Monday, March 31, 2014

Social Media: The Great Time Suck, or is it?

Social Media. The more sites you’re on the more you get noticed. Period. This is the experts’ argument for building your author’s platform with various networking sites.

I’ve built my platform. I have a Facebook account (that I rarely use). I have more than one twitter account (that I rarely read). I have more than one email account (each containing far too many unread messages for this overwhelmed ADD, OCD, Type A personality to handle). And just last year I even tried my hand at creating my own website (on which I’ve not posted anything beyond a simple hello). Joining the thousands of grown ups out there who first cut their 21st century social media teeth on Facebook, I now also have a LinkedIn account (that I don’t even know how to navigate properly if I’m honest). Still I’ve not published even one manuscript. Why not? Still I’m not a household name. Why is that?

While I may have all the right tools in place for building my platform, I’m not using them properly. 

To make it in writing today one needs to be out there, in the thick of social media. Build your platform the experts say. Get people wanting to buy your book even before it’s published. Create a Facebook page, separate from your personal one (no prospective publisher really wants to see a post from your Great-Aunt Matilda complaining about the sagging boards on her outhouse). Create a Twitter and even a LinkedIn account. Start a blog. If you are feeling particularly froggy, go build your own website as well. All great and very worthwhile advice, but keep this one thing in mind. Time. 

How much time do you really have to devote to all of these social media networks? Come on now, be honest.

Maintaining a positive social media presence requires a good deal of time. You have to read and respond to all the posts, especially the ones directed to you. You have to create new posts for others to read and become spell bound enough to hang on your every word. But, if you have your finger in too many pots it will eventually become burnt. And that was my hard learned lesson.

You need to pace yourself.

Find the proper balance so you can make your social media platform pervasive and meaningful, but above all memorable. Remember it is more the quality of product that your audience has come to expect that garners you the most recognition, not churning out a tweet every minute of every day. You want people calling you to write an article or guest post for them because you are good not just because they’ve seen your name every single day.

What is the right balance? 

An expert once said to spend no more than 20% of your writing time on social media. But how is that possible unless you are some kind of Speedy Gonzalez reader and poster. The key is to utilize your resources effectively. Some social media outlets have cross posting features available so that if someone follows you on twitter but not your blog you can set up the system to post on twitter and Facebook (even LinkedIn I’m told) when you publish on your blog. Take advantage of these types of features to maximize the time available to spend on your product. 

There are some programs or apps out there that can even help you schedule your tweets, and other such posts. So when you find those two seconds to rub together you can put your all into a post and then schedule it to go out to the masses at a later time. Perhaps even multiple times. 

Social media networking can open plenty of doors of opportunity for you, but like a wild beast it must be tamed. You must not let it get away from you. Make it work in the time span you have to devote to it. Otherwise, rather than building a strong author’s platform you may find the base rotting from underneath you and the structure you had built now tumbling to the ground.

~~Dawn Burr

Dawn Burr is a teacher by profession but a writer by passion. Her sarcastic wit, innocent charm, and insightful reflections will have you bowled over with laughter as she ponders with you the little things in life that make you go hhhmmmm.

No comments:

Post a Comment