Tag Archives: social media

The Secret of Social Media Marketing

Kiev, Ukraine – October 17, 2012 – A logotype collection of well-known social media brand’s printed on paper. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr, Livejournal, Foursquare and more other logos.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret today. It doesn’t just apply to marketing–it’s kind of a secret to living your best life. No doubt you’ve heard it before, but maybe not applied to marketing and social media marketing.

Be Yourself.

There’s a wide range of advice out there when it comes to managing your social media as an author. Don’t post about your work so often. Engage with those who engage with your posts. Post often. Don’t post about anything political. Avoid posting anything too racy or could potentially be divisive.

While I think that advice is sound, and have definitely agreed with it in the past, I’d argue now that all of that advice does not set you apart. You will not be a memorable presence on social media if you follow all the rules.

So does that mean you should break all the rules?

No. Absolutely not. In fact, you can still follow all the rules I listed above and still be a very memorable presence on social media. How? By being yourself.

That’s very easy to say, but how exactly do you express who you really are on social media? Do you have to start letting your followers in on your deepest secrets? Do you need to share pictures of your children when you don’t feel comfortable doing so? Absolutely not.

The golden rule of Being Yourself on social media is: only post what you are comfortable posting.

But can that make you stand out? Sure it can.

Think about the things that make you unique. Even more: make a list of things that you’re nerdy about. Make a list of your hobbies. Chances are, you have a lot of knowledge in those areas. And, of course, they are important to you! So why not share your knowledge? If you like to garden vegetables, share pictures of your harvests. Recommend products that work well for you. Post videos sharing tips about how to save beets from a late spring frost.

Do you love 90s R&B? Geek out over it. Post your favorite playlist. Share pictures of your favorite groups and little bits of trivia about them. Go to their concerts and share you experience online!

Do you watch a lot of cop TV shows? Compare them. Which shows get it right? Which are inaccurate? What are some common themes and writing techniques that the writers use in those shows, and how can you apply them to your own writing? These would be fascinating topics to share.

The point is, your fans and potential fans will love to see what you’re into, especially when it’s beyond the obvious (of course you’re interested in writing, Game of Thrones, and books! We all are). Some might not know how to engage because they’re not into what you’re into, but I guarantee they will find it interesting and fun to follow you on social media anyway. They’ll love to see that you’re nerdy about other things. Not to mention all the people who ARE into what you’re into and will bond with you over TLC and Blackstreet, will thank you for your tips on how to grow juicy tomatoes, or will love putting in their two cents about the best cop show on TV right now.

You can have an interesting and fulfilling social media presence if you choose to. Just be yourself, have fun, and only post what you’re comfortable posting.

Networking: Friends with Benefits

In October during Marketing and Promotion month, we had a great post on networking by Kim May. There’s a lot of great advice here on how networking can help you reach and connect with your readers.

This month, I’d like to focus on how to network with industry professionals.

Few of us are lucky enough to have people in the entertainment industry – and yes, writing and publishing are part of the entertainment industry – as part of our circle of family and friends growing up, but it is possible.  Ironically, one of my friends-who-is-also-a-published-author started out as the roommate of another friend I met through my toy collecting hobby.  Looking back, I laugh at some of our earlier meetings when neither of us had any idea of the other’s interest in writing.

But let’s assume you don’t have a contact like that.  I didn’t for many years.  How do you meet people who are working where you would like to be someday?

You can read blogs, join newsgroups, “like” Facebook pages, and/or follow Twitter feeds.  The best part about these venues is that even if you live in an isolated rural area, and can’t afford to travel, as long as you have Internet access, you’ve got all you need.

