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Manic Monday: Social Media…Mud Print?

 

We all know social media is vital for today’s writers. We’ve been told by various social media experts that we must have a brand, a network, a footprint. I’m working on it, but most days it feels like a big muddy smear.

We need to reach out and be active on Twitter, Facebook, etc. It’s about connecting, not promoting. And I get that. That’s the easy part. I can jump onto Twitter and visit various #hashtags (#wewrite, #amwriting #row80 #pubwrite, #mywana) to find new and interesting authors to meet at any given time.

But the social media mountain is still slippery for me. Facebook, for instance. I have a Facebook page that combines friends/family/writing stuff. I’m slowly building my friend count and trying to connect. But then I was told to have the author page as well. So I have it. Out of 300-something friends, only 37 follow the author page. And really, what’s the difference between the two? Is it really necessary to have both? What are the benefits? And how do I get more people to “like” the author page, other than just asking? I HATE asking, unless it’s someone I know well.

And Goodreads. It’s a great place to connect with readers. Have lots of friends on there, too. But again, how do I use it effectively? I belong to some groups, but most of the discussions are the daily “how are you” type thing. Those are great, but we’re all pressed for writing time. There’s got to be a better way to socialize on Goodreads. I suppose I just haven’t found the right group yet–or haven’t paid enough attention.

Google+…haven’t even tried it. Worth the time? With a presence on Twitter, FB, and the blog, do I need to continue to stretch myself?

I’d also like to find a way to reach READERS. You know, people who aren’t writers but read the genre I write. Is Goodreads the only place for that? Are there other online groups dedicated to suspense novels? I confess, I haven’t looked for those yet. I’m still stuck on trying to figure out everything else.

Finally, there’s the blog. It’s doing well, and I’m grateful for all the great feedback I receive. And yet, I need to find a way to really put Thriller Thursday out there, to draw in more readers outside our blogosphere. I know the way to do that most likely lies with Goodreads and the outside groups I just rambled about, but I’m not sure of the best way to reach out, so to speak.

How do we promote without PROMOTING? You know, constantly telling people to read this and comment? The only way I know how is to join groups and just chat, connect, as Kristen Lamb says. But I still feel I’m not doing enough. I’m just not sure what the other ingredients are.

What do you guys think? For those of you already published, self 0r traditional, what have been your best strategies for effective social media?

35 comments on… “Manic Monday: Social Media…Mud Print?”

  1. Stacy – I’m actually doing a post on WHY an author fan page on FaceBook is a good idea (and why the Like count isn’t that important) but pushed it back a week, as the death of Joe Paterno over the weekend made another subject more timely.

    I’ve Liked your fan page from MY Fan page – doesn’t increase your fan count, but does insure that your content appears on my page.

    Sometimes it does all seem like a big mud schmear, doesn’t it?

    • Hi Beverly
      Looking forward to your post, then. I really would like to know the benefits of the fan page so I can use it effectively.

      I didn’t realize that liking from one fan page to another made a difference. Thanks for that tip! And yes, it does!

  2. I just ‘liked’ your author page so it’s up one count. :)

    I’m with you on the ‘clear as mud’ thing. I get it, but there are SO MANY ways to connect via social media that it’s mind boggling. In addition to the usual stuff, there are some great writing forums out there. Such as, Verla Kay’s Blue Boards (for kids/ya), Backspace, YALITCHAT, WAE (which has agents and editors participating, too), She Writes, local SCBWI chapters, and who knows how many more. It could be a full time job just to maintain an online presence!

    I was certainly overwhelmed by it all initially (still am to a certain extent), but I’ve decided to break it down into manageable pieces. Twice a week I will do social media stuff for one hour each day. That still gives me four hours to write on those days, so it seems like a fair trade. I can’t possible get to everything in just an hour, so I try to rotate the sites. It seems to be working out okay so far… :)

    • Well, thank you!

      I belong to SheWrites, and it’s another one I need to participate in more. I also have an account on LinkedIn, but again…what’s the best way to use it. I think I can manage the time issue with social media. I just need to figure out what exactly to do with some of the forums so I’m using them effectively.

      I love your idea of rotating the sites during your social media time. That’s a great idea. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Stacy, great post – areas I’m still figuring out too. And when you get “GoodReads” let me know the best way to navigate and saturate myself too – at times its a big black hole. I am also getting into LibraryThing and Shelfari for readers…takes time to make connections and build relationships as you know! Good luck ;)

    • Thanks. As for Goodreads, I think I really need to take some time and just devote an hour a week or whatever to it and see what I can figure out. I still haven’t checked out LibraryThing or Shelfari. I’ll have to add those to my list, lol.

  4. I totally relate to your smear! I work so hard and can’t keep it all together. My Facebook page is inspirational, and so my numbers went up quickly, as a nonfiction service blog, it matches for me. Twitter, I just want a damn intern to do it for me so I can get back to the manuscript! Working full-time with young kids, i just cannot do it all, and sleep, too!

