Social media is part of our lives. And it can be a tremendous tool for writers.
But when I asked my browser, “What is social media?” so I could learn more about using social media in my writing business, the answers made me feel ignorant.
I read phrases like, interactive digital channels that facilitate creation of content … the building of virtual networks … means of interaction between people in virtual communities … web-based communication tools with common elements …
All that techno gibberish was intimidating.
But it also isn’t useful, at least to me. I’m a practical girl. I want clarity so I can understand tools and put them to use in helpful ways. Along with that, I want to make content writing simple for other writers.
So, instead of looking at expert lingo, I looked at questions from writers about social media. I combined those questions with a few of my own. The answers I found have helped me understand how I can use social media for my writing. I hope they help you, too.
Social media are digital tools that allow you to create and share online content publicly.
Three things are useful to understand about social media:
Social media also allows users to …
More than anything, the relational element pulls in users. “People crave interaction and connection with other people,” according to the good folks at Social Media Today. If you have an internet connection, you can connect with anyone anywhere in the world. That’s very good news for you as a writer. Social media can help extend your reach and connect with prospects and readers.
Plus, social media is empowering. Anyone can create social media site, have their say, and reach the world. That means you.
Let’s start with the disadvantages first and get them out of the way.
Advantages of social media for writers
A social media application (“app”) is a shortened version of a social media network that you can use on the go, typically on a mobile device. An app often has less functionality than a full platform. But it offers easy access and quick use.
While a social media app is a shortened version, a social media platform is the fully functional website – all the bells and whistles.
Some people refer to a “social media platform” and a “social media network” as the same thing. Others make a distinction.
That distinction is this: a social media platform is a specific online tool you use to broadcast your content to the public, as in “I reach users through my Facebook platform.” A social media network is your overall online strategy, as in “I reach users through my social media network which includes Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.”
Social media platforms can be classified in five big-picture types, according to the professional digital training experts at Digital Vidya.
For writers, marketing is the different ways you get clients who pay you to write for them or the different ways you sell your content. Taken a step further … social media marketing is using social media to promote your writing services, your books, and your content.
A social media manager uses digital platforms to promote a brand. That includes creating a social media marketing strategy, setting up social media accounts, creating content, interacting with users, and tracking results. Plenty of businesses employ full-time social media managers or use freelancers to manage their online reach. If you’re a solopreneur, you can learn basic social media management to use in your biz.
A social media marketing strategy is a summary of what you want to achieve on social media and the activities you’ll undertake to get there. It’s a plan. You put it down on paper. Your strategy includes steps for you to take to use social media to engage with readers and yes, promote your writing – steps like:
A social media influencer is a user who has built a large social media audience, has earned credibility in a particular niche, and leverages that reputation to influence followers.
Create a strategy to market your writing services or your content on social media. It needn’t be complicated. In fact, social media is most valuable when used consistently. When you create a simple strategy to use on social media, you will be able to stick with it and build a following steadily over the long haul.
Do you have a question or comment about social media for writers? Share in the Comments.
More Social Media Writing Tips
Content by award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse, who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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