First, reading blogs etc will give you a feel for what it’s like to work as a professional writer / in the entertainment industry.  You may find it’s not for you.  Or, when you reach that point yourself, you will have some idea of what to expect.  I’m eternally grateful for the advice from a writer, who is now also a friend, who put on her blog the importance of turning around correspondence for publishers as quickly as possible.  They’re people too, they’re on deadlines too, and keeping them waiting and wondering if they are going to hear from you or not is an undesirable situation.   As someone who used to submit things on the day they were due–and never before–I realized that holding on to my finished submission until the due date wasn’t doing me any favours.  And I would never have realized that without this advice.  It’s invaluable, and it’s free.

Comment when you have something useful to say.  Over time, people will recognize your name and, if applicable, your avatar.  Remember, though, that reputations can be bad as well as good – keep the drama off someone else’s site, or you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Conventions, seminars, launch parties and book signings are great in-person venues if you’re lucky enough to be able to travel or live near a city.  Authors and editors will give panels, readings, room parties, and book signings.  Attending panels and readings gives you conversation starters when you go to the parties and signings:  introduce yourself by name, then ask a question, comment on something, or give constructive feedback.  Don’t hog the person’s time – they’ll be meeting a lot of other people at the event.  At subsequent events, you can then re-introduce yourself (“we met at Ad Astra this past April”, “I came to your book signing last year in Toronto.”)  Faces become familiar very quickly.  And I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention Superstars Writing Seminars, where I received great advice from professional writers and also met a number of fellow newcomers just starting out in the field.  Look how far we’ve all come!

I’m very fortunate to have a friend who is a New York Times bestselling author–the person who first recommended Superstars to me, despite not being part of it herself.  It was her assurance that Superstars was worth the money and time that got me here today.  I’m not going to drop her name here, because the purpose of this post is not me showing off how special I am because of who I know.  I mention it to illustrate that unfortunately, the following paragraph contains advice that still needs to be shared:

Don’t expect professional authors to become your new best friends.  They’re busy people, on lots of deadlines.  They have private lives they aren’t going to share with people they’ve just met.  They are not going to drop everything to reply to you immediately, and they don’t owe you anything.  Be courteous, be respectful, be appreciative, and be professional.  These writers are active online and at conventions to connect with their audience and, if they are generous and have time, to share some insight on their profession.  You will not become friends with everyone you say hello to, and you will not stay friends (or even acquaintances) if your sole purpose of communicating is to “get stuff,” whether that “stuff” be attention, information, free swag, or “awesome inside sources”.   Treat industry professionals as people, not as means to your goals.

When you are at conventions, do attend public events (book signings, autograph sessions, panels, public room parties and launch parties).  Do not try to crash private functions (ie author-only parties), follow people into the restroom to strike up conversations, or loiter outside people’s hotel suites waiting to pounce on them.  As on the Internet, being loud, drunk, promiscuous, smelly, obnoxiously persistent or rude gives you the wrong reputation very quickly.  And remember that alcohol makes all sorts of things seem like A Good Idea At The Time.

As someone who rarely drinks alcohol in public I strongly recommend a glass of pop, soda or juice carried around a room party or nursed at a convention bar if you are a non-drinker or if you have reached your drinking limit.  People will think it is a drink (thereby saving yourself the need to constantly turn down offers of drinks) and you will both appear sociable and remain in control of how you are presenting yourself.  (I also note that if you are a non-drinker, after seven or eight Dr Peppers you will feel like bugs are crawling all over you, so go easy on the caffeine-as-alcohol-substitute.  Lessons from Ad Astra 2013–bad decisions made so you don’t have to!)

The best thing about networking is that it builds its own momentum.  Once you know one person, they will introduce you to other people.  Soon you’ll find yourself in contact with all kinds of people who are working in, or working towards, your chosen profession.

Social Networking Sites and You

A guest post by Heidi Berthiaume.

GetAttachment (1)Some writers feel a rising tide of panic when they think about how much time they think (or are told) they need to spend online in various social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, etc., when what they really want to do is just write.

The thing to remember about social networking sites that being social is the key – it’s about relationships, not pushing a product. So it’s important that where ever you spend your social media time, you have fun. If you consider tweeting a chore, you’re not going to do it enough or engage with other people on Twitter for it to be of any benefit to you or your writing.

