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Everyone wants to know how to best use their time effectively on social media and what are the best tips for blogging and sites like Twitter. Marian Schembari used a Facebook ad to get a job in publishing and now consults on these topics so today we discuss how to improve your social media strategy. The interview is available as an audio, video or through text highlights below.
- How Marian got started in publishing with an advert on Facebook and began to work in book PR. Through the ads, she went freelance for publishers and authors and now works with creative people helping them building their online platform. On building the author platform, it's important for most people (although clearly some famous authors have no platform at all). If you want to stand out when you send a query to an agent or publisher, having a platform helps. Publishing is a business so focusing on sales is important. Non fiction authors – having a blog is important.
- On social media strategy. It's not just about fun on social networking, it's about what you do with that time. Strategy is personalized so if you're shy you can avoid YouTube. Consider your personality. As a writer, then blogging is obvious as it's writing but it needs to be regular. Do read other blogs as this can create relationships and also will give you ideas. Think about what you do with your spare time as well. It needs to be something you want to do. Also consider the amount of time you have available as this will help you focus. Then choose the platform you want to work on first, and slowly expand if you want to. Plan the steps you will take e.g. blog for 6 months, then get into twitter so it's not overwhelming.
- What if twitter/facebook disappear? Is it worth the time spent on these platforms if they then disappear? Yes, it takes time but these platforms take years to get going and will take years to disappear. BUT it's important not to rely on the platforms entirely, so don't just have a facebook page and nothing else. Drive people back to your own site and your own list.
- Tips for improving your blog. Assuming you have started a blog, what can you do to improve it? Consistency in posting is important e.g. 500 words in 1 post once per week. If you choose this way as a platform, then you have to commit to regular posting. Blogs with an update 6 months ago aren't effective. You also need to be reachable and authentic. Don't close down comments or be afraid of what people might say. Authors and publishers are conservative but being reserved is not so effective on social media. Include your email and engage with people.
- How you can't control what people say about you, your books and your business. Kill the bad stuff with positivity if there is no reason for the criticism. But also there are some trolls online (but I haven't experienced many of them). If there are a lot of negative comments, then perhaps there is a problem. But if you're not listening and responding, people are saying things anyway. Don't escalate, just respond nicely.
- On improving your Twitter profile. Have a look at your bio – it's important. Say what you do, or tell some more about your book e.g. genre. It needs to make sense and drive some interest. Have a great picture as well. Use your face as main pic and then use your book cover as the background. People are visual. Your profile has to be engaging.
- What type of attitude do you need to be successful on social media? It's ok if you're shy. You don't need to be outgoing but you do need to be friendly, nice and moderately interesting. You need to be yourself, that's the most important thing. You will attract an audience who like the things you do. You can't please everyone but don't be an idiot. You have to be authentic but you don't need to share everything about your life.
- How can you get as many followers as possible immediately? That's not really the question! It takes time to build up people who care what you say and are in your niche. There are ways to get a lot of followers but they will be predominantly porn/spam so don't do that. Tips for getting followers: tweet useful information every day, follow people in your niche and interact with them. Be personal and engage.
- Important: If you are on twitter, put your handle very prominently on your front page. If I can't find it, I won't tweet your article.
- How much time do you need for social media? It depends on your goals but we discuss half an hour a day as a benchmark but it varies as we both schedule a lot of info. Longer form activities like video, blogging etc will take longer. Patience pays off in this market as all this takes a while to grow.