We’ve all heard the advice that building your social media platform as a writer is super important, and we all know that we’re supposed to have a strong presence on social media if we ever want to catch the eye of new readers. This holds true whether we’ve decided on independent publishing, traditional publishing, or we’re still researching publishing options. The moment you start looking around online at what you’re supposed to be doing as a writer who is serious about launching their books into the world, pretty much the first thing you see is: Start building your social media platform now.
This is good advice, but it also falls short of what most writers need. Outside of cultivating a “strong” presence on social media, what else do writers need to consider when building that presence? Here are 3 things that I’d wish I had known when I was just starting out, and that I also believe most writers overlook when building their social media platform.
If You Don’t Really Want to Do It, You Won’t Do It for Very Long
This is a big one. I see so many writers make a profile on a social media site they hate, or commit to blogging once a week, every week, when there’s nothing they want to do less. While it is important to persevere in your marketing efforts even on the days that feel not-so-ideal, it’s even more important to be realistic about the kind of energy you’re bringing to those efforts. If you strongly dislike or flat-out hate something, you pushing yourself to continue to put effort into it is just not sustainable. And then it ends up being a total waste of your time.
Solution: Cherry-pick your social media options and only choose what feels relatively good to you. It doesn’t have to send you over the moon, but it can’t be something that you have to get over a serious amount of dread and dislike in order to force yourself to do it. You should feel at least a moderate amount of curiosity and interest in whatever social media option you’re looking at trying out, and then make sure you check in on how you feel all along the way. If you get into territory of heavy dread or boredom, it’s okay to scarp that option and come up with something new.
You Can’t Do Everything
I see this one a lot with writers who have just launched their first book. Along with getting the book out into the world comes a pressure to be on every single social media network and be producing lots of content too. But when you’re trying to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram every week, instead of more book sales for writers, the main thing that happens is that they end up with way less time for writing. That’s because being in a constant cycle of posting, liking, responding, and checking notifications tends to be a huge creative energy zapper.
Solution: Pick two to three of your favorite social networks and only concentrate on those. At the same time, be conscious of how much time you’re spending on social media each week. There’s no need for writers to be on social media all day, or even every day. You can execute a solid marketing strategy on social media while only checking on your two to three favorite networks a couple times a week. Get in, post your stuff, respond to some people, and then get out. Done.
Sometimes Big Value Can’t Be Translated into Measurable Results
This is one I see with writers who are dutifully plugging away at their marketing plan, but feeling very little joy in it. They’re showing up on schedule and posting regular content, but they’re also feeling lackluster about it and vacillate between being slightly obsessive about checking numbers after they’ve posted something, or slightly discouraged when those numbers don’t seem to be going up very much. This makes them feel like they’re stuck in a frustrating place of just not being able to move the needle, and they don’t understand why. That’s when they come to me in a coaching session and ask, “Why am I even on [insert social media network here]? Is this even working?”
Solution: To solve this feeling of frustration and stuckness, we move our focus off of the numbers (the measurable results) and onto the possibilities (the immeasurable results). The point of any social media network is that it is, in fact, social. That means you have the opportunity to meet other people there. And while a lot of those people won’t be on your wavelength, if you open yourself to the energy of possibility, you can also meet people who are really awesome. It’s those relationships that are built over time—and that lead to mutual encouragement, collaboration, and opportunity—that are the “immeasurable results” part of the equation.
Success on social media doesn’t come from doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing, or doing what everyone else is doing. It comes from you listening to your own instincts and tapping into your own self-knowledge about what makes you feel good and what doesn’t, and then listening to that information and taking action to follow it.
As long as you do what feels right to you on social media, you really can’t fail.
Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ Writer, The INFJ Revolution, and the creator of Intuitive Writing, an online video course for INFJ and INFP writers who struggle with traditional writing methods. You can get a free copy of her book on creative marketing for writers by signing up for her newsletter HERE.