Four Mindful Strategies That Will Make You a Social Media Pro
As a writer, having a regular social media presence can be just as important as the actual process of writing.
Nowadays there is so much out there to consume, which means you and your ideas can get lost in the clutter.
Finding your audience through social media can help your book get sales, your blog article get clicks, or your screenplay get sold.
It’s one of those necessary evils of the trade; you don’t have to like it for it to be good for your writing career.
That being said, social media is a tool like any other—you have to know how to use it in order to actually benefit from it.
Here are four mindful strategies that will get you started on social media and help you build a presence, create engagement, and find your audience:
1. Start with one outlet.
The biggest mistake I see writers make is, after going to a conference or reading an advice article, they feel pressure to create a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Goodreads, YouTube, and even Snapchat in one day.
Then they have no idea what to do with any of them and all of the accounts just sit there for weeks, if not months.
While it’s not necessarily bad to have an account for each outlet, when you’re first starting out, it can be overwhelming to adapt to each one’s unique interface.
So choose the outlet you gravitate toward the most.
If you love photos, go with Instagram.
If you’ve been on Facebook for years and it’s the only one that makes sense, stick with it.
If you enjoy sharing random thoughts and links, choose Twitter.
In time, you can become active on every single one of those accounts, but the truth is, even if you did, it wouldn’t necessarily matter.
If you can commit to one outlet, learn its ins and outs, and create engagement, you are way ahead of the game.
2. Relate each post to your brand messaging.
Branding can sometimes feel impossible as a writer, especially if you are, for instance, a doctor who writes romance novels, or if you plan on writing in many different genres.
But I’ll bet if you think of all the things you are, it’s a way shorter list than all the things you aren’t.
Decide on a few phrases, keywords, or ideas that relate to who you are and what you write.
Then make sure that every time you post, it has to do with those ideas.
This is how you will begin to find your audience.
3. Use hashtags.
Hashtags can be an elusive part of social media, no matter which outlet you’re using.
Hashtags are those pound symbols people put at the end of their posts: #
While many people use them ironically (like the now-infamous #blessed), their purpose is to help people connect, to make it easier to search for posts related to a specific topic, and to make posts visible to a wider audience.
When used strategically, hashtags hold the key to gaining a following of people who actually care about what you have to say, and not just family and friends who, while they do love you, aren’t your true fan base.
Choose one to three phrases or words that relate to your branding and include them at the end of every post. (I, for instance, would use: #mindfulwriter #sustainableproductivity #writingcoach)
Then choose three to five more general phrases or words that relate to that specific post. (If I were to post this blog, I might use: #writingadvice #mindfulness #socialmedia)
Those more general hashtags will make you discoverable to a wider audience, which will ultimately help you develop a niche fan base. (Not every person searching for writing advice will be interested in using social media mindfully, but the ones who are will probably click on the article and may even subscribe to my newsletter.)
4. Quality over quantity.
It can be daunting to come up with ideas of what to post on social media, especially when juggling all your real life to-dos and obligations.
My general rule of thumb is: if you don’t have anything interesting to say or it doesn’t relate back to your branding, don’t post it.
If you put one hundred percent effort into one post every month or two, you are far better off than putting twenty percent effort into five posts per month.
Yes, visibility matters, but engagement matters more.
As long as you're also interacting with other users via their posts and comments, you can post less and still work on building your following.
These four strategies are sure to set you on the path of sustainable social media use.
If you have any questions or have other helpful tips, please leave a comment below!