In order to help you find a social media home (if you want one), I’m going to go all metaphorical and give examples of what a few social media sites would be like in the real world.

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/) – short to long posts throughout the day, pictures and videos show up on the page. Think of Facebook as a large dinner party. Some people are talking outside the house (public pages), but most of the conversations happen inside, so you
have to sign up. If you walk in without knowing anyone, you might feel lonely. Once you find some Friends, you’ll engage in conversations with them, to meet their Friends, and keep up on what other people are doing. Some celebrities also come to this party (or their representatives and fans do). You’ll have a running list of other folks’ posts on your Wall which you can Like, Share, and comment on whenever you want. Your involvement can be real time or delayed – comment three seconds after someone posts or nine hours later, doesn’t really matter. Conversations can be picked up and dropped at any time.

Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/) – 140 characters or less, links out to pictures and videos, can use a hashtag (#) to identify your tweet with a theme/concept/cause/etc. Think of Twitter as a really crowded bar – lots of conversations happening in real time, really fast. You can walk by and overhear a few conversations (public tweets), but you have to sign up in order to join in. As with Facebook, if you walk in without knowing anyone, it can be lonely – you’ll just be sitting at the bar talking to yourself. As soon as you Follow some people and they Follow you back and you guys start talking, the social part is on. And it stays on as long as you are logged in and tweeting. With only 140 characters to use, and some of them getting used up if you directly reference another person (@theirname), there’s not a lot of room for discussion, so commenting on a tweet from yesterday, or even a few hours ago loses context very quickly.

LiveJournal (http://www.livejournal.com/) – long blog-like posts, can join or create Communities of like-minded folks, fun with User Pics. If you have a blog on your website, it’s kind of out there on its own, a little lemonade stand on the Information Superhighway. If you have a blog on LiveJournal, it’s like having a lemonade stand in a small town where you get to know the neighbors and can have some great conversations.

LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/) – mostly business and career based. Think of LinkedIn as a job fair where you go with business card and resume in hand. Good place to show off your day job skills and connect with people in the industry you want to be hired. Also a good way to keep up with old and potential co-workers. Recruiters may contact you for a position based on your Profile, and other people can endorse you for specific skills.

Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/) – all about sharing images, animated GIFs, and hashtags. Tumblr can be pretty fandom orientated, so think of a convention with a huge bulletin board where people put up pics of their favorite shows or celebrities or artists, and often these pics have something added to them (captions, Photoshopped effects, etc.), thereby creating a new cool thing. You can see a few posts through the window of the convention center, but to participate, you have to sign up. Comments can be text or an image – there are some funny, amazing comment threads that happen on Tumblr, often with multiple in jokes of the fandom that is doing the talking. Just by posting pics of stuff you like with a hashtag (#DoctorWho), you can connect with like-minded people fairly quickly.

Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/) – all about sharing images (mostly still) and videos, but with more structure than Tumblr in that each image/video/Pin is associated with a Board. Think of Pinterest as a lot of people sitting around sharing photo albums. Lots of Boards are public and you sign up to Re-pin or upload your own Pins on as many Boards as you want to create.

Google+ (http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/) – standard text/pics/video sharing with the feature of video Hangouts and the ability to create Circles. Think of G+ as a bunch of old-time party lines – you decide who is in each Circle, so when you post to that Circle, only those people will see it. Facebook has Lists, but supposedly it’s way easier to partition people in G+ (I don’t know, I haven’t used it).

There are bunches more social networking sites out there like Reddit and MySpace and DeviantArt, and each has their own personality and way of interacting with its kind of community.

I started out on LiveJournal because I wanted to connect with a few authors I met at a convention. Tried Twitter for a while, again to keep up with folks I had met, and decided it was too real time for me (I also have a cheap, pay-by-the-minute phone so being online all the time wasn’t feasible). Occasionally I’ll post to Pinterest, but mostly I go there to browse for art inspiration and DIY craft ideas. I have found my current social network home on Facebook – I like the balance of text and images and have some great friends I like to keep up with at whatever time I want to log in and look.

