NOTE: The following EPIC post comes from the book, “The Digital Writer’s Guide to Social Media (What You Really Need to Know)“ and “The Digital Writer’s Guide to Social Media in 15 Minutes a Day, (Better Networks, Less Time).”
Enter your best email address in the box below, absorb the free content once a week, then take action on what you learn. You will be a more successful writer.
Social Media Isn’t One Size Fits All
With a wide variety of social networking and sharing sites, becoming fluent is difficult.
- Image/Photo-Sharing Sites
- Video-Sharing Sites
Those are the big ones now, but you never know what’s in development around the corner. With new social media outlets emerging, and others falling in and out of favor at an ever-increasing pace, keeping up will be difficult, if not impossible, for the working writer.
Many creative entrepreneurs and online writers find social media challenging; juggling their minutes, forever unsure of where to invest their time or how they can leverage the medium to their maximum benefit.
They know they need to do it, but they don’t know how to get it done. This leaves flummoxed writers asking themselves the following questions:
- What social media outlets are most suited for me?
- How much time should I spend online to be successful?
- Do people really care whether or not I’m on Facebook?
- How will I tweet, blog, post on Facebook, spend hours on LinkedIn and expect to write anything?
Sure, managing your social media efforts can seem frustrating, but don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t squander hours posting banal tweets about your daily meals, or uploading videos of your cat to YouTube.
Social media can be a highly effective and wonderfully engaging part of your marketing mix, so long as you approach it with a focused plan, sharing useful information while interacting with your fans, friends, and followers.
With the right goals, tools, and strategies, you won’t have to spend more than a half an hour to an hour a day to see a positive return on your time.
Where to Spend Your Social Media Attention
If you were to advertise your brick-and-mortar business, you wouldn’t start with a list of newspapers, Yellow Pages, and magazines, then immediately sign up to place ads in each one, right?
No, you probably wouldn’t.
You’d set an overall budget, then do an assessment of prospective advertising venues to determine which would be most effective in reaching your target market.
If your ideal customer is a French-speaking, 49-year-old female, you wouldn’t expect great results from placing a full-page ad in a magazine aimed at American golfers.
You can join most social media outlets for free, but that doesn’t mean you should.
Time is more important than money, since you can always make more money, but can never make another minute. Lay out your social media strategy as though your minutes were money, and you will see a bigger return, much faster.
Start with three or four targeted sites, then use them well and with consistency. Doing so will be far more effective than trying to make a splash on several outlets all at once, without the proper follow-through.
Before creating 45 profiles on everything from LinkedIn to Tumblr, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are my current or potential customers hanging out?
- Do I prefer to share text, audio, video, or images?
- How much time do I realistically have to invest in social media?
- Am I ready to make a long-term commitment to social media?
- What are my goals: Connecting with existing customers, reaching new prospects, or establishing relationships with potential partners?
Your answers will drive your decisions and help you design the best possible strategy. If you’re into arts, enjoy taking photographs, and many of your customers are already on Flickr, the photo sharing hot spot is a natural venue to establish yourself. If you’ve never picked up a camera, Flickr doesn’t make much sense.
Balance your natural preferences with logical decisions. You’ll want to network with the right blend of fans, friends, and potential buyers, while finding the sites that are most appealing and fun for you.
You’re a writer, so you’ll probably feel most comfortable on sites where you can show off your wit and way with words. If you hate video, don’t commit to YouTube!
Set yourself up for success by making social media fun and it will be much easier to get it right and see tangible success the first time.
Remember, millions of people mingle online, and you have hundreds of social media sites to choose from. Map your intentions ahead of time so you can find the best match between your target market and individual preferences.
Great social media management is half art and half science. Blend them with your unique intelligence and you can trim your time to just 15 minutes a day.
Drawing the most from your social media time requires focus. Joining every social media site under the sun might be impossible, but it is a GIANT waste of time. Like great copy, sometimes less is more.
Maximize your minutes by deciding which social media sites are worth your time, and which you should ignore. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google + YouTube are currently the most popular social media sites, by far.
Social media will help you grow your traffic. There are several effective Web 2.0 sites that help you do that as well. Ezines, assorted article directories, and micro-blogging platforms such Squidoo, Posterous, and Tumblr. Not to mention the quickly growing Pinterest, which blasted out of the gate in early 2012 and shows no signs of slowing.
There’s something for everyone, depending on your style and strategy. Know what you want and why you want it, rather than taking the typical scatter-shot approach that too many digital writers fall into, and end up a with shortcut to failure.
