Social Media – Do You
Need a Strategy?
©Paul Callaghan– All
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
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
Social Media Platforms Are Not All The
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
How do You Analyse Each
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
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
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
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
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
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