So try out a few social networking sites. Find your kind of folks. See which model best fits how you want to spend your time and energy, because ultimately being part of a social networking site should be fun. Seriously.

GetAttachmentGuest Writer Bio:
Heidi Berthiaume is a side character in an epic story who writes, makes art, edits fan music videos, and has almost figured out what her own adventure will be. You can find out more on her website (http://www.heidi2524.com/) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/heidi2524).

The Written Word in a Digital World: The Value of Social Media to Your Writing Career

A guest post by Holly Dawn Hewlett.

ImageProxyUnless you have been living under a rock for the last decade, you have some knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. The question is, do you understand the value of Social Media to your success? I don’t care what genre, what topic, what country, what age you are…if you want your work seen, and checks in your bank account…then you need to embrace Social Media. And why not? IT’S FREE!!!

So, I want you to Google yourself…now check those entries…are they really you?

Now I want you to Google, Holly Dawn Hewlett, Winchester, Va. Yes, ALL of those entries on the first THREE pages are me! What does that mean? When someone is looking for me, I have 3x the chance of them finding me than you. Why is this important? Because the way to get on the first page of Google is to have good quality content. The way to have good quality content is to have work on every channel you can in the digital world.

I can hear you now, here comes what I call “The Writers’ Soliloquy”

I don’t have time

I have family, friends and a community to buy my work

I write serious prose/poetry and I am not going to peddle it on Social Media

Shakespeare, King, Koontz, and Sandberg didn’t need Social Media!

All of the above statements are true…and false. The reason you don’t have time is you have not learned to leverage your time. You run around trying to catch every opportunity to show your work. Marketing studies show that the average person actually knows about 420-450 people and is acquainted with 2200-2500 people. On a good day only 30-40% of those will actually buy your work. I don’t care if you write the greatest novel that has ever been written, if no one sees it then no one buys it and you are a talented, broke writer. Speaking of Shakespeare, he is THE most downloaded author in the world, to the tune of 2-4 Billion dollars a year….Yes, that is BILLIONS………..

Still think you don’t need Social Media?

Lets’ look at how Social Media can help you. First, some hard learned lessons:

The Digital World is fast, furious and forever. Keep your personal life and writer life separate. The digital world is not secure, you have to use common sense. I keep a note book with all my accounts and passwords separate so that if someone gets into one of my accounts, they can’t get into my personal life, ie: my bank account. Yes, your fans will want to know all there is to know about you, which is a blessing. Establish boundaries now so you are not in danger later. Even as good as I am, I have made mistakes. You’re at an event and hand out your personal # or email…when those people contact me, I redirect them to my public info. If they continue to use my private info…I block them. Don’t fall for the crap that you have to be accessible to all people. Stephen King and Anne Rice have had long lucrative careers being private people.

Now to nuts and bolts.

Social Media is NOT a retail store, it takes time to build a reputation. You need to be engaging and patient. The days of sending out sales emails and ads are gone. Today’s customer is engaged, educated, and discerning. They still want fast service, but they will have googled you before you ever hear from them.

A basic Social Media set up for an author is: LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, a blog, a YouTube Channel and Twitter.

The Golden Rule: Good Content, Good Content, Good Content!! Post at least once a week on some of your sites. Connect with the people in your field who are seen as experts. Comment on others’ content. If you are referencing anything…make sure you say so!! It is a digital world, but lawsuits are very real!!! Be real, Be you!

LinkedIn…is your professional page. This is the place you act your best. Yes, you can express your opinion, but always think of yourself sitting in a board room. Linked In is where all the powerful and successful people of your field are. As you establish yourself, you will find some of the experts of your field will wind up connecting with you. This is the place for intellectual discussions. Be studious about who you connect to, you never know who knows who.