Careful aim will help you hit the bull’s-eye every time.
As stated above, be mindful of your social media behavior. Your actions are powerful. The right behavior will drive friendly traffic. The wrong behavior can make it so you don’t get any traffic at all.
Here’s a brief rundown on some of the most current and popular social media choices.
LinkedIn boasts more than 100 million users, and while not all of them are “professionals,” many if not most are.
LinkedIn is the most business-oriented social media site, and an extremely effective networking tool. While Facebook and Twitter both encourage connection with strangers, LinkedIn frowns on it.
LinkedIn is a community-based web of referrals and connections that prefers the organic approach, where it isn’t just “who you know” but how you know them.
This is ideal for writers coming from the corporate world who want to pipe into an existing network, or writers looking for high-end corporate copy.
For the freelance writer, LinkedIn can be powerful. Pull the most from your potential by keeping the following strategies in mind:
- Be helpful and answer questions
- Find interview sources in LinkedIn’s company directories
- Gather testimonials and recommendations
- Status updates
No matter what type of digital writer you want to be – professional, freelance, fiction, or nonfiction – building a network on Twitter can greatly increase your marketing effectiveness. There are over 500 million users currently on Twitter, representing every possible niche in the world.
If you’re looking to self-publish a book, few things will get your work noticed like a heap of happy followers. Justin Halpern (Sh*t My Dad Says) is a great example of someone who used Twitter to get attention which he turned into a book deal, which he then turned into a TV deal.
Others, such as wine (and social media) expert Gary Vaynerchuk, used Twitter as part of an overall social media platform which has earned him a 10-book deal with Harper Collins. As Twitter’s popularity grows, you can count on more writers making a name for themselves with Twitter.
There are countless benefits to Twitter, including:
- Making you a better writer
- Finding information
- Making contacts, building your networks, and broadening your reach
- Promoting your writing
- Promoting your services
- Observing human nature
- Driving traffic to your blog
Twitter is, by far, the most lucrative social media hotspot for me. This is true for many writers I know, especially the most successful entrepreneurs. Yet there’s no denying that Facebook can also be an incredible asset in your online arsenal.
Facebook is the most social of all social media sites. Just because it places social behavior ahead of professional conduct, doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. It has plenty, and I imagine a professional-oriented wing to Facebook isn’t far behind.
Here’s some tips on using Facebook well:
- Use Facebook to have fun, observe, and contribute where and when you can
- Hang out, make friends, and genuinely connect
- Join a writing group
- Create a Fan Page
While not as original as Facebook or trendy as Twitter, Google + has started off strong as the fastest growing social media site in history. What else would you expect from the overlords of the Internet?
Google+ is the newest social media hot spot, but it’s growing at a ridiculous pace, and gaining relevance faster than the others, considering it took Twitter five years to reach 100 million users and G+ is only a few months old, yet it has an estimated 90 million users at the time of this writing.
The clear Google+ benefit, setting the hub head and shoulders above the rest for many digital writers, is its integrated SEO (search engine optimization). Since social media is now a definite part of Google’s search algorithm and a determinant of page rank, writers who want their copy to show up sky high in search results would be foolish to ignore the prime real estate of Google’s new social media channel.
Google+ is new and intuitive and sure to continue exploding in popularity, much like the other new kid on the social media block, Pinterest.
Pinterest is one of the world’s fastest growing photosharing sites.
Still young with only 10 million users, at first glance, it looks as though Pinterest might not be relevant for the writer. But it’s Pinterest’s excellent use of visuals that writers can use to easily catalogue ablish ideas for content, create a pinboard of novel ideas, or even connect with readers and fans.
Even better, Pinterest gives digital writers a great way to identify and capitalize on growing trends in your niche. As always, be sure your pinboard is content relevant and useful for your readers.
While you should have a plan for any social media site you join and use, this is especially true for Pinterest since it does veer away from the written word where digital writers thrive.
The opposite can be said for blogging, where smart writers thrive in spending their time.
The biggest mistake many online writers make is seeing blogging as a secret skill they couldn’t possibly learn, or something that will take too much of their time.
If you can hold a conversation with a neighbor or coworker, you can blog, and because you’re a professional writer, you can do it a lot better than most.
Countless benefits come with blogging, when done well. The medium is one of the most effective ways to showcase your expertise, connect with potential fans, clients, partners and buyers, all while establishing the authority that comes with developing your unique online persona.
