12 Reasons for Writers to Love Facebook

facebook

True Confession: For me, Facebook was love at first post.

Apparently I am not alone. Facebook reigns as Social Media King, with 750 million active users. Here are a dozen reasons why Facebook is this writer’s Social Networking BFF.

1. Cure for Isolation: I am a relational gal and it is no secret that writing can be an isolating business. Facebook is a 24 Hour Kitchen Table “Come and Go” Conversation that never ends. I can connect to other writers who are also trapped at home on a deadline. In fact, Facebook is a virtual water cooler for thousands who work at home in their PJs but enjoy a little human connection with their coffee break.

2. Primes My Writing Pump: I read Facebook the way some read the morning paper (before newspapers all but disappeared). I like to peruse my friends’ thoughts while I sip my coffee. Writing a comment here, a question there, gets my writer’s juices flowing. Before long I fill in my status, which is much less daunting than writing a first sentence on an empty page. Interacting on Facebook eases me into a writing frame of mind.

3. Testing Material: Since I write humor, Facebook is a great place to test comedic material. If I get lots of good comments, I cut and past the post into a “Humor File” to use later in a blog or book.

4. Finding Topics that Hit a Nerve: Recently my daughter wrote a FB status about the pros and cons of when to share news of a pregnancy. More than 300 passionate responses from readers later, Rachel knew she’d stumbled upon a hot topic for her blog (www.thenourishedmama.com).

5. Easy Daily Journal: Everyone knows writers should journal daily. But what with all the social media we are now required to do to build our platform, who has time to journal, too? It’s a comfort to me that I have recorded the highlights of my experiences in a brief (publicly read) journal over the last 5 years… on Facebook. Romance novelist Eloisa James wrote an entire memoir (Paris in Love) based on a year of Facebook posts! Because the posts were so well-written, to my surprise, the book was hard to put down.

6. Gathering Ideas from Readers: In her bestselling book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin sprinkles short tips and thoughts from her blog readers’ comments throughout the book. This added interest and variety to her book, especially when presented in bullet-point format.

7. Finding Original Quotes, Quips, and Anecdotes From Others: I wrote a couple of Facebook posts during a vacation when my husband and I both caught the flu. An author friend, writing a book on marriage, asked if she could use my posts as anecdotal material. I was happy to share; and she was gracious to attribute the quotes to me and mention my latest books as a reference in her book. A win-win!

8. Practicing “Writing Tight”: Today’s internet-skimming readers don’t have patience for long, meandering prose. Writing short FB posts is terrific practice in the art of writing tight. Today’s writers must know how to nutshell and extract worthwhile thoughts with as few words as possible. This past week I experienced two incredibly fun hours at a birthday party with four of my grandsons. Rather than bore my friends with a blow-by-blow account of my adorable grandchildren, I posted: “I went to a birthday party at a skating rink today and did the hokey pokey with four of my grandsons. And that’s what it’s all about.”

9. Facebook Friends are Faithful Fans: I’ve discovered Facebook friends to be faithful supporters of my blogs and books, generous in helping get the word out by re-posting press releases, book sales, and good reviews.

10. Networking: You never know how a Facebook relationship can lead to opportunities for writing or marketing your book. My daughter struck up a friendship with another prolific blogger who asked Rachel to guest post for a popular teacher’s blog. Rachel did so well that she was offered a paying gig to write regularly for http://www.weareteachers.com. We’ve also landed radio, podcast, and other web interviews because someone in media saw and liked our posts, blogs, or book topic on Facebook.

11. Random Polls: In our upcoming book Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness and a Full Night’s Sleep (Zondervan, January 2015), my daughter (and co-author) wanted to address the Top 10 Everyday Stressors Women Face. So I posted the question, “What are the daily things that slow you down, trip you up, and steal your peace?” We gathered dozens of replies and categorized them into 10 areas that formed the basis for an entire book.

12. A Word for the Weary: How often have I received the perfect word of encouragement, comfort, or advice from someone on Facebook, exactly when I needed it? I’ve also had the privilege of regularly encouraging others via Facebook. For those who welcome it, Facebook connections can be a true ministry of words, whether or not you are professionally published.

