My Social Media Quest
Some social media are harder to crack than others, but they all come with rewards
Being active on social media is not just about building the following, selling your books, and promote your writing. When you start thinking about it in terms of connecting and finding interesting people and art, you might also start enjoying spending time there a lot more.
It’s not easy to get noticed, though, so I’m sharing my personal result here to make those of you who are struggling with getting followers feel better about your achievements (or the lack of them). For unknown writers, this sure can be a challenge. Plus, it takes a lot of consistent work.
For me, the toughest social media to break into were (and still are) Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, and to some degree Pinterest, while the easiest turned out to be Facebook, LinkedIn, and recently Instagram.
Let me start with the toughest.
I’ve only started using Tumblr about six weeks ago and find it quite challenging. At first, I felt like a ghost there since no one cared one bit for my posts and existence. I got zero likes, zero responses, and zero followers. As you can imagine, that is not the nicest feeling and can be pretty disheartening.
Posting on Tumblr as a newbie is like attending a party where everyone ignores you and you have no clue how to get their attention and start a conversation.
After over a month of this torture, I finally managed to get one follower and even this one came from Medium (thank you Adam).
I’m still hanging on, though, because Tumblr, apart from the above-mentioned distress, turned out to be exactly what I was looking for — a nice and simple blog/website where I can easily collect and showcase all of the interesting posts and pics I find online, in addition to my posts. I love that.
Tumblr is also an interesting combination of a blog and social media account with a specific set of users. There are lots of artists there and since I’m also looking for someone who could create illustrations for my next book, that turned out to be perfect for my needs too.
Now I only need to figure out how to get the followers!
Google+ is another social media account I found challenging. I cannot for the life of me reach even as few as 100 followers. I had a bit more success with my collections, though, and that’s a great thing about Google+ — you can create different collections devoted to specific interests.
That’s also how you can find your followers faster. You do, however, need to post regularly. I don’t and that’s clear from the abysmal numbers below.
I was tempted to stop using Google+ altogether until the stats showed that my posts get about the same number of reads from the posts I share on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. I guess the Google+ users just don’t like to share and follow that much, which is fine as long as they care to read the posts.
It took me ages and 2,000+ tweets to get to over 400 followers on Twitter. The most annoying and disheartening part of the Twitter experience were the bots and apps some people use. These will automatically follow you in hope of getting a follow-back only to unfollow you later on. It sucks.
That’s why the number of followers on Twitter can fluctuate wildly. When you get a sudden burst of follows and/or unfollows out of the blue, that’s probably due to some stupid app doing it so don’t let that throw you off.
On the other hand, though, my true and real followers are more engaged on Twitter than on other platforms and that alone is worth the effort.
Many of the followers on Twitter come from Medium (and vice versa) so it’s highly advisable to have an active Twitter account if you are also using Medium.
Unless you have lots of pretty pics and witty quotes, growing the following on Pinterest can be slow. Comparing to Tumblr, though, it’s still fast as lightning.
The best part of it is that you can keep getting new followers even if you haven’t been active for months (like me, for instance). While I wasn’t active, people kept reposting some of my old pins.
Pinterest thus takes less effort in return for a longer lasting effects than most other platforms. It doesn’t hurt to have an account there and you don’t have to invest that much time into maintaining it, so why not indeed.
Also, you can create many different boards and for someone as eclectic as me that’s perfect. That way you can test which of your niche interests (boards) gain the most followers and then focus on those.
Like most, I’ve been using Facebook far longer than any other social media account so it’s not surprising that that’s where I have the largest following. Also, most people nowadays have and use Facebook which makes it easy to connect with people you already know.
The best part of Facebook, at least from a writer’s point of view, are groups.
I’m a member of Mark Dawson’s SPF Community and Derek Murphy’s Guerrilla Publishing groups. These have proven to be most useful, for one can get a lot of timely information and news related to self-publishing that way.
A great think about LinkedIn is that it doesn’t take much time to maintain it after you set up your account and fill in all the information (that, though, can take a bit). Once you’re done with that, you only need to share an occasional post suitable for the platform. In general, this means not just every post, but the kind of content related to the business side of things.
The main point of LinkedIn is to be there so that people who are looking for someone with your expertise (e.g. writing) in a certain area can find you. That’s how I already got a gig with no extra effort.
It didn’t take much, and it was well worth the investment.
I’ve only started posting on Instagram so I’ll leave it at that. I do, however, already have about 100 followers and comparing to my struggle with Tumblr that’s been easy.
I’m still trying to develop my approach to see what works best on this highly specific type of platform, though. It’s growing in popularity, so I will definitely keep it up.
Underestimating the time and effort it takes to grow your social media presence and following can be disheartening. Taking the time to invest in it, though, is how you find the readers, news, inspiration, and people you might end up working with.
There, of course, is also the problem of limited hours in a day and that’s why many writers hate doing this or just focus on one or two accounts. But you don’t have to do everything at once. It took me quite a while to open and start experimenting with all these accounts in addition to Medium.
It’s imperative for self-published writers to be familiar with these options and learn how to use them. Even though you might not end up being active on all of them, it would be good to at least understand how they work and what options they give you.
Want to learn about book promotion? Preorder ‘You Self-Published, Now What? How to Promote Your Book’ ($0.99).
Mateja started to write short stories at the age of ten and later became a freelance journalist, radio personality, and explorer of the inner worlds. Her life resembles a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs and some pretty wild turns. Among other things, her car was destroyed by tanks and she survived several brushes with death as well as a complete destruction of her former way of life and career. Mateja graduated in psychology from Arizona State University and is now a writer and transformational guide. Connect with Mateja on LinkedIn or Patreon.