Monday, April 26, 2021

12 Social Media Tips for the Overwhelmed Author

Are you an author or aspiring author trying to figure out how to make social media work for you? Well, I am not a social media expert. But I've been using social media as an author for a long time, and I've learned a few things. So, if you're just starting out and are a little overwhelmed--as I was in the beginning--here are some things I have learned that could be helpful to you. 

  1. Social media should be fun. If it's fun for you, you'll be more consistent and will more easily grow your following. 
  2. Keeping fun in mind, remember that you don't have to do it all. It's better to be engaged and have a good time on one or two social media platforms than to spread yourself too thin and/or get overwhelmed.
  3. Social media is not all about you, especially if you're an author hoping to grow your audience. Always keep your followers (and potential followers) in mind when sharing content. What do they want to see? You can learn this with some trial and error, but also by thinking about the kind of audience you hope to attract, then post accordingly!
  4. Regarding content, keep the 80/20 rule in mind. Basically this means that 80% of your content should be helpful or entertaining for your followers and 20% should be content that specifically promotes you as an author. What kind of content is helpful or entertaining? It really depends what you answer for number 3, but here are some ideas: Pictures or stories about pets, links to resources, tips, book recommendations, observations about life, etc.
  5. Be original! It's not much fun to follow a person on twitter if all they do is retweet other people's content.
  6. But DO retweet or share other people's content in addition to sharing your own if you think it's something your followers would be into.
  7. Engage! Nobody likes feeling like they're shouting into a void, so when you see something online that you can relate to, say so! 
  8. Being friendly is just as important on social media as it is in person.
  9. Be (mostly) positive. It can be tempting to let your frustrations about the state of the world pour out through your fingertips and onto your social media, but keep in mind why you're there. Do you want people to read your humorous children's books? Do you want to support writers, teachers, librarians? Promote literacy? Make people smile or laugh? Then don't let negativity take over. You can be proactive about the issues you care about without letting your social media feeds become bogged down in despair. 
  10. Choose the right social media platforms for the kind of content you want to share. I enjoy taking and sharing photos, so Instagram is fun for me. I also love the fast pace and versatility of Twitter. It's great for sharing short, spontaneous thoughts and the occasional "Hey, check out my blog!" or "Hey, have you read my books?" kind of posts. I also find that I get the most engagement on twitter, and that is probably because I have the most fun with it! Facebook can be great for sharing all sorts of content, but can be frustrating because of their ever-changing algorithms. 
  11. Schedulers are your friend. They can be especially useful for spacing out the "20% content." I like using Buffer to schedule tweets and Facebook posts.
  12. Be yourself. Talk about real things, real life. Don't be shy about sharing your favorite dorky puns or quotes from your favorite movies, or those random musings about life that pop into your head. When people get to know the real you a bit, and grow to like you for you, they'll be interested in what you write. 
Are you on social media? What do you love or hate about it? 

Friday, April 09, 2021

Mask Fatigue, a Poem for National Poetry Month

Image source: Canva

Mask Fatigue

I'm tired of masks.

Aren't you?

Those closed doors,

those mufflers,

those smile stiflers

that limit connection,

silence talk

and end up strewn about the sidewalk

and parking lot

by people who care not

for cleanliness

or decency,

at least not more than they care 

for themselves

and the way the masks make them feel caged.

I think that's why they cast them aside

without thought for the one

who comes behind them,

clearing carelessness from the ground

one mask at a time,

her weary frown hidden

behind a mask of her own.

© 2021 Rebecca J. Gomez