It surprises me some of the reactions I receive when I talk to some writers about social media. I get everything from silence to hostility. I know one reason often cited is time concerns, but I am sure there are other reasons. I decided to consult one of my teachers, Carol Bremner, to ask her advice on the subject. I enjoy Carol’s style of teaching. Because she is a non-techie, she has a non-threatening way of teaching.
So here are the first three questions I asked Carol about social media.
1. Many writers are concerned about using social media, because they think it uses so much of their time. What’s your advice?
“When you think about it, social media to some people is just Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but really social media is any platform on the internet that allows people to have a relationship with one another. So Youtube is also social media, because you can comment on Youtube videos. Blogs are social media because people can interact. It’s not just those few that I mentioned at the beginning. And there is Pinterest, which is more image oriented.”
“The best way is to think about it, instead of being intimidated about the amount of time it might take, just think about where the people you would like to build a relationship with would be. So it’s not very much different than if you were going to offline events to try and promote your writing. Where would you go that your market would be? It’s the same kind of thing, but it’s online.”
2. How can you find out where those people you want to meet are?
“There are forums, which are groups of people who are interacting and asking questions. You could go to Google or one of the other search engines and type in whatever your topic is, for instance picture books. Type in picture books with the + sign and then forum. You should get a list of different forums. Try to find ones that seem like they are fairly active.”
“Now in that case it would probably be people who are in the industry themselves and they may be asking questions about it. Another way to look at it is, if you wrote picture books and you wanted to connect with grandparents, because that’s who would buy picture books for their grandchildren. Or parents. So then you could target those kinds of forums instead and just get on some of the forums and see what are some kinds of things people are asking about. As well as building relationships, it also might give you ideas for things you could write about.”
3. Now do you see any cons to using this method?
“Not really unless you are spending most of your time trying to promote yourself rather than building a relationship. So you can indirectly say things about your book, but if you are always just trying to sell it’s the same as if you were at an offline event and someone was coming up and trying to be salesy all the time. You would just try to avoid them.”
“With some of the forums there might be certain rules that they have, so you have got to check out their guidelines, because it might be a little bit different for each of the forums. But most of them will allow you to at least have a link back to your website or say a little bit about yourself at the bottom of your comment. It’s another way of getting people to come to your website. If you’re just giving good advice, then people are going to start thinking this person knows what they are talking about.”
Stay tuned for more insights from Carol on this blog.
In the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts about whether or not you are embracing social media and why or why not.
For more information on Carole Bremner and her services visit her blog at Motivated to Learn.