Facebook…You will have a personal page which is connected to a Fan Page. Your Fan Page is the place to casually engage your audience. This is the place for all the events of your public life, to have fun, within reason. Remember…the digital world is forever. Find something that you are passionate about that is relevant to your work. I am an Eco Warrior, so my fan page is all about eco living around the world, from schools that are using public space to grow gardens to the latest technological advancements in solar, wind, and geothermal.

Pinterest or Instagram…These are visual based sites. Depending on your personality, the one you choose is up to your taste or engagement. Instagram is like Twitter in that you can send something out to all your followers. Pinterest is like having a limitless portfolio. Visual is the largest growing segment of interaction in the world. The trick with these sites is a conversation. Think: “How do I show people what my work is about” If you visit my Pinterest page, I post how my life is affected by what I do. I post ALL my videos and all the things I am passionate about.

Your Blog…Why have a blog? Well, all those Social Media sites have rules, regulations, and space limits. A blog is the place that you are free to just be who you are. The value of a blog is that YOU control it. It is a place where your most loyal customers will come to have a more intimate conversation with you. It is also the place where you will make money in the future from those loyal customers!! I have a blog on Empower Network, full disclosure…this is another revenue source for me, so yes, I will make a commission if you set up your blog through my link. Go check it out: http://unapologeticjourney.empowernetwork.com/

YouTube…If you have a gmail account, You have a YouTube Channel! As a writer, you will be asked to do readings. A great way to interact with your audience is through videos!! YouTube has a very easy download and edit template that is sweet! Make sure you go through ALL the tabs on your first few videos so it becomes second nature. You will thank me! Finally, ALWAYS MONETIZE YOUR VIDEOS!! Monetizing a video means that you give YouTube the permission to run those ads you see across videos you already watch. There is no sense in turning down free money! How much money? In 2012, YouTube made 2.4 Billion!! 40% of that went to all the people who monetized their videos. Part of monetizing your videos is to make sure you put true and informative titles. AND, if you cuss like I do, you always put that in the description!!

Twitter…This is the place you interact with your audience in real time with 140 character sentences, which are called tweets. Twitter is the place to do media blasts that let folks know you have a new book or an appearance somewhere. This is a great place to have short sweet fast interactions with your fans. Learn the lingo and you will be a twitter master!!

At this point, you are probably feeling overwhelmed, remember what I said about leveraging your time? Take a breath! I got you covered.

The final steps:

Continuity!! Pick a name and use it for ALL of these accounts! If you have not gone to someplace like GoDaddy and registered your “Domain” name, then go do that. Use your whole name, this sets you apart. If you want to be creative, think before you pick a name. Make sure it is relevant! Nothing worse than hearing about how your whole online image does not match what the customer sees when they see your name…..forever.

Set up one or two accounts at a time, do not try to set up everything all at once, you will fry your brain. Take your time! I am telling you to set up in this order because Google owns YouTube, so as you build more sites, google already knows you exist! LinkedIn and Facebook are two of the largest, most trusted sources for content, so google will grab this content easily.

Set up your accounts in this order: Gmail and YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest/Instagram, and Your Blog.

As you set up your accounts, you will be asked to “connect” them…DO IT…this is the trick!! When you connect your account, whatever you post to one site will then post to all your other sites! Don’t be lazy, visit all your sites at least once a week and post from them. The more different original content points you use the quicker you will rise to the top of Google.

After you get all your accounts set up, tell everyone you know about them!! Now that you are being Social, find me and connect @

Holly Dawn Hewlett on

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and my blog, UnapologeticJourney

HollyWeddingGuest Writer Bio:
Holly Dawn Hewlett is a published poet, Slivers of My Soul on Amazon.com. Her passions are print media, Pitbulls, and Reduce Reuse and Recycle!! She is an Energy Consultant for Ambit Energy, working to save people money on their electricity and natural gas bills, check out www.Killthemeter.energy526.com