Thursday, March 2, 2017

Social Media Basics for Writers—Part One, Know Where You Are & Where You’re Headed!

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson
Today I’m starting a new series, Social Media Basics for Writers. I’m going to lay out the steps to build your online presence into a solid platform that enhances you as an author. 

Be sure to ask questions as we go along, because I’ll partially base my content on the feedback I get from you.
When I teach social networking, I encourage people to relax and not take on too much at once.
I want to begin by talking about the most common mistake I see in social networking: the approach. Because social media can reach millions, it’s way
too easy to think of it as mass marketing. In reality it’s about one-on-one relationships.

That is the beauty and the dichotomy of the medium. It can be overwhelming—this building relationships with millions—especially when our goal is writing, not advertising. Now the good news: Social networking is not as
difficult as it seems.
Social Media is a return to small town thinking.
In many ways, it’s a return to small town thinking. In times past, people
patronized merchants because the proprietors were their neighbors or friends. In this day and time, we also find neighbors and friends on Facebook, Twitter and in blogging communities. And those communities are where we need to concentrate our efforts.
It's vitally important to realize that, despite the bad rap it's gotten, social networking and writers are a natural match. Social networking is all about connecting with people through our words—not walking into a room full of strangers, standing on a platform and speaking. We can sit at our desks, write and reach the entire world.
That said, it IS all about connecting with others. If you're NOT willing to be found by others, then the writing industry as it stands today is gonna be tough for you.
So how do you go about plotting your social media course? 
There are two things you need: 
  • You’ve got to know where you are.
  • You’ve got to know where you’re going.
You are here.
You are Here
To evaluate where you are, you need to know your numbers.
  • How many friends/followers do you have on Facebook?
  • How many followers do you have on Twitter?
  • What other social media networks are you a part of? Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Add those numbers here.
You also need to know where you rank in search engines.
  • Plug your name into Google and see where you are. Do you show up on the first page of a Google search?
  • Plug your name into other search engines (,, etc) and see where you show up there, too.
  • Now search your blog name, if it’s different from your name, and see where you show up.
  • Finally, search some of your blog topics. Don’t just search your blog post titles, but the actual topics. For instance, I wrote a post titled, Social Media Monday—How Facebook Changes for 2015 CouldAffect Authors. When plug that title into the search engine, it comes up number one in the search. But when I search Facebook Changes Affect Authors, I still come up number two.
That’s ultimately what we’re shooting for, to be found by topic, not just by someone already knowing our name.
First, we shoot for getting our names high in the search engine rankings. Then when we’re on the Internet map, we increase our visibility by getting known topically.
Plot your course.
Plot Your Course
It’s hard to get somewhere unless we know where we’re going. One of the easiest ways to get somewhere is to follow someone. So for this part, you need to think about two or three people who are where you want to be in the social media universe. Don’t just choose random, well-known people. Put some thought in this and look at people who write things similar to you. You’re going to use their path to success to guide you, so choose well.
Check their Social Media Numbers
  • Do the same things with their names, as you did with yours.
  • Look at their Facebook friends/followers.
  • Check how many followers they have on Twitter.
  • Look at the other social media networks they’re a part of. To do this, visit their websites to see what networks they find important.
Check their Search Engine Ranking
  • Plug their names into Google and look at what you find.
  • Now do the same thing with other search engines and make note of where they rank.
In the weeks to come, we’ll incorporate this information into plotting your course so don’t skimp on the time it takes to do this research. I’d love to hear what you found when you followed the suggestions above. I’d also love for you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

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