How have you used Facebook to reach your readers?

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LinkedIn for Writers (Build a Social Media Platform)

Linked In for Writers via @janalynvoigt for Wordserve Water Cooler

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When deciding where to focus online, most writers veer toward Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Developing a presence at those sites can be a great idea. However, with 250 million users worldwide, LinkedIn carries a clout all its own. Chances are you think of LinkedIn as a network for job seekers, and while it does function in that capacity, it offers other benefits to writers.

Reach Readers

Although LinkedIn’s focus is business-to-business, don’t discount it as an avenue to reach readers. I personally experienced a spike in book sales after putting the word out on LinkedIn about DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven 1). The link I posted had a lot of shares, which means my network kicked in to help. As members of my network shared my update to their networks, they increased its impact exponentially, creating additional exposure for my book. This is social networking at its best. Just remember that giving more than you receive will help you tap its power. (It’s also a great way to live.)

Extend Your Network

LinkedIn allows you to introduce yourself to those in the networks of your network. This can be a powerful tool for growing your sphere of influence. Be careful about approaching agents and editors this way, though. It’s best to send them a contact request after an in-person meeting.

Give and Receive Endorsements

LinkedIn lets you easily endorse people you respect for their professional skills. This also means that others can do the same for you. While you can request that others endorse you, use this tool wisely. If people don’t know you or your work, don’t send them an endorsement request.

Discover Who Views Your Profile

It’s fun to click a sidebar link and discover who has recently visited your profile. While those who upgrade to a professional account receive more information, even those who use a free plan can see a few names. As an example, recent visitors to the LinkedIn profile for Janalyn Voigt included a librarian, another author and speaker, a digital publisher, a barbershop manager, and a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. In the past I’ve also caught a film producer and agent checking out my profile. These people can represent contacts you may want to follow up with.

Link Your Blog

LinkedIn’s blog link tool enables you to feed your blog to your LinkedIn profile. This helps you brand while giving your blog additional reach.

Automatically Update from Twitter

Feed your Twitter updates to LinkedIn. Go to settings to enable this feature.

Conduct Polls

Use the LinkedIn polls application to gain insights that can help you determine what to write, how to promote, and where to find your target audience. You can integrate your LinkedIn polls to Facebook or Twitter and also embed them in your website.

Improve Your Website’s SEO

Be sure to include a link to your website and/or blog in your profile. Garnering links back to your blog from high-authority sites helps raise its visibility in search engines. A good search-engine ranking means that when people search the internet for keywords within your topic, your site shows as close as possible to the first page of their results. This is known as search engine optimization, or SEO.

Focus on Business

One of my author friends centers his online social networking at LinkedIn more than at other sites. When I asked him why he prefers LinkedIn, he answered that it’s all business. Since he’s had to break himself of an online gaming habit, this makes sense for him. LinkedIn’s business focus extends even further than not featuring games, and that’s good news for writers in a lot of ways. On LinkedIn you don’t “friend” or “follow” people, you add them into your network. Having an established network means that you can connect on a strictly-business level with (to name a few) publishing professionals (such as agents and editors), experts in fields you need to research, technical experts who design websites or make book trailers, and other authors willing to cross-promote.

Join Relevant Groups

LinkedIn is another place to connect with others on topics of interest to your author brand. You can also participate in groups of writers to talk shop. As an example, I’ve used LinkedIn groups to compare notes with other writers in an effort to discover where to focus promotional efforts. A simple search on LinkedIn will turn up groups to consider joining. If you’re new at writing, you may want to check out a post that gives details on 20 sites of interest to aspiring authors.

Follow Publishing Houses and Agencies

Use the follow companies LinkedIn feature to keep tabs on publishing houses and agencies. As a bonus, you can see how you are connected to these companies, which can give you contact leads.

How to Proceed with LinkedIn

Start by creating a free account, and then fill in your profile completely, using targeted keywords (see the section, above, on improving website SEO). Once you’ve done this, send invitations to connect with all your contacts and concentrate on growing your network in the ways mentioned throughout this post. I’m sure you’ll agree that LinkedIn is a powerhouse for writers.

Should You Be On Pinterest? (Building a Social Media Platform)

Pinterest

The trouble with being a writer is that you have to write. That would seem desirable, but the writing I’m talking about goes beyond pounding out the next scene in my novel. Since becoming a published novelist, I’ve submitted–at the request of agents, editors, bloggers, and marketing personnel–guest posts, interview responses, pitch sentences, two-sentence blurbs, query letters, proposals, sample chapters, material to use for promotion, back-cover copy, tag lines, book club questions, and of course myriad versions of my biography. Add to this the need to devise creative updates for social networks, and you begin to see why a writer might groan.

Enter Pinterest, a social media platform that allows members to network with pictures more than words. Tweet This! I love writing and (go figure) even have a fondness for words, but I find Pinterest a breath of fresh air. As a virtual bulletin board where users pin images, Pinterest frees me to express my creativity without having to hurt my brain with so much thinking. Since women primarily frequent Pinterest, spending more time on it than on other networks, it provides another benefit. Book buyers are predominantly female. (This varies by genre.)

With 4 million active daily visitors and as the fastest-growing social media site (now second only to Facebook), Pinterest is a site many writers should include in their social media platforms. Tweet This! Since I began to take Pinterest seriously, it’s moved to the number one referrer of traffic to my websites.

I won’t go into detail on how to sign up, since Pinterest makes it easy. If you want advice, visit the Pinterest Help Center and enter “how to sign up” in the search box. I suggest you set up or convert to a Pinterest business account. This will allow you access to account analytics once you verify your website for Pinterest.

Be sure and include your author picture in your profile. Also set up a branded bio. This is a little challenging since you should make it brief so it will be read. Every word needs to pull its weight. To see an example, visit the Pinterest page for Janalyn Voigt. While you’re there, take a look at my boards to help inspire your own.

Pinterest Goodies

After you’ve created your account, filled in your profile information, and verified your website, you should visit Pinterest’s Goodies page. There you’ll find instructions on how to:

  • install the Pin It button (for Google Chrome) to your bookmark bar.
  • drag the Pinterest Bookmarklet to your toolbar (click the red link under the Pin It button copy in the sentence that says: “Looking for the Pinterest Bookmarklet?”).
  • add a Pin It button to your site.
  • make a widget for your site.

Creating Your Boards:

On your profile page, you’ll be able to create boards. Here are some suggestions:

  • Name a board for your blog or website.
  • Create a board with the title of your book(s).
  • Name a board for the genre(s) you write.
  • Think up boards that will reinforce your brand.
  • Design boards to attract your target audience.

Pin Three Ways

  1. Click the Pinterest bookmarklet while at a website that grants permission to pin its images and select the image you want to pin.
  2. Under your image in the Pinterest toolbar you’ll find a dropdown menu. Click “Add Pin” to upload an image from your computer or enter the URL of a picture you have permission to pin.
  3. Use the Pin It button on a website.

What to Pin

  • Pin your own original images with a link back to your site.
  • Pin images from sites that state they allow pinning to Pinterest.
  • Pin public-domain images.
  • Create and pin your own collages using sites like PicMonkey.com and your own images.

What to Do on Pinterest

  • Follow other people. You can choose to follow all boards or an individual board. As with all effective social networking, be sincere. Tweet This! When you make the effort to follow people, some will follow you back.
  • Repin from boards of people you trust. Always verify that the link goes where the image indicates it will and that the original site gave permission to pin.
  • Like pins others post. This brings you to their attention.
  • Comment on pins. To comment, click on a pin and the comment box will be in the enlarged image that displays.

Pinterest and Copyright

First, I am not a lawyer and don’t mean the following in any way as legal advice, but here is how I handle myself on Pinterest. I’m careful when pinning images that I don’t own to make sure the website gives explicit permission to pin to Pinterest in its copyright policy. I don’t take the existence of a Pin It button as permission. I’m aware that even if I own a photo, some things like private works of art or images of people who have not signed a release for me to post their photos, for example, are off limits. I prefer to take my own photographs and create my own infographics. When in doubt, I don’t pin.

Pinterest is a relatively painless way to network that is actually a lot of fun. Tweet This! It can help you keep track of research while simultaneously drawing readers to your books.

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Related Posts

Build a Social Media Platform: The First Step May Surprise You

4 Pillars to Build an Effective Social Media Platform

Build a Social Media Platform: Your Facebook Page

To Tweet or Not to Tweet (The Social Media Platform Question)

To Tweet or Not to Tweet (The Social Media Platform Question)

twitter-bird-light-bgs

Twitter is a top social network and one of the sites a prospective agent or publisher is likely to check when evaluating a writer’s online presence. This factor alone makes it worth investigating, but there’s more. Once you understand how to use it properly, Twitter can drive traffic to your site and customers to your books.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an information network with real-time immediacy. Trending stories often break first on Twitter. It’s also a social networking platform where people from all over the world post short updates. Tweets, as these updates are known, take little time to compose. Your wall, made up of brief Tweets, is quick to scan. On Twitter you can create lists of people and make them public or private. It’s possible to join ongoing group conversations (like #AmWriting or #WriteTip). If you have a Facebook account, this should all sound familiar. Think of Twitter as “Facebook Light.”

Because of the character limitations (just 140 characters per Tweet), you don’t need to spend a lot of time maintaining Twitter. Tweets cover, among other things, personal updates, conversations, commentaries on something in the news, interesting posts, original limericks, and even entire books painstakingly Tweeted in numbered, sequential order. When it comes to composing Twitter updates, you’re only limited by your imagination.

Tweets can be prescheduled via social media dashboards like Tweetdeck, Social Oomph, Buffer, and Hootsuite. I have used all of these at one time or another and now use them all for different features. There’s also Twuffer, which I have not tried, but many people swear by it. Which you choose is really a matter of preference. I suggest you start out with Hootsuite, since its interface is easiest for the beginner. As a bonus, you can schedule updates for Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn through Hootsuite as well. I use the URL shortener at Bitly.com and also via Buffer because these sites give me the ability to track analytics for the links I post.

Twitter’s about page is informative and even suggests various ways to use it. The brief video at http://fly.twitter.com is well worth watching. There’s also a set of instructions helping businesses learn to build a community at https://business.twitter.com. If you’re a mobile user, go to https://twitter.com/download for the apps you’ll need. Clearly, how much you get out of Twitter depends on you.

Getting Started on Twitter?

I won’t go into a lot of detail here because Twitter’s help topics are so awesome you should have no trouble finding your way. Learn how to set up your account here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/100990-how-to-sign-up-on-twitter.

For branding purposes and to present yourself as professional, I suggest you use your author name as your handle. Capitalize your first and last name for better readability. My twitter handle, for example, is @JanalynVoigt rather than @janalynvoigt.

Be sure to upload a profile image. Many people, myself included, won’t follow accounts without a profile picture because this is a telltale sign of a spammer.

Don’t be afraid to poke around Twitter and familiarize yourself with its many aspects. Third-party Twitter applications abound, but don’t get carried away discovering them or you may burn out on Twitter before you start. It’s best to start simple. Also, be careful when it comes to third-party applications. They shouldn’t need your email address or Twitter password to function. After you’ve granted permission to an application to access your account, if you don’t intend to use it again, it’s always a good idea to go into your Twitter settings through the gear icon on your profile page, select apps from the menu on the left, and revoke its access to your account.

What if you just don’t “get” Twitter?

I truly understand the confusion of not knowing how to relate to others on Twitter. It took me several years to truly grasp how to use this particular social platform. I might not have kept trying except that much of my website traffic came from updates about my blog posts that I made to Twitter. I only wish I’d discovered sooner that the character of my interactions, rather than the nature of Twitter, was the problem. Accusing Twitter for my failure to connect through it was akin to blaming a forest fire on a careless camper’s match. For those who persevere, Twitter can prove quite a powerhouse.

I didn’t consciously decide to use Twitter as an outlet to promote my writing without investing anything of myself in my followers. In fact, I tried periodically to get people to “talk to me,” but I wasn’t successful. I first had to figure out some basics, and I’m happy to share them with you.

To get people to talk to me on Twitter, I:

  • joined hashtag conversations. These sound complicated but aren’t. Twitter communications can seem disjointed, so hashtag conversations arose out of the need to organize tweets into cohesive group conversations. To see how this works, type #AmWriting (a popular hashtag conversation for writers) into the search box at http://Search.Twitter.com. (If you are logged into your account, you can just use the search box at the top of the screen.) To add to the conversation, simply include #AmWriting in your own Tweet. Taking part in hashtag conversations helps you find people who are active on Twitter.
  • paid attention to who followed me and followed them them back if possible. Several good applications for managing your Twitter followers exist, including Friend or Follow and Manage Flitter. These sites let you easily do things like follow people back and unfollow those who aren’t following you (if you wish). I don’t always follow those who follow me. Some are on Twitter to promote businesses that don’t interest me or are engaged in activities I don’t want to endorse. If we’ll have nothing in common to talk about, I don’t follow back. Engagement is far more important than large numbers of followers. 
  • tweeted blog posts written by others and included their Twitter handle (user name preceded by the @ sign–mine is @JanalynVoigt). This prevents your Tweet with a link from being considered spam and notifies persons with the handles you include that you mentioned them. Often those we do favors for will look for ways to return those favors, but I don’t do it for that reason or look for a return. I Tweet relevant links of interest to my followers to keep them engaged with me.
  • retweeted (Tweeted again) posts of interest to my niche. This helps me interact with others, feed interesting updates to my followers, and gain new followers.
  • consciously following other people I knew. I proactively searched out my friends who are on Twitter. We’re already invested in and support one another, and I know these people will talk to me.
  • mentioned people and thanked them when they mentioned me. Twitter has #FollowFriday, also known as #FF, that’s gotten a bit out of hand, but if used right is a viable way to recommend people you want to help and gain followers as others help you. Basically, every Friday people on Twitter recommend some of their favorite followers by listing their Twitter handles with the #FF or #FollowFriday hashtags included in the Tweet. Using the @ symbol before a person’s handle causes the name to become a link that takes your followers who click it to that person’s profile. You don’t have to use the #FollowFriday hashtag to follow people, though. You can mention them whenever you want.
  • when time allowed, I spent a few minutes looking over websites and commenting about them to people who interested me. This communicates that I’m interested in the person, and sometimes I find material to Tweet to my followers.
  • began scheduling regular updates. Don’t get carried away posting updates, but most people post too seldom rather than too often. I try to update my Twitter profile using prescheduled Tweets once an hour. We’ve discussed scheduling updates, but you can also automatically feed blog posts to Twitter through Twitter Feed and Mail Chimp.

There’s truth to the idea that those who aren’t using Twitter can’t understand it and those on Twitter can’t explain it. To decide whether Twitter is or isn’t for you, why not give it a try? 

Build a Social Media Platform: Your Facebook Page

Face book

As the world’s largest social networking site, Facebook is an essential plank in most authors’ platforms. However, its effectiveness depends on how it is used. Many writers try to use their profiles for business pages, a function they were never designed to support. Even if it were not against Facebook’s policies, using a profile for promotion is not effective anyway. There’s truth to the idea that friends aren’t geared to purchase from friends.

Converting a Profile to a Page

Fortunately, it is possible to convert a profile to a business page with a simple tool Facebook provides. Having recently migrated my Facebook profile to a business page, I offer a detailed perspective on this process in Convert Your Facebook Profile to a Page (A Step-By-Step Guide). Would I go back to a profile if I could? No. I’ve received more engagement and am taken more seriously. As a bonus, I no longer have to deal with unwanted game or event invitations.

Signing up for Facebook and Creating a Page

Signing up for Facebook is a straightforward matter. If you need help with this, go here: http://www.facebook.com/help/188157731232424/. Instructions for building a page are here: https://www.facebook.com/business/build. The category that Author or Writer is found under is Artist, Band or Public Figure, however if you do more than write on a professional level, you may want to choose a different category, like Public Figure (under the same category). If you create your page around your author name rather than one of your book titles, you won’t have start all over again building an audience for each new release. Also, leaving out an accompanying description (like author) keeps your options open should you want to add another professional activity (such as speaking) at a future date.

Your Facebook Page

Banner: To promote your brand, its best to post a cover image that resembles your website banner.

Profile Picture: Use a quality image for your profile picture, preferably a headshot.

Tabs: Wildfire, Tabsite and Iwipa are applications that let you install customized tabs to give you among other things a landing page, event manager, contest tab, blog feed, and even fan-gated content you post for subscribers only. To learn more visit http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/top-10-facebook-apps-for-building-custom-pages-tabs/. Mail Chimp integrations allows users to post a sign-up box for your email list right in a Facebook tab.

Content you post on your page should draw readers who will sign up for your email list. Post updates about your writing progress, appearances, author news, contests, giveaways, and book news. Depending on your brand, you may also want to post snippets from your research, recipes, book reviews, or videos. Whatever you decide, make sure it lines up with your brand and inspires some sort of action (such as entering a contest, signing up for your newsletter, liking a post, or visiting your website). Make the time you spend posting to Facebook count toward your goals.

Post Scheduler: It’s possible and desirable to schedule posts to publish at a time you specify. This can be a great time-saver. Just click the clock icon below the update window.

EdgeRank: That mysterious algorithm by which Facebook determines how many of your followers see a post is based largely on engagement. One good way to boost your engagment and boost an update’s edgerank is to post pictures or videos.

Wall: A page’s wall functions just like a profile wall. Like some other pages while posting as your page and those posts will show up in your wall feed, which you can find by clicking the Home tab in the upper right menu. 

Engagement: Commenting on other pages is an important way to gain followers for your own. A good strategy is to find other authors with similar readerships and comment on their posts. Provided you don’t self-promote and say something sufficiently interesting, some of their followers may become interested in you and follow you back to your page. Doing this actually helps the other author gain edgerank and engagement and its possible to share audiences to mutual advantage.

Another way to keep up the engagement on your page is to post consistently. Also, your followers will notice your absence and respond accordingly, so try to show up for at least a few minutes every day. You can set your notifications to alert you by email when someone comments on your page.

Analytics: In your page’s admin panel you’ll see a tab with a graph showing both your reach and audience engagement levels. Click See All to view the full analytics for your page. Pay attention to which posts have more virality and adjust your offerings accordingly, or else use the engage tips above to find people interested in what you offer. Adjusting your page’s reach to the ideal audience for you is a trial-by-error process.

Promoting from Your Page

While it is possible to promote from your page, you should do so cautiously. Spamming doesn’t work and will only cause you to lose followers. Be subtle and lure rather than pursue readers.

I received a bit of free advertising money from Facebook, so I decided to try out a couple of ads. My results indicate that the same easy-does-it guidelines apply to ads, too. The campaign I ran as an inline ad with a post of my book video did far better than the promoted posts ad with a cover of my book and a promotional blurb.

My observation is that people are on Facebook to socialize and have fun, not to be pitched to. Consider using this site as a primary outpost if you work well in that kind of environment and can promote in a subtle manner.

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4 Pillars to Build an Effective Social Media Platform

Piller

A social media platform needs a support system, a set of pillars that stabilizes and suspends the infrastructure. Attempting to build a platform before its supports are in place isn’t practical or sustainable. Take things logically and in order, and you’ll do yourself a tremendous favor.

4 Support Pillars 

The first pillar in platform building is that infamous c-word, commitment. Tap into your passion to find the strength of mind and sheer grit to see you through. Decide now to ignore self-doubt and believe in yourself. Determine that no matter what, you’ll invest your time and talent so you can thrive and survive in the competitive world of publishing.

The second pillar in platform building, self-discipline, is just as difficult and necessary as the first. No one is going to force you to spend time on building a social media platform. If you cut corners, you only cheat yourself. In this series you’ll learn ways to work with social media more efficiently, but learning anything new always starts with an investment of time. The good news is that you can tailor your social media platform to fit within your time constraints. But remaining constant is important, and that takes self-discipline.

The third pillar in platform building is developing and adhering to a plan.  Thinking through the sites you will use, how often to update them, and who you will interact with helps you make better use of that non-renewable and precious commodity, time. A good rule of thumb is to devote only 20% of your time to promotion. Platform building should be a large part of your promotional effort. As an example, 20% of a 40-hour work week is the equivalent of an eight-hour day. If you have less hours than that for writing, do the math to find how much time to devote to promotion, and then determine what proportion of that will be spent on platform-building. That will look different for a novelist divided between book promotion and platform management than it will for a writer just starting to learn craft. Once you’ve sorted out how much time to allot, determine how long to work on your social media platform and then follow through.

The fourth pillar in platform building is identifying your support network. As John Dunne famously pointed out, no man is an island, sufficient unto himself. Each of us needs the encouragement of others. If you have the support of your family, you are indeed blessed. But even if it takes your family a while to understand your efforts, other writers already do. Seek them out online or locally and support them as they support you. Church is a great place to find prayer warriors who will encourage and pray for you as a writer.

Unless its pillars are strong, a structure can come crashing down. Make sure these four vital pillars are ready and able to serve the platform you plan to build. We’ve laid the foundation of this series by looking at the spiritual, emotional, and mundane aspects of platform building. With next month’s post we’ll begin analyzing social media sites from a writer’s perspective.

Related Posts:

Build an Effective Social Media Platform: The First Step May Surprise You

10 Strategies to Keep You Afloat in the Treacherous Social Media Waters

What is Branding Anyway? 7 Reasons Why Seo Companies Care

 

Build an Effective Social Media Platform: The First Step May Surprise You

My Front GardenI may be the only gardener who cheers when deer sample my tomatoes. I’ve tried to reform but to no success. Now I plant extra for the graceful beauties. As a gardener, I seem to do things backwards. Long after most people have hung up their trowels for the season, I can be found in my garden. I like to get a jump on weeds while they’re dormant, and when it’s wet outside they release their hold on the ground more easily.

Weeds can also invade my writing life and stand in the way of my building a platform. As in my garden, they can hide well, appearing to be something they’re not.

  • Voices from the past tell me what I can’t do.
  • Time constraints bind me.
  • Inertia overwhelms me.
  • Confusion ties me in knots.

All of these can be weeds in my writing garden, but each of them is joined to the same root.

Fear.

  • When I listen to nay-sayers, I demonstrate that I’m afraid to believe in myself.
  • There are sometimes legitimate seasons when I have to focus on other priorities, but usually when I play the busy card it’s procrastination. I procrastinate because I fear failure or success or both.
  • Giving in to the pull to do nothing as time passes can consume my life if I let it. When I allow inertia sway over me, it is always that I’m afraid to commit.
  • Confusion is often the mask I pull over my fear of trying something new.

As with gardening, if I miss the root, I may break off a weed but it will grow back. I need to use my trowel to remove it. The same trowel works for each of my weeds.

Faith.

Once the weeds are cleared I can prepare the ground to build something. The first step in building an effective social media platform is believing in both the gift within you and the Giver who provided it.

Sometimes in adversity weeds come out more easily. When things go wrong, I’m fully invested in cleaning up my writing garden. But it’s really the vision for the sublime creation my hands can produce that brings forth fruit. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to happen in the rain.

This is the first post in a series on building a social media platform. You can subscribe to receive notification of my future posts next to my image in the sidebar.

Can you think of other weeds common to writers? Are some tougher to remove than others?