform for max exposure, don’t. Pick two or three, and start there. If you still want to add to it later, you can, but when you’re just starting it’s important not to overdo it.
And it’s easy to overdo it, friends. Pick two favourites and see how it goes.
The internet is a visual place. Posts with images tend to do better anywhere, which makes Instagram the perfect social media for writers.
Because guess what’s visual? Cover reveals. New shiny maps. The proof copy of your book arriving in the mail. Pretty aesthetics.
I’ve sold more books through Instagram than any other platform, simply because people saw my covers and fell in love!
You can also join monthly challenges, which will help grow your audience and tell people about your book without seeming pushy*. #igwritersmay is a good one to join since the prompts relate to your writing life.
If you read this after May, be sure to substitute #igwritersmay for whichever month you’re in, like #igwritersjuly 😉
It’s never too late, either–I know we’re halfway through May**, but you can totally hop on right now!
*no judging here; promoting your book consistently without sounding repetitive is hard.
Twitter used to be my main online hangout before I joined Instagram.
It’s another good platform for monthly challenges which will let you meet other writers and tell people about your book.
I recommend #authorconfession (mothly) and #WIPjoy (every three months).
Twitter is a lot more social than other sites, so regular interactions do best. I always find my follower numbers drop if I don’t post for a few days or only post once or twice a day, so being around is key to Twitter success.
It can also get overwhelming faster than other sites, just because so many people use it every minute. I’ve stopped paying attention to the main feed, because there are hundreds of new tweets every time I look away for five seconds. I can’t keep up with that!
BUT Twitter has a useful little feature which helps with that. You can create lists, and stick as many people into them as you like. That way, when you open a list, you’ll only see tweets from the people you put there.
It makes it easy to keep up with the people who matter without being assaulted by everything else. If you don’t have much time, it’s perfect.
Generally, social media for writers is a happy, supportive place. But I have mixed feelings about Facebook. To me, it feels like there are two sides to it.
On one side, you have your personal feed. For me, this consists mostly of other writers and authors–and most of them either rarely stop by, or are there every day to complain about low sales.
‘This is so hard, I should just give up.’
‘OMG, I only sold ten books last month, time to give up.’
‘Ugh, I only sold five books last month, what am I doing wrong??’
Honestly, my Facebook is littered with depressing messages like these. The truth is that writing and self-publishing a book is not the same as finding a gold vein and selling it to the highest bidder. You won’t sell much.
The more you publish, the more attention you get but it’s still not guaranteed you’ll sell much. If that makes you want to quit, this isn’t the business for you.
The other side to Facebook is groups. I’ve joined a few, and while I don’t pop in often there’s a big amount of support and encouragement from your fellow writers.
They’re essentially the exact opposite to regular Facebook as described above.
There are a lot of groups, though, so picking one can be difficult. I recommend you only join one or two, because you won’t be able to keep up otherwise.
Let me make it easy for you–join my group, The Indie Writer’s BrownieBreak. We talk about books, writing, and every Saturday we talk cake and self-care.
Pinterest isn’t a social platform as much as it’s a search engine. Think Google but entirely visual. This makes it excellent for research.
It’s also really easy to lose a couple of hours to it, so be careful. Modern procrastination was born on Pinterest.
Pinterest can also drive more traffic to your blog if you set it up well, but that’s another blog post entirely.
The more you use Pinterest, the more Pinterest rewards you. This sounds simple, but you need to pin a lot every day to really increase your traffic.
There are scheduling apps out there to make posting all the time easier, but I can’t review any of them because I haven’t tried any. I’m using Tailwind and it seems to work well, but until they make it available for Android phones I won’t get much out of it*.
Once Tailwind is available for Android phones and I can test it properly, I’ll do another post.
Of course, this isn’t an issue for you if you want to use Pinterest solely for research. If you want to use it to grow your business and drive more traffic to your blog, however, it’s something to think about.
*I’ve asked a few times and all they can tell me is it’s coming, but they don’t know when.
I’ve been on LinkedIn for a while and even though I don’t use it as obsessively, I can see why it’s become a social media platform.
When I first signed up years ago, I struggled with this. I remember the employability sessions we had to attend at university, and they all advertised LinkedIn as an online CV.
It is that, but you can also share blog posts, new book releases, endorse professionals you worked with (and get endorsed in return), and contact info.
There are plenty of groups for writers and authors, too. While I’m not active in any of them, I have used them for feedback once and got a good response. If you join a group, you also get emails with new topics discussed once a week.
But it is largely an online CV and job board, and the social aspect comes second in my opinion. You can meet other writers, cover designers, agents, you name it–but you can do that on every other platform, too.
As far as social media for writers go, this isn’t my top recommendation.
It’s a good platform to be on, but I recommend it for when you’re ready to expand rather than when you’re just starting to build your online presence.
Instafreebie is a paid site. I won’t go into huge detail now*, but Instafreebie is great for two things: getting your book out to new readers, and growing your mailing list.
Now, the same is true for Instafreebie as for any other giveaway. A lot of people who download your book may never read it, and many of those who do may never review it. But some will, and personally I think it’s worth it for the few that do.
I also can’t ignore the growth of my mailing list. Before April, I had roughly 75 newsletter subscribers. I did two group giveaways (these are free and super easy to join, btw) and now I have over 300.
I figured most of them wouldn’t open my emails, but I was surprised to see how many do open my newsletters every month. Success!
And who cares if some of the people downloading your book don’t like it? That’ll happen anyway. Instafreebie just allows you to speed up the process.
*another post at some point, perhaps?
In two weeks, I’ll show you some easy and free ways to promote your book before and after release. In the meantime, you might be interested in these posts:
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