    • That’s excellent about your FB page. As for Twitter, that’s the easiest part for me. I don’t have any regular routine, but I just try to jump in and chat/repost when I can.

      You could try one of the services like Hootesuite or Triberr that will schedule your tweets for you.

      Thanks!

  5. Ditto, ditto and ditto. And I’m totally lame at Twitter. I still don’t get it. I go on there and catch a comment flying by, I either relate, and respond, or don’t–mostly don’t–or retweet something Seth Godin or The Bookman says (throwing their names out makes me sound so “connected” doesn’t it?) Not. What I’d like to figure out is Goodreads. That would make a good post as well.

    • In my opinion, the best way to handle Twitter is to use Tweetdeck, where you can sort out your columns by hashtags or lists, and then follow those. Otherwise I’d get lost in the endless stream.

      I’m working on Goodreads. Hopefully I’ll have something to eventually report, lol.

      Thanks!

  6. I feel exactly the same about it, Stacy. I have made so many friends via all these online venues, and yet I still feel like I am not doing enough. Or am I? I just don’t know. There’s also the time factor. Too much online fun and socializing, and I get no writing done.
    I do think Goodreads is an excellent place to find readers. For now, I am focusing on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my blog. Oh…and writing the novel. :-)

    • Yes! I’ve made a ton of friends, but will they buy the book? I don’t know. Even so, I do need more. I would love to hear more about your strategies for Goodreads when you have the time.

      Thanks!

  7. Girl…I hear ya! I think it’s so daunting when you think of all the platforms out there. What is best and which way to use each?!?! I am at a lost. What I’ve been trying to do is figure out one thing at a time. And I try not to enter into something else until I’ve played around and figured one out in a way that makes sense to me.
    If after playing around with a platform, I am not comfortable with it, don’t like it, or don’t see it’s “use” for me, I can drop it knowing I gave it a good try.
    Facebook. I think the reason for an “author” page is you may not want to share your pictures etc with your readership fans. My facebook is really for people I feel I am friends with. I don’t mind them seeing my Dominican or Christmas pictures. They know when I am home sick fighting a flu or having a tough day at work. My author page (which I will start someday), would be more for author only stuff and I’d likely want more of my reading fans to go there as opposed to my personal facebook account where I am not likely to accept a friend request from a stranger.
    After face book, I went to blogging. I took a year and I really played around with themes, design, what works, what didn’t etc. I took Kristen’s class and applied the concepts.
    From blogging I went to twitter and tweetdeck. Once I felt I had a good grasp on that….
    I went to Triberr. Still mastering that. I’ll be there awhile before I take on anything new.
    Once I am more comfy with triberr – I have on my list to master goodreads, pinterest, and google+.
    But remember, I LOVE this social media stuff. I am tech-challenged but I still enjoy playing around and learning new things so for me…it’s all fun!
    I think the key is not to try and do everything at the same time. Pick one and commit to figuring it out as completely as you can to see if it makes sense to you to invest in using it. Do a lot of google research, read blog posts about it, FAQs, YouTube it and watch tutorials and how other people are using it. Start an account and put your knowledge to use. Play around. Click here, click there. Don’t be afraid to see what that buttons does. Google it some more with questions. Read. Play.
    If you love it and it makes sense to invest in using it, continue on. If it doesn’t, delete your account and move on.
    And do not feel like you ever have to DO IT all. The best advice I think Kristen Lamb gave us was DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU and do that well. If you like blogging and twitter but don’t like any of the others, stick to that. If you prefer facebook, stick to that. She said you didn’t HAVE to be on everything but you do need to be out there somewhere. So let the pressure to be everywhere go.
    Now ask yourself if any of them interest you. If they do, pick one and start to learn it. And see where you go from there.
    It’s what works for me anyway. :-)
    Good luck!!!
    My god…sorry about the super long post! Although, I may use this comment as a blog post topic. LOL!!

    • I think your one thing at a time approach is good. Good point about the author page. I think what I may do, as time passes, is to post stuff on my regular page encouraging them to move to my author page for more writing stuff. I just hate to ask.

      Your blog is so pretty. I would love to have a more professional looking one like yours is. I do enjoy the blogging, and I am slowly seeing the efforts pay off. I do think I could branch out Thursdays by stepping into the right crime forums, etc. It’s just a matter of taking the time and finding them.

      Triberr could be really good, I think. I just have to keep working out figuring out.

      Honestly, thanks for the reminder of Kristen’s advice. That’s one thing I’d forgotten about. LOL – love long replies. Thanks!