There are plenty of types of content you can post on your blog. You can write the traditional blog posts and longer, higher quality evergreen content. But because digital writers are often in a hurry, here are a few suggestions for quick, quality blog content that’s easy to create:
- Create a list post
- Add a video
- Record an audio
Without knowing how to effectively plan, use, and measure your social media, it will be infinitely more difficult to see a quality return on your time.
Social Media Measurement
If you don’t measure your results, how do you know if your efforts paid off?
You must know what to measure and how to measure in order to improve, grow, and build a business that will help you make the money you deserve to make as a digital writer.
Measure your flow of traffic, community participation, network growth, overall reach, and revenue generated. There are many ways to measure your social media influence using free tools, such as Klout, which can give you anything from a quick glimpse to deep data, including retweets, mentions, follows, unfollows, which topics you write about most, and the various ways your score fluctuates based on these factors.
You can also use free website traffic tools such as Google Analytics to see where visitors to your website are coming from to determine which social media efforts are effectively driving traffic and which are not.
Google Analytics shows you exactly where your traffic is coming from so you can easily see WHICH social media sites are benefitting you most, as well as how long your visitors stay on your page. This information gives you the data you need to optimize your page to perfectly suit your ideal reader’s needs.
Determine which metrics are most important to you. Generally speaking, the most important metrics are actions taken, meaning your number of followers is never as important as their level of engagement. You can have 50,000 followers, but if no one clicks on your links or helps you spread your message, you may as well lose three of those zeros.
Using Social Media Can Be Overwhelming — But It Doesn’t Have To Be
Sift through your choices, then decide on the three or four that best fit your goals, market, and personality.
Spending just an hour a day promoting yourself online through social networking can yield powerful results, but only if you’re consistent with the image you convey and the effort you exert.
Consider each tweet, blog post, and uploaded image as a brick in the wall that will help you build your brand. Success won’t happen overnight, but it can — and will — happen soon enough, as long as you are diligent and professional in your strategy.
Social Media Authorities Every Digital Writer Should Follow:
Nichole Kelly - Full Frontal ROI
Stanford Smith - Pushing Social
Dag Holmboe -Klurig Analytics
Lewis Howes - LewisHowes.Com
Amy Porterfield - AmyPorterfield.Com
Phyllis Khare - The Social Classroom
Jamie Turner - Ask Jamie Turner
Marcus Sheridan - The Sales Lion
Christopher S Penn - Awaken Your Superhero
Leo Widrich - Leo Startups
Chris Brogan - Chris Brogan.Com
Scott Stratten – UnMarketing
Mari Smith – Mari Smith.Com
Brian Solis - Brian Solis.Com
Lori Taylor - Social Caffeine
Dan Zarrella - Dan Zarella.Com
Jay Baer - Convince and Convert
Kristi Hines - Kikolani
Brian Clark - Copyblogger
EPIC Social Media Posts No Digital Writer Should Miss:
7 Social Media Marketing Mini Case Studies – SocialMediaExaminer
The Real Relationship Between Social Media and SEO – Social Mouths
5 Ways Writers Can Break Out of the Tired Old Social Media Box – CopyBlogger
[Infographic] How To Use Contra-Competitive Timing for More ReTweets, Likes, Comments and Clicks – Dan Zarrella
3 Quick Actions to Stay Ahead of the Latest Social Media Trends (Pinterest, Timeline and Google+) – Amy Porterfield
Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – 21 Key Points to Know – Mari Smith
9 Social Media Hacks I Use Every Day - Jay Baer
Three Minutes on Social Media – Chris Brogan
How to Develop a Routine to Manage Social Media – Kristi Hines
11 Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger - Jay Baer
Of course, this EPIC Post would not have been possible without the awesome book, “The Digital Writer’s Guide to Social Media (What You Really Need to Know)“ and “The Digital Writer’s Guide to Social Media in 15 Minutes a Day,(Better Networks, Less Time).” They will be FREE from 4/24 – 4/28.
Please share this EPIC Post on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media outlets where your audience will benefit.
Enter your best email address in the box below, absorb the free content once a week, then take action on what you learn. You will be a more successful writer.
Until next week!
I did it. So can you.
P.S. If there is a person you feel every digital writer should follow on social media, or a post on social media that should be included in this post, please add it to the comments and I will look into it as soon as I can. If you have a question or comment, please leave it below and I promise to answer within 24 hours.
P.P.S If you would like to get social with The Digital Writer, please do so at any or all of the following sites: