Social Media is an important part of your author platform. It’s where you get to be engaging beyond what you write in your books. Social media is about sharing content and building relationships and if the only content you’re sharing is your own, you’re missing out on two huge opportunities.
When you share the great content (blog posts, tweets, status updates) from other people, they appreciate it and sometimes, acknowledge you for doing it. This could lead to a guest post opportunity, a book review or a mutually beneficial business collaboration.
Also, when you share other people’s content, your audience appreciates you finding great stuff for them to read. You become a curator for them and they learn to pay attention to what you say. They make sure they don’t miss your posts. When you write and share your own content on your blog they’ll read it and when you publish a book, some of them will buy it because you built a relationship with them. This is called a fan base and sharing content (yours and others) is how you grow it.
People love to follow authors like James Altucher, Neil Gaiman, Barry Eisler and Margaret Atwood on Twitter because they say interesting and engaging things that aren’t related to their books. They discuss literacy, politics and the truth as they see it and they enthrall millions in 140 characters. You are more than just a writer, you are a human being and the topics that resonate with you will draw in like-minded people. This is how you grow your readership on social.
Time Spent On Social Media
I’m often asked by the authors I coach about how much time they should spend on social media. It’s really not about time spent on social media, it’s about being effective with your time on social media. I’m a heavy social media user. I spend 90 minutes per day on social media and it in no way affects the weekly writing goals I’ve set for myself. But I spend it effectively. I write blog posts, send out links to my content, I read and retweet the relevant content of others, I respond back to people who comment and I start new conversations. I don’t do all of these each day but I do all of them every week. I have a great little timing app I use called Howler Pro. I set it for 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening.
Give Yourself Permission to Not Be Everywhere
I love seeing the relief in my clients eyes when I tell them they don’t have to be everywhere. If you love Twitter, then focus on Twitter. You don’t have to set up accounts and manage five social networks. I use Twitter as my primary network and Facebook as a secondary. I create handouts for my authors describing the routines for Twitter For Authors in 5 minutes per day and Twitter For Authors in 10 minutes per day then we work up to advanced techniques like how to search for readers that enjoy your genre and advanced hashtag use to grow targeted followers.
Where Do You Find Content and How Do You Share It?
I take a few minutes each day, usually in the morning to read some content (yes, I really read it) and I queue it to go out to my audience on Facebook and Twitter. Buffer has a button you can install to tweet and Facebook right from your browser. It allows you to send out a post right at that moment or slide it in to other posts you may have scheduled for the day. Buffer app is really one of the best tools you can use with Twitter and Facebook.
Google is always a great place to start. You can just do a simple Google search. You can sort your results into a more recent list of articles by using the News tab. Anything Google considers to be newsworthy and current is always under the News tab.
You can also go to WDYL.com which stands for What Do You Love. It’s also powered by Google. Type in your subject and it gives you a variety of ways in a multimedia format to explore your topic and send out potential things to your readers.
Another great online resource is Alltop.com. It was created by popular author Guy Kawasaki and his site allows you to register for a free account and set up content searches with results that are there for you when you login. It’s quick and easy to do. If you want to dive right in, go to Alltop and try a subject search. It will give you a page full of relevant blogs.
Feedly.com is a news aggregator that uses subject and RSS feeds to pull in interesting blogs for you in one place. You can choose exactly which blogs you want to have in your newsfeed and you can let Feedly show you different blogs based on subject matter. Bloglovin.com is the same type of service. You only need one of these services and it will provide you with all of the blog articles you need daily for posting content. Setting these up takes a little time but you won’t regret it because you just log in and it’s there for you.
Next up is Flipboard.com and Zite. These are mobile apps that you can have on an iPad or smart phone. They offer content curation by subject. When I have downtime and I’m checking my phone, I’ll check in with Zite and send out an article I find interesting. The content on these apps is usually recent and newsworthy which is a great fit for social media.
Don’t feel like you have to use all of these resources. Do what works for you. Set a daily goal to share a certain amount of other people’s great content. Your audience will grow and appreciate you for it. Just start with some simple Google searches if you’re new to this.
If you have a great resource you use that I haven’t mentioned, please leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it!