Friday, November 24, 2017

Setting Up a Cross Platform in Social Media

Social media isn’t just about Facebook. In fact, there are many social media networks, each catering to a specific group of people by age or special interest.  To be successful in social media as a writer, you have to post on several different platforms and then link them together in your own social media network. Doing so brings followers from one platform, like Facebook, to another.

The main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube. The last one is mostly for posting videos, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use your smartphone to post a video of you in action once in a while.

So what exactly is a cross platform? To be successful in social media, you have to spread the word about yourself and your work to other networks. But it shouldn’t end there. Once you’ve begun regularly posting on the other networks, it’s time to link them together by sharing posts. Each time you share a post, another group of people see it. And so do their friends. If each person shares your post with just one other person and that person shares your post with one other person, your message will reach lots of people.

So where do you begin? Once you’ve established yourself on Facebook—use it as your base of social media operations—you can venture forth to other social media networks. You might choose Twitter next. People on Twitter read their feeds almost as much as those on Facebook. Here, your posts will be shorter—even though Twitter recently increased the number of characters for each post from 140 to 280. Just because the network allows you to write longer posts doesn’t mean you should. Twitter readers are in the habit of reading short blasts, and they probably won’t change their habit for a while.

Write a post on Twitter that’s related to the one you posted on Facebook. But don’t stop there. Be sure to add an image to your post. This can be hard if you’re posting about writing, but if you post about the subject you write about, it should be easier. You can also set it up so that you can automatically share your Facebook posts on Twitter. However, you cannot do the reverse.

Now that you’re posting on the two primary networks, it’s time to check out some of the secondary ones. While users of Instagram will probably disagree, this network is a hard one to break into for writers because it definitely relies on image posts. In fact, you begin with an image and then add a caption to it. Also, you must have a smartphone to post on Instagram. While you can access Instagram on your computer, you cannot post from it.

Another secondary network is Google+. Its posts work much like Facebook, but its user base isn’t as large. In Google+ you can either post only text or text with an image. You used to be able to directly share your Google+ posts with Facebook, but now you have to physically post on Facebook, linking to your Google+ account. It’s a little more time consuming, but it works.  If you have images to share, you may want to set up a Google+ Collection. This is an image-based division of Google+ in which all your posts focus on one subject. Within it, you’ll find lots of photographers, antiques collectors, and such who post images related to their subject. Like Instagram, the image is the main thing, accompanied by perhaps a paragraph of text. You used to be able to share your Google+ posts directly to Facebook, but now you have to physically copy it and create a separate post on Facebook using the same text. Of course, you can still directly link to your Google+ account in your Facebook post.

Creating a Cross Platform
You should begin cross linking your posts as soon as you have one other social media network besides Facebook to which you’re posting. Try linking your Facebook posts to Twitter. Then slowly add another network, again linking the posts on it to Facebook and vice versa. As you add more networks, you can continue doing the same thing.

Let’s look at an example of how this works.  Let’s say you specialize in writing about antiques. You can do posts about the history of objects, their uses, historical anecdotes about them, their status with collectors, even the status of the current market. The list goes on and on. So you might begin by introducing the object on Facebook and mention how well it’s doing in the current market. Then you could do a post on Twitter that links back to your post on Facebook. If you’re on Instagram, you can post an image of the antique object and note a quirky anecdote about it in the caption. Finally, you could post an image of the object on Google+ and write a short paragraph about its history or how it originated. Naturally, you’ll want to repost a sentence on Twitter that includes a link to your Google+ post. You can then link your Twitter post to Facebook, putting you right back to your network base, but now with a different angle than your first post.

By building a cross platform, you’ll soon increase the number of your viewers across the board. But you must be patient. Social media doesn’t work overnight. It can take several months for your posts to get noticed. In the meantime, read, share, and comment on  other people’s posts in your social media accounts.

Learn more about me on my Web site, Writing at Its Best, and on my Facebook Page.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Let's Get Social

Social media is here, whether you like it or not. At the same time, more and more writers are pursuing online publishing, filling Amazon’s inventory with all sorts of ebooks. Many of these writers have turned to Facebook and other social media platforms to promote their books. Unfortunately, just as many find that even with diligent attention to social media, they’re promotions are going nowhere. Why is that?

The trick behind using social media outlets is to connect like-minded people. But the group most writers seem to attract is other writers. Other writers won’t necessarily buy your books or send other writing work your way. They’re too busy trying to sell their own books and writing services. So who do you connect? Readers.

Just saying “Buy my book” won’t get you additional readers. But getting your readers interested in your subject will. Some social media users even try connecting their followers to other followers.

There was a time when Facebook was for making friends. And though it still has that friendly environment, it has matured. If you don’t have an author page, if you write books, or a business page, if you do other types of writing, you should definitely set one up. This is your professional or “fan” page. It’s the page that will keep your fans, that is your readers, up to date on your what’s happening in your professional life. Readers “like” this page. They aren’t there as friends but as customers or buyers. 

Your professional page is where you offer readers some extra value—a behind-the-scenes look at your work, for example.

Use your page to promote your writing, but also use it to ask your fans why they like your work. Facebook is the type of social media platform that encourages readers to share their personal insights and lives much more, and you can capitalize on that through your page. Ask questions, run polls, offer contests. Interact with your readers in a way not related to your books or other writing, then use the feedback you get to become more personal to your fans.

Offer your readers some insights into your subject matter. For instance, why you chose a particular location for your novel or what makes you passionate about the non-fiction subject that you last wrote about.

And don’t forget to use images. Facebook users thrive on them. Have photos taken of you signing your books or have someone else take a few, even with their smartphone. Or you might take photos of the locations of your short stories or novels, if they’re based on real places. Text only posts on Facebook rarely get much attention. You need to pair your text with an image or a meme.

If you attend writers’ or book conferences, be sure to take photos and bring your readers with you. Post different ones every day. Too many writers are afraid that if they mention or show the work of other writers that they’ll move away from them. Why do you think so many businesses set up shop near other businesses of the same type? Competition is good for business.

Encourage your fans to share your posts with their friends on Facebook. Get them to talk up your books. After all, they like them or they wouldn’t be following you on Facebook. Ask them to help you find more fans—but not too often.

Be careful about encouraging likes from other writers who want you to like their page in return. That will get you a bunch of likes, but it won’t get you anywhere with your promotions. That’s the only reason they liked you to get a like back.

Next Week: Setting up a Cross Platform

Learn more about me on my Web site, Writing at Its Best, and on my Facebook Page.