How to Use Social Media Wisely as a Writer

You’re a writer, right? If you’re a human living in the twenty-first century, you’re probably also a social media user. (And if you’re not, then wow! I’m impressed.)

This will show my age one way or the other, but I first started using social media in high school when MySpace was “the thing.” I pimped my profile with a fancy layout, listed every single band I’d ever heard of under my “favorite musicians,” and probably uploaded some terrible, grainy selfie taken with my very first digital camera. (It looked like a brick.) Oh, and I blogged…a lot. I thought I was hot stuff.

MySpace isn’t exactly relevant anymore, but it was just one of the many platforms that laid the foundation for the ones we currently use, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, just to name a few. Social media use has only grown since its inception and barring something apocalyptic, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

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Why Social Media Will Help You as a Writer

Social media is all about connecting. It allows us to connect with people we know and people we’ve never met all over the world. You can instantly have a conversation with someone on the other side of the world simply by logging on and reacting to someone else’s post, picture, or tweet. It’s pretty stunning if you really think about it. (Or if you’re a nerd like me.)

As a writer, you WANT people to purchase your books, read your blog, and enjoy what you’ve created. And you want as many good, quality readers as you can possibly get. Think about how hard that would be without the Internet.

Luckily as writers, we have every available form of social media at our disposal, and using it wisely will get more eyes on our blogs, books, and anything else we’re writing to create more readers and therefore more income.

Practical Tips for Using Social Media as a Writer

Whether you actually enjoy using social media or not, it’s necessary if you want to succeed as a writer. Especially for indie authors, social media is the lifeblood that keeps your books moving so you can continue to write. But even if you’d rather be writing than posting, sharing, tweeting, or pinning, you can still incorporate social media into your daily routine in simple, effective ways.

{Download the Social Media Cheat Sheet for Novelists here!}

Instagram

This is one of my favorite platforms to use because it’s where I’ve been able to connect with fellow writers and readers most candidly. Instagram allows you to post photos of anything you like. As a blogger, for instance, you can post daily photos of your workspace, your organizational methods, or the cat who keeps you company as you write. As an author, Instagram provides a great opportunity to connect with potential readers by sharing photos of your books and finding other authors in your niche. And those are just a few simple ideas. The photo opportunities are endless, though you should only post clear, high-quality photos and use hashtags to get the right eyes on your posts.

If you’re serious about upping your Instagram game, one of my favorite resources is Alex Tooby’s Infamous to Influential course. She has found ridiculous success on Instagram with accounts like this one (over a quarter of a million followers!), and now she’s teaching others how to do the same.

Pinterest

This is my other favorite, but that’s mostly because I get caught up in pinning pretty clothes, interior design ideas, and delicious recipes. (And cats.) But Pinterest is excellent for idea generation. If you need inspiration for your blog, book, business, or basically anything else, you can probably find it on Pinterest. (Check out this board where I’ve been designing my dream writing space.)

It’s also a great place to connect with other readers and writers on group boards and to promote your author brand. I’ve connected with some of my favorite indie authors through Pinterest, and I’ve learned a lot, too.

Twitter

Alright, I have a confession. I’ve had a Twitter account for a couple of years now, but I only started using it fairly recently, so I’m not as up to speed on this platform as I am on others. Just getting that out there. However, I’m slowly but surely learning how to use it more effectively, and I’ve witnessed other authors (indie and otherwise) succeed wildly on Twitter by reaching thousands of people. The potential is there, and it’s huge.

If you want some really helpful tips, check out this comprehensive post about Twitter marketing for writers.

Facebook

I don’t have Facebook author page yet (I seriously need to work on that…), but I do love participating in Facebook groups to connect with other authors and bloggers. It’s a great way to support each other and share ideas. There are TONS of groups to join, and you can find groups that are relevant to you by searching terms like “writing,” “publishing,” or anything else you’d like. One of my favorite new Facebook groups is The Literary Freelancer, which celebrates novelists, poets, and basically any creative writers who also want to succeed at freelance writing.

Facebook is also a great place to share articles and photos that are both entertaining and relevant to your ideal audience (i.e., your readers). It also offers an excellent opportunity for promoting your work, but that’s not the only thing you want to do. Your followers will see right through your motives if you constantly promote yourself, so find other artists you admire and share their work, too. There’s enough attention in this world to go around (though some might argue our attention spans are decreasing), and I truly believe that we rise by lifting others. So try not to be so self-focused that you forget about others who could use your support.

Simplifying Social Media

Finding time to plan, post, and reply regularly can be daunting. If the idea of daily social media interaction stresses you out, here are a few things you can try to make it simpler:

  • Choose 2-3 platforms you want to focus on. Don’t try to use every single one, because you’ll spread yourself too thin and get frustrated. Figure out which ones you enjoy that will be most effective for reaching YOUR goals.
  • Get organized. Keep all of your social media login information in one place. While you’re at it, keep all of your #hashtags in one place (and categorized!) too so you don’t have to scramble to find them with every post you make.
  • Use PicMonkey to create simple, pretty graphics. It’s impossible to use Instagram or Pinterest effectively without good images. Use PicMonkey to create them in a matter of minutes — no design experience required!
  • Schedule your posts. Don’t spend an hour every day trying to take the perfect Instagram photo. Try batching all of your social media tasks at the beginning of each month and scheduling them out. That way you can spend the rest of your time writing. (For scheduling, try Tailwind or Buffer. I’m still in the process of testing both, so I’ll let you know which one I like the most.)

A final note…

Remember that you are using social media as a tool to further your career as a writer. You aren’t using it to boost your self-esteem or to validate who you are. You already know who you are: A talented, capable creative who writes well (and who is more than likely introverted. And potentially addicted to coffee.). So don’t take harsh, critical remarks or unfollows to heart. Yes, there are many unpleasant people out there with nothing nice to say. But there are even more genuine, helpful people who will make great connections in the long run.

Be discerning and only use social media to the point that it helps, not hinders, your creative health. Spending too much time on any one platform can lead to jealousy, unrealistic expectations, and overwhelm. Don’t let that happen. You are on your OWN journey as writer. So use social media only to help and inspire, not to compare or discourage.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Then download this Social Media Cheat Sheet for Novelists to help you get started. It includes tons of hashtags by platform and category so you can reach your target audience without spending hours scouring the Internet.

What are your favorite social media platforms for connecting with others and growing your readership? Let me know in the comments below + join the Ladies in Read community on Pinterest!

Tips on using social media for writers, including platforms to use, simplifying you intake, and dealing with comparison | TheLadyinRead.com

 

About Meghan

Meghan is a novelist, blogger, and copyeditor fueled by coffee and red lipstick. When she's not typing away you can find her reading, organizing, or watching old sitcoms and superhero movies with her husband, cat, and baby-to-be.

14 Comments

    • You’re welcome, Kim! I’m with you — I use Twitter the least, too, but I’ve seen it benefit other bloggers and authors in a serious way. Guess it’s time to start using it! 🙂

  1. I love social media a little TOO much, I think. I’m addicted. It’s a little bit silly, but I’m constantly checking it and interacting with people. But, that’s okay, right? haha
    Love the cheat sheet!

    • Oh, completely. And I am right there with you. (Pinterest is my biggest enemy during the workday…haha!) Thanks for reading, and I hope the cheat sheet helps!

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