Social Media – Do You
Need a Strategy?

©Paul Callaghan– All Rights Reserved

 

When I started this journey to be a full time professional writer, I wasn’t too naïve. I didn’t really believe that I could write the world’s bestselling novel in a couple of weeks and spend the rest of my life sipping cocktails by the pool.  

 

However, there were a whole lot of things that I had to rapidly get my head around. The first one was that no matter how good my writing is, if no-one knows about it, it doesn’t count. 

 

So how is the writer supposed to get the word (words?) out there? You could spend lots of money putting up adverts online or on TV or on buses. I’ve never had lots of money so that’s not an option. A quick Google later I had one answer. 

 

Social Media 

 

My first attempts at publicising myself through social media were pretty haphazard. I signed up for heaps of platforms and cut and pasted my bio into each one. I started telling people about the things I wrote. I read a couple of posts that turned out to be just advertising or what the cat had for dinner. I decided that reading other people’s posts would just take up too much of my precious time. So I didn’t bother. After all, it was all about promoting me.  

 

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And WRONG! 

 

Social Media Platforms Are Not All The Same 

 

My cut and paste scatter gun approach was based on the idea that all SM platforms do the same thing. They connect people. While that’s true to a certain extent, they do have very different ways of doing it. What might be appropriate on Twitter may not go down well on LinkedIn. And vice versa. 

 

Just as any writer worth their salt will check out a market before pitching to it, so you should be familiar with the individual social media platforms. If you are just starting your strategic use of SM, I recommend concentrating on one or possibly two platforms at a time. 

 

How do You Analyse Each Platform? 

 

Read the ‘what’s hot’ recommendations. If people are talking about something enough to get it noticed, then maybe you should aim your next blog post there.  

 

Do some searches on key words that cover your particular area of expertise. See if any of your heroes have a presence on the platform. What are they saying? What are people saying back? 

 

Above all, note the style of the interactions. With SM it’s not just what you say but how you say it. 

 

What Should You Say? 

 

We have all been told that content is king. Well actually, good content is king. But you’re a writer. Good content isn’t a problem. You have lots of things to tell people. And if you can only get them to read your stuff you are on your way to making more money.  

 

The trouble with this approach is that it overlooks one of the key things about social media. It’s social. It’s not just about you.  

 

Have you ever been at a party and been trapped by the person who only wants to talk about himself? Did you enjoy the experience? Did you rush back from the loo to get into the conversation again? Thought not. 

 

Social media works like that too. If all you are talking about is yourself people will switch off. You will become just a breeze in the constant hurricane clamouring for our attention online. And most of us are pretty good at shutting out the white noise of that hurricane. 

 

So respond to what people are saying. Promote their links if you like them. If you see something while researching (or procrastinating!) that might be of interest to other people, share it. Most of your SM content should not actually be about you. It’s all about building the relationships that might lead to profit at some stage.  

 

Should I Automate My Social Media? 

 

I have to declare a vested interest here. I offer social media management as one of my freelance services. But even if I didn’t, I would say that while a little automation can be useful, don’t overdo it. I tend to ignore most of the robot tweets/posts/messages that I receive. So, I suspect, do most other people. But when someone tweets me with “hi paul, luv ur werk!” I don’t even mind about the spelling.  

 

Anyone who follows me on SM gets a personal response and a request to check out my site. When I go online to see what people are saying (yes, I’m still analysing) I respond to some of them. I probably miss some useful conversations because I don’t have time to follow up on everything. Never mind, I show that I am a real person. In fact, I show the world that I can be strategically social.

 

 

About the author: Paul Callaghan is a freelance writer based in New Zealand. He writes articles, newsletters and blogs as well as editing web content for SEO and managing social media. You can read more from Paul at www.freelancewriter.co.nz 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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