Whether you’re self-published or in the hands of a publishing house, being a writer today means that you are expected to have a social media presence.
The prospect of having to start and maintain social media accounts can be just as daunting as taking those first tentative steps into submissions. But just as sending off that first query letter teaches you that the path to publishing can be done, getting the hang of social media isn’t as scary as you may think and can be achieved with some easy tips and advice.
But before we get into that, I do want to assert that I am not a social media expert—hence the bracketed “non” in the title. I have, however, received so many messages from the lovely readers of this blog asking for help with social media, that this post has become inevitable.
For it, I will be staying in my lane and talking about my own experiences using social media. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa, so please take this advice as simply advice.
How To Get Started
I started my social media accounts not knowing what I was doing, and I still pretty much don’t. I post and share what I like. I don’t live and die by the stats, or tweak metadata—in fact, I’m not even sure what metadata is. I’m also pretty certain that half of the things I do in relation to social media isn’t even the “right” way to do things. For example, a savvy blogger would split up a series like this and have content for a few weeks, but it’s my blog and I’m going to post it all at once.
I don’t make a living off of social media, I just wanted another outlet for writing, and to be part of the writing community. So, if you’re looking for someone who is going to help you make money from blogging, this is not the series for you. If you’re just starting out and wondering what to do, the best advice I can give is to choose one platform to start, decide on the kind of content you want to post, and just do it. You’ll learn everything else as you go.
How To Not Let It Consume You
The downside of social media is how much it can take over your life, both with creating the content and then checking how that content is doing.
I like to have a “Social Media Sunday” where I create all the images for the coming week (sometimes month if I’m inspired and have the time) and roughly plan what I’m going to post.
When it comes to posting, pick a time and day that’s convenient for you and stick to it. It’s also a great idea to set limits on when you’ll check social media. If you don’t, you’ll be constantly looking at your notifications and that will quickly stop you from getting any writing done. Check feeds for a few minutes after posting, and then again later in the day/evening. Don’t spend time every hour checking, or rushing to check when a notification pops up on your phone/computer.
Make It As Personal As You Want
Social Media is a great way to show off your personality so that readers can get to know the person behind the words. How much of your personality or personal details you want to share is up to you. For instance, I’ve never shared what the K stands for in my name or if my “author name” is my actual name, maiden name, pen name, or the name given to me because I’m in the witness protection program. I do share my love and frustration of writing, the books I’m reading, the pictures I take of the world around me, and the highs and lows of my path to publication. That’s because that is what I want my social media platforms to be about. Decide on what you are willing to share, and share it honestly.
I wanted this blog post to feature specific tips for the specific social media platforms that I use because that’s where my non-expertise comes in. Surprisingly for someone who isn’t an expert, I had a lot to write about, so I’ve split this post into smaller, separate posts. I hate when people make you click through a million links to read something, so apologies for that, but it was either give you an endless wall of words or provide separate posts. Please enjoy, and be sure to let me know what you think.
— K.M. Allan
Are you wondering what the K stands for now? Post your guess in the comments and I may or may not confirm if you get it right 🙂