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S is for Social Media

All writers know that they need social media to build a following of readers and to network with other writers (it’s good to have friends). Unfortunately, not everyone’s social media profile reads “I’m a professional writer” – sometimes it screams something scary.

The most important part of any of your social media profiles? Filling in your profile. Write a bio piece, add your photo or picture you use across all platforms and personalise it. On most platforms you can change the header image – so do it!

I’ve looked at several social media platforms I use (or thinking of using) over the last couple of months. By optimising each of them, I’ve gained new followers there and on my blog (the place you want to drive traffic).

Twitter

I like Twitter. Perhaps a little too much…

Still, it’s a great networking tool. Though I really like reading my writing friends’ blogs, quickly checking in and sharing a link to a new writing opportunity still works best on Twitter.

I recently did a post about how I’ve optimised my own Twitter experience (no more hanging around online and being distracted) and a lot of my regular readers found it informative. I included what makes for a good Twitter experience – yeah, figuring who has followed you is included there – and various links to the wisdom of others.

My favourite description of Twitter:

At its best, Twitter is like a big party where everyone is throwing out their best quips or one-liners, be they deep thoughts, funny jokes, or tantalizing snippets of information about a project that make one’s followers want to learn more. At its worst, it’s like walking into a bargain basement and having salespeople lob cheap products at you. Don’t be one of those.

My post about Twitter includes everything you need to know about utilising this awesome networking tool.

But there’s something you should know right off to make your Twitter profile better:

I can’t stress the importance of a proper bio and profile pic enough.

The info you need to do this is in my Twitter post 🙂

 

Pinterest

Everyone (I mean all the social media gurus) agree that writers should have one visual social media account. Meaning something with pictures. The leading ones are Instagram and Pinterest.

I chose Pinterest because you can pin blog posts and articles too. Which is awesome: it’s another place to publicise my blog.

It really works too: after the first week, my page views on my blog had increased tenfold. (The spam too – so the spam bots have found me…)

No. I didn’t figure out on my own that I needed to be on Pinterest. I did a social media course to streamline my accounts and to figure out how to drive more traffic to my blog. (I did a free course with Frances Caballo of Social Media Just For Writers.)

According to Frances (and all the sources she cites in the post about Pinterest) Pinterest is one of two top social media networks for driving traffic to websites. (The other is Facebook.) And sadly, Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter.

So I did the smart thing and created a Pinterest account.

I shared all the wisdom I’ve gleaned about optimising Pinterest after I did this. Maybe it’ll help you too.

Oh, and something fun I do on Pinterest as a writer: secret story boards. I learned about them from Lidy over on Paving my Author’s Road and I’ve been a fan ever since.

If you need more info on how to make Pinterest work for you, Cheryl Sterling did an in-depth post about getting more followers on Pinterest earlier this week for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. And Lindsay over on Lindsay Lovin’ Life did a post about how to use Pinterest Group Boards.

 

Google+

Some social media platforms are much easier to navigate than others. For months now, I’ve been trying to figure out Google+. Though I easily set up my Google+ profile, I still felt a little lost. For the most part it had felt like I was standing in a doorway, the world of Google+ in front of me and yet unreachable.

I eventually figured it out. And I shared my journey with a couple of tips on how to optimise your Google+ account.

What’s the point, you might ask.

SEO. Sharing my blog posts publicly on my Google+ profile makes sure that if you search, for example, “black dogs” all the relevant posts from my blog will come up on my Google+ page and lead you back to my blog.

Simple as that, really.

Writing Platforms: Wattpad, writing.com, INK and Patreon

If you’re like most writers, you only see that novel that wants to get out of you. You eat, breathe and sleep that novel. Nothing short of finishing that novel, polishing it to perfection and having it traditionally published with adoring fans fawning over it will ever be good enough.

But as we all know, there are several paths to the road of being a published author. The one thing they all have in common: great writing.

And how do we get to the point of being great writers? We write. A lot.

Whether that’s by joining a writing community like Wattpad (I already told you my nine reasons for doing so) or one like Writing.com which focuses more on critiques (I’ve covered how to give a good one) or a writing community that only works in one language like INK: Skryf in Afrikaans (I’ve shared how awesome that’s been for me) or even one where you get paid to write like on Patreon (read the interview with two awesome authors using this platform to get a handle on how it works), it doesn’t really matter how. It only matters that you do. Writing more and getting other writers to tell you what’s working and what isn’t, is the only way to grow.

No matter what you decide to do, your profile must stand out.

For example, to make your Wattpad page stand out: a proper bio piece, links to your other social media networks (it has to be the full URL if you’re going to mention it in your about piece), a cool header, your profile pic, and a reading list. This makes your profile interesting even without your current WIP.

Don’t believe me (even after all those cool links), check out my Wattpad, Writing.com and INK profiles. Perhaps it’ll inspire you…

Blog

My approach to blogging had changed in the last year or so. Starting with trying to emulate other bloggers and what works for them, to not liking blogging at all, and ending with finding my own blogging voice… It had been an amazing journey. I’ve made a lot of new writing friends. And we’ve done amazing things together – though that’s something I’ll talk about closer to D-day.

So, what works for me?

Keeping to my new blogging schedule, for one.

New Blog Schedule for Ronel the Mythmaker:

  • Every Tuesday is for #TwistedTaleTuesday (flash fiction pieces I wrote for Microcosms, Cracked Flash Fiction Competition, and other places on the web I’d like to share here on the blog).
  • The first Wednesday of the month is for #IWSG (the amazing blogging community of writers I’ve joined to share my writerly insecurities, triumphs and questions with like-minded people).
  • Every second Thursday is for #FolkloreThursday (folklore creatures or elements are inspected, changed to fit my Faerie World and used in a short story published on Wattpad or writing.com).*
  • Sundays are for my thoughts about writing, sharing interesting facts about writing, a short story, or giving you a peek into my life as a writer and Rottweiler mum.

*In 2016 every Thursday was dedicated to folklore and a short story.

Taking part in blog hops, for another. (#AtoZchallenge, #IWSG, #cbf16 (Cherished Blogfest) and #NaNoHop had all been great for this blog in 2016 and continues to be in 2017.)

And a little something to help you along to blogging success: make sure your readers can easily comment. If you force them to only comment with Facebook or Google+ or whatever, they probably won’t. An easy form where they can fill in their details (name, comment, email, website URL) will leave you with a lot more comments and happy readers. Adding a place where they can “like” your post will make the shy ones happy too. Just saying.

If you’re still on the fence about blogging, check out my post about setting up a blog and why you should have one as a writer.

If you want to know more about how you can optimise your social media presence, check out JM Sullivan’s 5 Simple Rules for Building your Social Media Platform published this week for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

I hope this helped you to optimise the social media networks I mentioned here. Which ones do you use? What are your thoughts on them?

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