Social media is key to helping readers find your writing, whether you’re promoting your blog, your book or your stories. But each social media platform is different, and platforms take time to master, and authentic followings take time to build, which is why it’s best to focus most of your energy on one or two at a time—especially if you’re just starting out.
Of course, we all want to reach the widest audience possible, so we start with the platforms with the largest user bases, the most content and the strongest engagement.
According to Statista, the first quarter of 2016 saw 1,654 million active Facebook users and 310 million active Twitter users. Can we stop for a moment to observe those numbers? 1,654 million. That’s over five times the population of the United States. Think of all those readers just waiting for your stuff.
But to get the most out of Facebook and Twitter, you’ve got to know the platforms—and I’m talking about more than how to log in and publish a post. So here is a simple guide to help you utilize these two monster social media sites.
- High Follower Counts
- Fast News Feed
Weapons of Choice:
- Honest Interaction
Twitter moves fast. “Followbacks” are a big part of Twitter culture, especially since they allow you to interact through direct messages. Therefore, it’s not at all uncommon to follow thousands of people. That makes for a fast news feed. You’ll never be able to see every tweet in your feed, and neither will your followers. That means that tweeting often is not only acceptable, it’s imperative. Try to tweet at least 8-10 times per day. To make that easier, automate tweets using sites like Hootsuite or Tweet-Jukebox. Stuff Writers Like uses a WordPress plugin called Revive Old Post (Formerly called Tweet Old Post). (Notice that automating tweets is not the same as automating direct messages. The former is completely acceptable. The latter will likely irritate your followers.) Along with tweeting often, tweeting old content will help you reach your entire audience.
Twitter is largely about community. Rather than simply blasting your own content, find ways to interact with your followers. Be generous with retweets. Respond when others mention you. Break out the GIFs. Remember, people are more likely to click your link and read your writing if they actually care what you have to say. Be authentic. Help them get to know you, and get to know them before you ask for their time.
- Low Follower Counts
- Slow News Feed
Weapons of Choice:
- Consistent Posting
Compared to tweets, Facebook posts move at a crawl. Posting 8-10 times per day on Facebook would flood your fans’ news feeds and result in many of them unliking your page. One post a day is sufficient, and six per week is a good number to shoot for. Engagement breaks should be a part of Facebook strategy, too, so don’t forget to take a day off once a week or so to give your fans a chance to miss you for a bit.
To make the most of each post, always include a relevant, eye-catching image. According to marketer Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94% more total views vs. those without images. Engaging your fans visually will up your chances of convincing them to click that link and read your awesome blog post/story/book. That’s the end goal, right? To get your writing in front of its oh-so-important reader, the person it was written for.
And don’t forget to tag pages or profiles if you mention another Facebook user. It’s a great way to widen your reach, since they’re likely to share the post or leave a comment. Plus, it’s always nice to see a mention show up in your notifications, amid the plethora of FarmVille requests.
Twitter vs. Facebook: very different platforms, each a killer tool to reach readers. Use them wisely, post consistently, but never let social media take over your writing time. That, my friend, is sacred.
Photo by Sarah Marshall (cropped)