So I reconfigured my Twitter notifications the other day and am now seeing more Tweets from the members of the writing community whom I follow. This is good for the most part, but I’m noticing something that concerns me a little. There is a lot of advice floating around out there concerning growing your social media followers and how to promote yourself (something every writer wanting an audience needs to do), but the marketing gurus I watch don’t seem to receive much interaction from their tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. Maybe their analytics show that their posts are getting a lot of views, but I can’t help but notice that they aren’t getting very many likes or retweets…
So how effective is their advice if their followers don’t seem to believe it’s worth sharing?
I’m certainly not the person to ask about marketing or growing your social media following, but I do know how I personally respond to social media. And what these “experts” are doing is not something that will keep my attention for long.
I look at most social media platforms as a place to exchange ideas. I’ll use them as a means to learn about differing perspectives, which can help me with character development. I’ll use them as a means to connect with people who are passionate about things that I am also passionate about. (Even if you sort out writers by genres and subgenres, we still hold different interests. We’re a very diverse crowd when it comes to hobbies, beliefs, politics, etc.) I will also use social media as a means to keep tabs on the projects of people from whom I draw inspiration, and this helps me stay motivated in my own creative pursuits.
What I don’t do on social media is look for promotional posts. When I follow other writers, I’m looking for community and inspiration. I want to “talk” to people, not read book reviews or recommended reading lists. In talking with people, I get to learn about their interests, their sense of humor, their passions. Once I get a handle on some of these things, then I’ll show some curiosity about their favorite books or recommendations. But to take reading advice from a complete stranger is little better than simply pulling a random book off a bookstore shelf while blindfolded. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.
So when it comes to social media, I recommend that you do your thing and figure out what works for you. Just like with your creative process, you need to find a means of working with social media that keeps you engaged. Decide what kind of interactions you want to get out of it and figure out who you want to connect with. Yes, social media is a great marketing tool, but if using it becomes a chore for you rather than a fulfilling means with which to interact with your chosen community, it’s going to make you miserable. Don’t be miserable! Be productive!