Do you tweet? Digg? Post? Update your status? Share? StumbleUpon? Review on GoodReads? Link up on LinkedIn? Blog on Tumblr, WordPress, Blogspot, or your own website? How many of the hundreds of social interaction websites do you use?
There’s a plethora of social media out there, truly an abundance beyond the capabilities of most humans to use effectively or efficiently. With so many choices comes a need to pare down to what’s physically (and mentally) manageable. Therefore, questions arise.
Which social media sites should you use in developing and growing relationships, building a platform across multiple channels, getting your book sold or your blog read, promoting your recent publication, or touting the services you provide? And how do you decide the best and most effective ways to invest your social media time? Here are three questions (and answers) to help you choose.
1) What do you want to do, and what’s your desired result ?
What do you specifically want to achieve with social media? Is it more friends or networking connections? Is it quick conversation or a longer interaction period and text limits that are less, uh, limiting? Do you want more sales and readers of e-magazines, e-books or printed books? More editing or ghostwriting business? More promotion to and interaction with readers who may or may not buy your books now and in the future? Less long-phrased run-on sentences in blogs posts you are reading?
The answers to most pf those questions should inform your decision.
2) Who are the people you’d like to connect with your work, your message, or your life?
Based on your purpose and intent defined by answering #1, who are the people you want (need, really) to tell, educate, or take action on what you’re doing on the internet? Blog readers? Commenters? Facebook ‘likes’? Are you selling books, workshops, or writing services. Decide who you want to know what about what you’re writing, selling, or saying, and adjust your distribution accordingly.
3) Which do you like best and enjoy most?
I’ve found that while Twitter can be a good social media tool, it’s not the kind of conversation that typically suits my social media preferences. I like a longer conversation, and don’t connect regularly with enough tweeting friends to make it more than a passing interest or avenue for announcement or sharing.
On the other hand, I love writing this blog and interacting on Facebook. In fact, LinkedIn and Facebook have each helped me increase my readers and friends and land jobs or opportunities. I love Goodreads, but am having a hard time keeping up with a fourth social media outlet. Google+ scares me, mostly because I struggle with balancing it all and writing and life in general. I’m avoiding it for the moment, but I expect to look into it eventually…then decide if it’s worth it.
You will naturally gravitate toward certain media availabilities, based on your personal preferences and how you best enjoy interacting through the different communication avenues. Stick with the ones you like best. Forcing yourself to maintain a presence on every possible site will fast become drudgery, and you may miss the benefits that social media can bring to your writing and your life.
One more social media tip: I’ve found that using an aggregator like Hootsuite or Seesmic can be good for saving time in spreading the same post easily among your various social media accounts. You’ll need to provide ‘third party’ access to your applications to use these, but they do save time and energy for other more important things (like checking on who ‘liked’ your last post about rhubarb).
What social media sites do you use? What for? If there some you don’t like, why not? Help a fellow writer (or a bunch) and let us know.