Wednesday 17 June 2020

The Social Media Minefield #WriterlyWednesdays

The Social Media Minefield #WriterlyWednesdays

The Social Media Minefield 

Writerly Wednesdays

So yesterday I went to a very enlightening event run by my old school's Alumni association - don't worry, it was a Zoom event. It was hosted by one of the old girls who is now a social media professional and she had some great insights.

We all know that a social media presence is vital for most businesses these days, especially we indies trying to get along in the great bit pond of sharks. So I thought I would write up my take-aways from the session. Now this isn't everything she said, or all the tips she gave, but these are the parts that stuck in my brain, with a few of my own observations thrown in.

The Most Important Aspect of Social Media

Three women chatting and engaging with each other.
Photo by Aw Creative on Unsplash

Social media is just that, social. Posting and running does not work. Engagement is key.

I must admit, I fall down on this. My Facebook engagement is dismal - mostly because I hate the platform. Given the way algorithms work on these platforms now, without engagement you're dead in the water.

The 3 Most Important Social Media Platforms

We have a plethora of social media platforms to choose from out there, but from a business point of view at the moment the three most important are:
TikTok is in there too, but it is a very specialised platform and requires knowledge of trends etc, which can be very hard from a business point of view.

Things To Do On All Social Media

  1. Make sure your bio is up to date
  2. Make sure your contact info is up to date
  3. Check all links are pointing at the right places
Even if we make the greatest posts, if people can't find us easily, they won't bother. Social media is all about the customer's instant gratification.

Also, we need to make sure we are socially aware and ready to respond to such topics if they come up. Social media is an unforgiving place. The holy grail is to go viral, but we must make sure we're not going to do so for all the wrong reasons.

Set up a social calendar so that social media is planned out in advance. This includes things like world book day, etc. and can also help with the social awareness. But don't take advantage of things like Pride and Black Awareness Month, make sure we are giving back, not just trying to take.


Facebook Logo

Once upon a time Facebook was the hip and happ'n place to be, but these days it is for the mid range to older demographic. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it's good to know. If our market is teenagers, we are unlikely to find our audience as well there as other platforms.

On Facebook catching attention is very important and the best way to do that is:
  1. Video - short, sharp, easy to digest, engaging video that gets people to stop on the post.
  2. Images/Links - if no video go with images/gifs or links to catch people's eye
There is a button at the top of every business page on Facebook - make sure it is set to the optimal thing for our brand. For example, mine is set to sign up to my newsletter on The Sexy Stories page and a Shop Now button on my general Author's Page.

Pin a post to the top of your page's timeline ( I didn't even realise this was possible) with all our useful information in it.

Don't just like other people's posts - comment, or use the reaction options - the algorithm likes this.

1 post a day is probably what to aim for, but pushing it to 2, if it's a promotional event is fine. Don't overload with lots and lots of posts.


Twitter Logo

Twitter is a fast moving, sometimes slightly irreverent platform. The best way to find out how the land lies and how to engage well at the time is to check out other users who are doing it right and who we admire. Then take their formula and apply it to our own corner of the platform.

For example - hashtags can be really, really useful and good ones for writers are: #WritingCommunity
#WritersLift, #ShamelessSelfPromotion etc. See what is popular, how they are being used and figure out how they can help us too, but always remember, it's about giving back as well as asking for things.

N.B. If you capitalise the first letter of a new word in a hashtag, not only is it easier to read, but it also allows visually impaired users with audio desciption to hear the hashtag properly.
  • Just liking things doesn't cut it these days - if we want to help out another Twitter user, hit the retweet - if we think it's really important, retweet with comment to up the profile.
  • Add a pinned tweet to our profile - pinned tweets allow people who follow us to know what we would really like them to retweet. Whenever I follow a new person, I look for their pinned tweet and retweet it for them.
  • Use images/gifs/vids in tweets - adding some form of image media to a tweet immediately makes it more eye-catching and it is much more likely to be engaging.
  • Ask questions, have conversations, engage with other people.
1-3 tweets per day is good for an average day.

My Twitter Follow/Unfollow Policy:

[Edit: Forgot to mention - this part is all me, not anything the lovely lady teaching us about social media said, but I did just hit 2K followers on my new Virginia account using this strategy and the retweeting pinned tweets one. It may not be suitable for other kinds of business, however.]

  • Some of the people I follow are friends - they tend to be mutuals, but are whitelisted even if they aren't. I do not unfollow them.
  • Some people I follow are celebrities/brands - they are whitelisted unless they do something hideous.
  • Everyone I follow for business related reasons gets a 2-3 week grace period, if they do not follow me back I unfollow them - this is so I do not hit any of Twitter limits. Sometimes this ends up with a mutual follow because I follow them again at another point and it was just they missed me the first time, so it can be good housekeeping regardless of limits.
  • Other reasons for unfollowing usually involve politics or some sort of -ism that was not obvious when I first checked out their account.


Instagram Logo

Now I don't use Instagram much, but is seems this needs to change. I have very little to say about it, since I don't really get it yet, but I took one thing away with me from the session:
  • We need to make sure our images are fabulous.
Big businesses contract photographers just to populate their Instagram feeds, so there is a lot of competition. If our camera phone is not great, we need to edit the images before they go up. Having colour themes so the grid looks cool is also a plus.

I have no clue exactly how to go about this yet, but I shall  have to have a go eventually.


Youtube Logo

Now I didn't put this in the top three, but it is an important platform, especially for creators like us. It is one of the biggest search engines in the world for content, so it is a great place to be.

I have neglected Youtube so far, but I plan to rectify this soon. I will report back on what I decide to do as I come up with a plan. This is especially tricky for Virginia Waytes, since that is all adult content and Youtube does not allow that, but I have a few ideas.

Useful Tools

And last but not least - some tools I have found most useful in my social media travels, or that I have just learned about which will be very useful.
  • Buffer - great for scheduling social media posts in advance - has a free option. I have been using this one for years and it is very, very useful.
  • Linktree - allows you to have one link so everyone can find all your main links in one place. I had never heard of this, but it is apparently really useful for Instagram. Also has a free option.
  • WhoUnfollowedMe - great for seeing new followers (it's easy to miss people on Twitter's interface), seeing who unfollowed, and checking who are mutuals. I have a paid plan with this because I found the free version so useful, and it is awesome.
Well I hope this has made a few useful points for everyone. Do drop me a comment to chat if you would like, or let me know your tips and tricks. The social media minefield is something we all have to play in everyday and we can always learn more about how to sidestep the explosions!


Yesterday was New Episode Day

Sexy Stories 11 - The Manor s01e10

Pippa and Josh are becoming closer all the time, but the danger of Josh's old pack lurks on the horizon. It hangs over them like a shadow and it may be a long journey back to the light.

Podcast - all the naughty bits totally free
eBook - all the plot and all the naughty bits 99c

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