It may surprise some writers to hear that writing is often the easiest part of their journey. Surely the blood, sweat and tears that you poured into your writing was anything but easy! But, if no one reads your words, you might as well have not written it at all. Making sure that your work reaches as many readers as possible can sometimes be the most difficult part of the writing process!
In the modern age, what you need is an effective and comprehensive social media campaign. But don't panic! Here are a few actionable ways to make social media work for you when it comes to promoting your writing.
Have a Platform
It doesn’t matter what kind of writer you are–content, copywriter, novelist or pun master 3000–you need a website to host your work. Not only is it a fantastic way to showcase what you do to potential clients and publishers, but it also makes it easier to promote your writing via social media.
As a writer, words are easy and come naturally to you. But for social media to be successful you must channel your creativity to a more visual medium. The fact is that Tweets and Facebook posts that include images get much higher levels of engagement. Instagram and Snapchat are solely visual platforms and so you need to think even more visually when you promote there. You need to learn to harness this power.
Create eye-catching images for your content and try to use images throughout your posts. Every time you share your article, try to change the image so that it doesn't come across as spammy. Experiment to see what type of pictures gain you the most engagement.
There are a lot of great free stock photo sites on the web, so utilize them! I like Pexels, Gratisography and Pixabay.
Create Engaging Headlines
Scroll. Stop. Boring. Scroll. Stop. Engage.
The above is the typical journey for most social media users in 2017; they will scroll indefinitely until something catches their eye. You want to be the engaging part of this loop. To do so, you need to create a headline which catches their attention and draws them into clicking.
The process for creating a headline can be long and frustrating. How can you determine what people will click on? Ideally, you will create ten or so headlines and send them to someone to gain a second opinion. Realistically, your post needs to have a different title for the different social media channels and having all of these vetted can be tiresome.
Use free tools such as CoSchedule Headline Analyser and BuzzSumo to work out the impact of your headlines, as well as seeing what works best for the content in your niche.
If you're just starting out, try a combination of list articles (10 Things You Didn’t Know about… your topic of choice) and how-to articles (How to… write a more effective headline than this). Simple, but they tend to grab people’s attention if your topic is interesting enough. Check out this great post: 5 Foolproof Techniques to Achieve Perfect Website Headlines
Adapt for Platform
Engaging an audience on Facebook is very different from Twitter, or Instagram, or Snapchat. So, it almost goes without saying that you have to change your methods between platforms.
Ask questions on Twitter to entice engagement. Create a striking image for Facebook. If you’re on LinkedIn you could even share articles directly to your audience from their publishing platform!
Remember, you are fighting for the attention of your audience. Every other marketing team will have optimized their posts for maximum engagement, so do the same. Research hashtags, create a unique description (for each platform – you’re a writer, so write!) and use a photograph that grabs attention. Use the tools of each platform to work to your advantage.
You may find that you have better success on one platform over the rest, so use that to your advantage. Don’t abandon the rest by any means. But, use your growing followers on one platform to get a feel for your audience. Send out polls and engage, find out what they like! Once you do, you may find it much easier to appeal to this specific audience on other networks as well.
Timing & Schedule
Timing is everything. A little bit of advice that applies to both your life and your social media efforts. Posting in social media down times will not help to promote your writing, and it can leave you disheartened.
This step may require a bit of research. When does your niche subject see the most engagement? Is there a specific time that works best overall on the platform, or even a specific day? In fact, some studies have been conducted to show that each platform has its own unique high-traffic and engagement moment each day.
But, how do you tap into them all?
Just because you post something at 5 am on a Sunday night doesn’t mean you have to share it then – nor should you! Needless to say, the post will get very little engagement.To get the most out of your social promotion you must be scheduling your content.
This is possible either via the platform itself (such as with Facebook) or through a social media scheduling app like TweetDeck or Buffer. Just choose a platform and spread out your posts on the platforms according to peak engagement times.
There are plenty of resources exploring these peaks, so it depends on who you trust the most. Here are some quick data hacks for your efforts:
- Facebook: Weekends, Sat & Sun from 1 pm to 3 pm
- Twitter: Wednesday, 3 pm or from 5 pm to 6 pm
- LinkedIn: Mid-week, Tues, Wed & Thurs, 7 am to 8 am & 5 pm to 6 pm (commuting hours)
- Instagram: Monday & Thursday, between 8 am and 9 am
It’s not an exact science, but this should be enough to get you started.
One of the biggest things to remember is that sharing on social media as a writer may require multiple posts. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn on several occasions, just remember to spread it out! It only begins to look spammy if you do it several times in one day.
This can also be an effective way to try out the different posting times! Tweet out three times on different days and at different times to see which does the best, then use that data for more effective posts the next time. You can do this on most social media platforms.
Okay, so it’s a lot to take in. And you are a writer, not a social media whizz. But, a lot of writers miss out on vital audiences as a result of being social media shy and not promoting their own content. For better reach, you must learn to promote your writing effectively on social media!
It may start off small, but the more confident you become and the higher your follower count, the more benefit you will see in regards to your writing. It could lead to more blog views, new clients and even that book deal you’ve been trying to snag! You never know until you try.