Social media can be our greatest asset for marketing and also a time-wasting vortex. I know I’ve justified hours of being unproductive because I was “networking” and “engaging” on social media. Like the work-life balance I was talking about a couple weeks ago, we need to balance our essential engagements on social media, personal investment in the platforms, and actually being productive as writers.
One way I’ve found to successfully get the most out of social media is to be selective in which platforms you invest your time in. I wrote more about this previously, but basically, it boils down to using the platforms your target audience uses that compliments your skill set and art.
Artists making videos for example may be more inclined to use Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram, for their visual content-based approach. This works to both their strengths as an artist, and is a natural place their target audience is going to be found. As a writer I have found Twitter to be my best social media friend, and have scaled back my time on both Facebook and Instagram, partly due to my hectic schedule and partly because I have some concerns over the ethics of the company. That said, I’ll likely continue to use Instagram but continue to scale back my Facebook interaction. I am a visual person and my audience uses Instagram, whereas Facebook itself seems to have lost its momentum with a younger crowd. I don’t currently see value in pursuing advertising there.
Knowing which platforms to use and why is essential. If your target audience is twenty-somethings and they’re all using TikTok but not Facebook – they aren’t going to see your content. Additionally, if you’re paying for advertising on Facebook and your target audience isn’t seeing it because they aren’t there, you’re wasting money that could be better used improving your craft or paying for advertising elsewhere. You wouldn’t waste money advertising gardening products at a travel agency. You’d advertise your brand of luggage, or products you can use while travelling, right?
Twitter is currently my favourite social media platform, even though I was originally hesitant to use it. I didn’t understand it and didn’t think I was witty enough, or have enough of a voice, to warrant setting myself up on the platform. It’s actually turned out to be my most successful avenue for both interaction, reach, and advertising due to the high level of engagement on the platform. This is both in terms of discussion and consumption of content. In fact, I now have three twitter accounts for my various ventures.
Engaging on social media is necessary. But in my experience, it is not as important as creating quality work. Without engaging with your audience and marketing on social media the books you write are going to struggle to find a readership. But on the flip side, if you spend all your time on social media, and very little time creating your actual books, then you have nothing to market to your audience. Quality writing, and quality content, is going to be the best marketing you are ever going to have. A well written, engaging, book is going to entice a reader to pick up your next book, and to recommend it to their friends. A poorly written book is going hurt your goals. A professional cover, a gripping story, and a well edited manuscript, is what you should be aiming for if you want to be a successful Indie Author.
Part of using social media successfully is budgeting your time adequately. This will look different for every author. It could be a few minutes a day to a few hours a week. If you find you get sucked in to the social media vortex it might help if you have specifically scheduled social media time and designated writing time. Then you can engage selectively and have time to create content.
Next week I’ll go into more detail about how using these platforms is a key part of my marketing approach and how you can use them to extend your reach. I’ll be focusing on Twitter and Instagram, but I will also describe some of my experiences using Facebook, especially managing pages and groups.
As an aside, I mentioned earlier I have three twitter accounts for my different projects. I’m in the process of separating my witch-life content from my writing content. It’s really hard seeing as there is so much overlap between my three projects, but my newsfeed was getting out of control, and I have some secret projects in the works that I believe need their own space. If you want to follow any of my accounts you can find them listed below.
Writing Content: @bforresterbooks
Witchlife Content: @CedarRoseWitch
Aphrodite Content: @cypriangoddess