Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How To Use Social Media: An Author's Perspective

As an author I am always trying to find new ways to connect with readers and other writers. Social media has been a godsend for those of us in the book-making community, much as it has been for the rest of the business world.

The obvious benefits of social media for an author are:
  • Relationship building
  • Free advertising
  • A World Without Borders
  • Unlimited access to going through the same trials and tribulations
I have often linked posts to my Facebook or Twitter accounts because those seemed, to me, to have the most recognizable benefits from an advertising perspective. What many writers, and business people in general, fail to recognize is that the best form of advertising is relationship building, connecting with your audience, and actually getting to know one another.

When your audience cares about you, who you are as a person, they are much more likely to be interested in whatever it is you do - and if you are a writer - they will be that much more interested in your novel and that much more likely to pick it up or purchase it.

To that end, Instagram and Snapchat are perfect windows into your life.  They say a picture tells a thousand words.  So from that logic one photo on these accounts is saying about 8 times as much as a Twitter character count. While Facebook allows users to share posts up to 63,206 characters, most of that will be hidden unless you click to open more, and let us be honest, with Facebook's terrible algorithms there is a good chance that most of your audience will never see it anyway. One way to increase the amount of people who might be able to see it?

Include a picture.

So, if pictures are still king when it comes to communicating, Instagram and Snapchat should be leveraged. I know, I know: 

But I am a writer - how do words apply for a person like me? 

Listen up you clod.

You can take pictures of your words.  Or books.  There are entire communities of people on Instagram that search for pictures of words, poetry, quotes, books.  These communities are using relevant hashtags in order to find the items they want, hashtags like (and I didn't use commas so you can cut and paste these hashtags for writing and reading straight into your posts): 

#writers #readers #bookstagram #writerscommunity #poets #quoteoftheday #writersofig #poetsofig #igreads #poetrycommunity #author #poem #qotd #prose #booklove #yalit #booknerd #wordporn

That is just a few! Also, they are the most popular hashtags for writers and the most popular hashtags for readers. For an example check this out at my Instagram:

I literally wrote something I thought up, on a coffee stained napkin.  No one cares.  They care about the words.  Those are the type of people you want to attract, become friends with, and ultimatly -hopefully - convert to readers.

Now Snapchat is a little more difficult.  This community is developed purely by people who are interested in looking into your life.  My best advice for this is the following:

  • Be yourself
  • Do not be all business, let them see your day to day
  • Use the video feature, people want to hear your voice
  • Do NOT make massive stories.  People will get bored (no one's life is that interesting that we need a 100-photo flip book). Or worse, people will unfollow -which in case you missed the point of this blog, is completely counterproductive. Five photos and videos a day should be your max.
What is great about this forum is that Snapchat has enabled users to simply scan a user's photo in order to add them.  My Snapchat @ndenmon looks like this (sorry for the growl I was pretending to be Sirius Black from Harry Potter when he was in the newspaper as a wanted murder:

Nicholas Denmon

So add me and let's get to knowing each other!

Oh, and in case you were wondering what Sirius Black looked like - it was this photo from the movie. Let me know what you think of my impression - but only let me know by Snap-chatting me. See what I did there?

Sirius Black:

TTFN Denmonites!