Using Social Media to Your Best Advantage
I was lucky enough to recently attend the SCBWI International Children’s Book Conference in New York and one of the sessions I was especially interested in was the one on ‘Using Social Media to Your Best Advantage.’
Like many writers, I constantly struggle with the question – how much time do I spend on ‘self promotion’ and ‘marketing’ and how much time is left for writing?
So following the conference, the things that seem clear to me now are that there is no right or wrong way of marketing yourself. The advice was to look at yourself and your comfort zone, know your audience and how you want to present yourself to them.
Blogging, tweeting and Facebook – are all important but I believe you need to balance that with your writing. I think the stats are – 50% each, but is that the right balance? I suspect the answer is different for everyone.
You need to ask yourself – where and who is your audience and only use social media if you have something worthwhile to say to create a following. You also should give a sense of who you are as a person. Connect on a personal level and be patient, it takes a long time to build and retain a fan base. If you write for teenagers remember that teenagers are really into Facebook.
A few points:
Post content that engages your fans.
The ‘liking’ is important.
In the US Virtual gifts and giveaways are popular.
Where are you going to put your time? Figure out where you are now – what are your strengths and weaknesses.
Who do you admire for social presence?
Where’s your fan base?
How can you make it more efficient and fun?
Do you need to social monitor? Do you want to? (You can set up a social media calendar.)
Ask yourself – What is my area of specialty and how do I want to convey that?
Google alerts are great.
There is a ‘Top blogs’ site. Monitors top blogs on particular subjects.
In summary, be systematic, prioritise, one step at a time, be flexible – something new is always happening so don’t feel like you are being left behind. (I constantly feel that way).
Websites are as effective as Facebook and better for kids because parents see them as safer for their children.
One last thing, it’s good to re-post and share the information posted by friends and colleagues.
. . . and now I’ll leave the social media talk and get back to some creative writing.
Below are a few more photos of New York in Winter 2012.