Having a social media presence isn’t easy, especially when you’re an introvert in the first place. But being part of the online writing and reading community doesn’t have to be scary or tiring.
Lots of modern advice for writers will stress the importance of having a blog, an author website, or being across social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram being the main channels).
And while that’s valid advice for those looking to gain an audience online, it can be intimidating to be a part of the online sphere. It can feel a bit like standing awkwardly at a party with a group of people you don’t know. How do you break into the conversation? How do you do this ‘social’ thing?
1. You don’t need to talk to people if you don’t want to
If you’re familiar with ‘lurking’ on social media and don’t want to jump directly into conversations, you can still be an active community member by:
- Liking posts
- Sharing posts
- Following users
- Leave an encouraging, close-ended comment
These kinds of interactions are a good place to start off in social media and be comfortable with the community.
Not all comments need to be conversations. A simple ‘Congratulations!’ on a post about someone’s book launch, or a ‘Good job!’ about someone’s latest writing session, can be enough to be active without generating further responses.
2. Remember that your interactions can make a difference
Sometimes you’re about to retweet or reply to a post and you stop yourself because a little voice tells you that it’s not really important or that nobody really cares. Well, that’s rubbish.
Every interaction on social media is important. It’s called ‘engagement’. And lots of channels (like Facebook and Instagram) use engagement levels to determine what gets shown first in feeds.
So if you want to support your fellow readers, writers and creators, you should engage with their posts as much as you can. It’s good social karma! And don’t worry, most users with plenty of followers aren’t monitoring every single like they get. You’re still pretty anonymous 😉
3. Turn your everyday actions into original content
You should be making your own ‘original content’ if you want to break through the social scene and form your own audience. This is important if you’re an author or blogger promoting yourself to a fanbase.
Think about your everyday actions (reading, writing, editing, walking to the shops) as a means to create original content. It could be an Instagram story of what you’re reading at the moment or it could be a quick tweet about how many words you’ve written today.
Get used to analysing your actions in the moment and ask yourself, ‘would this be good on social media?’
It can feel strange and elitist to assume everyone cares about what you’re doing right now, but the truth is: people do care. People are nosy. People love to look into others’ lives. That’s what social media is!
4. Understand the life cycle of posts on different channels
No two social media channels are the same. That means they all have different requirements and life cycles. Some content will stick around a while and some will disappear as quickly as you posted it!
- Facebook is good for ‘slow burning’ posts and creating discussions through comments. Once a day is a good amount to post (or even less!).
- Twitter is great for quick snippets and ‘hi-bye’ interactions. Post to Twitter as much as you want. Seriously. Tweets don’t live very long at all!
- Instagram is somewhere between Facebook and Twitter, and ideally you can post up to three times a day. But remember to actively interact with other ‘grammers’ posts because Instagram’s algorithm favors those with high engagement (which can make it a bit of an exhausting channel to be honest!).
5. Use analytics to your advantage
It might be comforting to know that (depending on the life cycle of your content), not everyone is going to even see your posts. You’ll be mostly invisible, even when you’re trying not to be.
That fact makes it easier to gain confidence with posting in the community, because you’re really a small fish in a big, big pond. So don’t sweat the small stuff. Like and share to your heart’s content.
Keeping that in mind, it’s important to check your channel’s analytics. Statistical data is key to getting yourself seen (or not seen until you’re ready to be), with information like:
- The views and engagement of your posts
- What countries your audiences are from
- The best and worst time of day to post
Official Facebook pages have built-in stats, and Twitter has free analytics in desktop mode. Instagram has analytics available if you switch to a ‘business’ account (which is totally free and easy to do), and same goes for Pinterest!