  8. I’m with you, Stacy, figuring out what to do and where is a headache. Having relationships with people is the best way to go, but it’s a very slow process of getting to know each other to the point they want to read your books and support you. I put big announcements related to writing on my personal FB page because like you, most of my friends didn’t go “Like” my author page, but I’m trying to use my author page for more of the tidbit writer stuff. Not word counts, but when I complete a stage, or maybe some novel lines. Things I’d imagine reading on my favorite authors’ pages. Goodreads, I hear, is a gold mine, but I also haven’t figured out how to really connect on it. It just seems like sifting through all the groups on there would take forever, and I’d rather be writing. :-/

    • Yes, that’s exactly it. And as Kristen Lamb has said, we need to venture outside our writing circle/blogosphere peeps. I just need to figure out where to go. That’s a good idea of how to use the FB author page. I usually post blog updates on there and what not. Goodreads again. We all need to ban together and figure how to make good use of it.

      Thanks!

      • I only post blog updates that specifically relate to my books or being an author on my author page. So you’d definitely want to put your Thriller Thursdays up there.

        Yes! Finding out how to get away from our inbred writer circles is so hard! I tried looking up a couple hashtags of tv shows I like, but those people looked a little crazy to me, hehe.

  9. Mud just about sums it all up. There are so many different social media options out there you end up spending more time on them and less time writing or reading. I’ve not ventured into the world of facebook yet, but a number of people have told me to only have an author page. I guess it is just about what you have time for, what you enjoy and going with the flow.

    • I started out with a regular FB and just merged my writing stuff with it. I’m still not sure how to utilize the author page. And I agree – I think you get the most benefits out of what you enjoy and have time for. Thanks!

  10. I’m with you Stacy. It’s all clear as mud. I spent all day today trying to tweak some technical aspects of my blog (not writing). Everything Kristen says about social media (blog, FB, Twitter) seem to make sense, but my numbers are just creeping and I don’t feel like I’ve connected extensively outside of my blogosphere — blog readers are from SW, bloggers I follow, and tweeters. Where is that mass of readers who read for entertainment, not because they’re obsessed with following to raise their own follow numbers. My head hurts.

    • Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I’ve made a lot of friends via the blogosphere, but not a lot outside my writing circle. Goodreads may be part of the answer, but a lot of writers go there, too. I think the key is finding a way to connect outside of our groups.

      Thanks!

  11. The only part I can really speak to here, Stacy, is Facebook. I have a personal Facebook page and a professional Facebook page. I use them very differently. I don’t want my personal family stuff out there for everybody, nor do my old high school friends want to read every blog post I do; thus, the separation. I’m new to Goodreads and still trying to figure it out. Best wishes!

    • That’s a good point. I should have done them separately, but I was honestly too lazy to mess with it, lol. Where do you feel you get the most results from?

      Thanks!

  12. I feel the same way. There are so many sites to join. It gets to a point where you have to choose or you will never have the time to write! I love twitter and joining challenges to meet new people.

    • That’s very true – you do have to choose. And Twitter is great for meeting new people and gaining a support group of sorts. I just wonder how effective it really is. Only so many of your followers are reading/responding to your tweets, you know?

      Thanks!

  13. Uoh! Such tough questions. I think stretching yourself on all directions can do you more harm than good. Twitter, FB and Goodreads should be rnough for now.

    I only use just one FB page – really no need for two, unless you post family photos and information not intended for those outside your close circles.

    Goodreads is a fabulous site to connect with prospective readers and other writers. Generally, people are super friendly there and they have one major thing in common: books. Have you considered posting your blogs there? I see many authors doing that.

    I would also suggest joining Triberr as it is a great vehicle for streamlining your posts to all the social media sites of your choice.

    • I agree, and that’s how I felt about the FB page until someone said she’d been given advice to have a separate author page.

      I should post my blogs at Goodreads. Do you have an specific groups you’d recommend? I just hate to join and post blogs to the wrong one, lol. And yes on Triberr. I’m slowly learning that.

      Thanks!

  14. I’m not on Goodreads, and I don’t have a Facebook author page. I need to play with setting one up. I hope I remember to check back with your commenter who is doing a blog post on the Facebook author pages. If you ever figure out Goodreads, please do a blog post so I can learn from what you’ve learned.

    And like Tiffany, I hope when I do whatever I do that it will all pay off. Socializing on social media is (for me) hard work. Totally out of character. :D

    • I will definitely let you guys know what I’ve learned from Goodreads. I just need to make myself devote some time to it. LOL on the out of character thing. Me, too.

  15. So many social media options. It’s mind numbing, really. I’ve checked out G+. It seems pretty good but I haven’t used it extensively. I am on Twitter and Facebook. I have have a fan page too but many more friends on my regular profile page than likes on my fan page. It’s okay. Sometimes we build these things and they’ll come to fruition much later on. All we can do is find the social media sites we like the best and get to know folks.

    • I’m sorry, I just saw this comment. Yes, there are so many options, and the biggest key for me is figuring out how to reach readers, not just fellow writers. That’s something I’ve got to focus on in the next few months. Thanks for the advice/comment!

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