#NaNoHop, Social Media Buzz and Networking
Welcome, new followers from #NaNoHop! @RaimeyGallant has done an awesome job of creating social media, buzz, and networking opportunities for the 400+ writers who signed up for the NaNo Blog and Social Media Hop. I imagine her hunkering down in a bunker, living off coffee and stale Girl Scout cookies until all the lists were complete. <insert round of cyber applause here for her hard work>.
I’ve made my way through the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram lists and am waiting for Goodreads to open its gates to follow the rest of you. I’ve tried to leave comments, retweets and reposts instead of zipping down the lists. Getting to know you is the main reason for #NaNoHop. I hope you’ll visit my “About Me” page or shoot me a question if you’re curious about what a full-time writer of paranormal/fantasy romantic comedies (with occasional forays into light sci-fi) does with her time.
What We’re Doing Right, What We’re Doing Wrong with Social Media.
The range of NaNo Hoppers is astounding. As isolated as we writers are (quiet applause for us introverts), it’s easy to forget there is a world of diversity, genres, experience, and hopes and fears among us. A few things have caught my attention as I visited hundreds of social media accounts.
I’m not an expert, I don’t try to be. I’ll be the first one to admit to sharing the knowledge of experts because I don’t know it all. I hate not knowing. I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. #NaNoHop has helped uncover a few.
Social media is a lot like a fantasy novel.
There are rules that don’t make sense, quicksand, trolls, kings and queens, floundering peasants and an increasingly swift passage of time. We’re all on a quest, and the prize changes locations. Sometimes Twitter rules, sometimes it’s Facebook. New and upcoming players challenge the status quo.
I consider myself a floundering peasant, but I’ve observed a thing or two that might give us an edge against the dragon known as The Internet.
Blogs and Websites:
- Have a “Subscribe to my blog” box. Sometimes these pop up (annoying, but I fill them out and Viola!, you have my addy). Sometimes the box is this big >box< and my address spills into a cyber black hole. Once in a while, there is NO BOX. I’ve taken the time to visit you. Don’t let me go without capturing my email.
- Make your subscribe box easy to find. Hats off to Raimey for going through all our blogs and including the location on her blog list. I would have given up and backed out. Make it big and bold like Tamara Lush http://tamaralush.com/news/ or http://thedabbler.ca/ (who also offers a lead magnet, a free book for signing up)
- Have a visible, obvious comment field on your blog post. I want to open a conversation, but I can’t find anywhere to comment.
- Include share buttons. Include follow me buttons. I’m still struggling with these. My buttons are along the side, intruding onto my text. Someday, when I have four hours to spare and a bottle of Excedrin nearby, I’ll tackle the quicksand of code and widgets and plug ins to fix it.
- Do something with the information you’ve collected from asking for my email address. I’ve already received posts from some of you. I’ve commented and/or shared them on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon (you do stumble your own posts, right?) Look, we’re all in this writing business together. There’s room for everyone. I want others to read your good content, so I share it. I hope you’ll do the same for me.
It’s not all “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book”.
This can be said for all social media. The unofficial rule is 90/10. Ninety percent sharing good content and interacting. Ten percent self-promotion. Don’t be “that person”.
On the flip side, make sure your website contains a tab at the top or some place that showcases your books. And that there is a link from the book’s image straight to Amazon and other buying sites.
I’m skipping here first, over the more popular Facebook and Twitter because Pinterest is my favorite social media forum. Before September, I didn’t pay it much attention. It was a place to file recipes, craft and home improvement ideas.
In September, I focused on Pinterest as a marketing tool. More boards were added, positioned, and renamed. I subscribed to BoardBooster, which schedules pins for me in the time frames I tell it to use, giving the impression I’m constantly active when (pssst!), I’m really writing. By the secret magic of selecting the Twitter and Facebook boxes when I pin an image, I look as if I’m active there as well. Along with using Hootsuite, I’m a public social media whore and a private sitting-in-my-chair novelist at the same time. Amazing!
- Update your profile to include who you are, what you write and your website address. Your profile is a golden opportunity to showcase who you are and direct readers and potential buyers to your website. This is a great place to include keywords so Google and other search engines can find your site. Check out these examples:
- Appropriate placement of your boards. If you want to be taken serious as a writer, move your writing related boards to the top. It’s simple to click and drag. Make all other boards secret. I’ve left my recipe boards and one or two others (okay, forty in total) open to the public as a way to show another side of me, but I don’t want readers/buyers to click away from my writing boards.
- Name your boards appropriately. Boards named “Fuuun” or “Wow” won’t lead me to you when I do a search for “writing tips” or “self-publishing”. Pinterest’s search engine is going to bypass them in favor of better-named boards.
- Change the board cover to readable images. Pick bright, bold colors and images relatable to the board with big enough fonts to read as a thumbnail. Check how https://www.pinterest.com/ClaraRHeart/ has branded her boards.
- Have at least three writing-related boards. Hell, have at least one. I’ve clicked on a few links from @raimeygallant’s list, with no boards at all. What’s up with that?
- Rename your profile from pinterest.com/randomNameAndRandomNumber to pinterest.com/MyNameAuthor or pinterest.com/MyNameWriter. I’ve currently settled on pinterest.com/CherylProWriter, but my Pinterest profile name used to be something unrelated to writing.
Facebook page tips:
- Fill out the “About” section of your profile. I am sooo guilty of this. Mine was blank and I didn’t realize the mistake until I clicked on @raimeygallant’s list and saw how no one could relate to my paranormal/fantasy romantic comedy writer self if they didn’t know what I write.
- Post often. This is hard for me to remember. I have a personal Facebook, which receives 85% of posts I read; a CherylSterling profile; two group pages I manage and forget to post to; and now a CherylSterling a.k.a. CherylProWriter page. I’m hoping when I liked or followed your pages, I did it from this page so I can keep my new writer friends warm and cozy in one spot.
I got nothing. I do everything on my laptop. Getting pictures from it to my phone is a hassle, so I’m not very active on the app.
Jump in if you have any tips on how to improve your profile and gain thousands of followers. I’m never too old to learn.
- Add your website address to your profile
- Add what you do and what you write to your profile
- Permanently pin a Tweet about you to the top of your profile page. (You can also pin a post to your Facebook profile). I didn’t know this was a thing, but you can tweet about you or your book, click on it, click on the three dots at the bottom of the tweet and choose “Pin to profile page.” The tweet will be the first thing viewers see when they land on your page. It’s always on the top unless you change it. What a perfect opportunity to advertise without tweeting “buy my book, etc.”
- Try to be active. Using scheduled tweets from Pinterest (via BoardBooster) and Hootsuite, I’m on Twitter 24/7. My challenge is in reading posts from the 300+ new followers from #NaNoHop and responding. I’m trying. The rush has preoccupied my time lately. It’s heady business receiving “xxx is now following you” and “xxx retweeted your tweet”. I’m a Leo. I like to have my ego stroked, but I also have to get back to the reality of writing again. #NaNoWriMo2016 was awesome; I wrote 54K, but the book is not finished. #NaNoHop should not distract me from the importance of getting more writing done.
In conclusion (it’s about time)
I didn’t sign up for the other social media outlets on the #NaNoHop lists. If you have tips, leave them in the comments. If you’ve made it to the end of this post, get up and walk around, for crying out loud. This post is 1500+ words, a lot to write and a lot to read. Do some yoga. Have a cup of coffee. Hug a wallaby. Or a puppy.
Thank you for letting me ramble. I’m dedicated to learning and sharing. The less frustration in my life over how to conquer social media, the better for those around me. 🙂
Happy hopping! I look forward to knowing you all better!