Friday, January 20, 2012

Using Social Media Effectively

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to learn to make better use of social media. While I love blogging and feel very much at home in the blogosphere, I haven't really mastered any of the various social media options. I have a bad habit of setting up a profile and connecting with others, then never doing anything else, leaving my profile to wither away and resemble a ghost town.

That's not because I don't want to do anything but, as an introvert, I find it difficult to feel comfortable on these sites. I end up analyzing the situation so much, worrying about whether I will have something relevant or worthwhile to post, that I wind up not posting anything. Along the same lines, I worry if I say too much I will get on people's nerves and they will think, "God, I wish she would shut up!" ;) I end up with the same result, not posting anything, and letting my profile turn to dust.

I want to break this pattern though, as it seems clear that social media can be a gold mine for writers if used effectively. I have seen writers do such amazing jobs of promoting their work, and it seems foolish to ignore these constantly evolving opportunities to not only promote our work, but also connect with other writers and build relationships, while also connecting with editors, agents, and publishers.

I guess one reason for this post is so that I can ask advice from those who are social media savvy. Which sites do you find the most effective and worthwhile to use? Which do you feel provide the best opportunities for networking with other writers? Do you have a favorite or least-favorite site?

Also, I have noticed that some bloggers have their blog posts shared on LinkedIn and Google+. Is this something that can be set up automatically, or do you just add posts into your feeds manually? I'm curious and haven't been able to figure this out. I admit I am pathetic, so take pity on me, please. :D

One last question, are you signed up on sites like Digg and StumbleUpon? If so, do you find those sites to be worthwhile? 

I do have profiles on several sites, and have connected with many great bloggers already. I am on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

Am I missing any? Are there any sites you recommend that I have not listed?

If anyone has any advice on how best to use these sites and, conversely, how not to use them, I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you in advance!

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend to all! :)

30 comments:

  1. The only one I have found to be useless so far has been Linkedin. It hasn't "linked" me with any other writers, just a bunch of people in business that I would never contact. And it sends email notifications constantly, regardless, it seems, if you select to not have email notifications.

    I honestly just use facebook, twitter and goodreads.

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  2. Well, you know we're functioning at about the same level on this stuff. I'm most comfortable with Blogger, Twitter, and Goodreads. Never had a Facebook page, and I haven't a clue what to do with Google Plus or why it even exists. I have an account but don't really know what I'm supposed to do with it. Don't think Linkedin is for me.

    Anyway, I'll be watching to see if you get any good advice from the socially-savvy online folks.

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  3. @Bonnie Rae, that's been my experience with LinkedIn so far too. I seem to get e-mails constantly no matter what I do with my email settings. That's my least favorite so far. The three that you mentioned are my favorites as well. Thanks!

    @LG, haha, you know I am with you on Google+, although I just signed up yesterday so I haven't given it a chance yet. But I really don't know what to do with it. I'm glad we are in the same boat with all this. :)

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  4. I use blogger, twitter and goodreads. I have connected with some authors on facebook, but not as much for marketing as I really like spending time with those people and don't care that they know what is going on in my life :)

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  5. I have good intentions about raising my profile on Facebook and Twitter, but so far, I haven't been motivated enough to follow through. Guess I'm concerned they'd turn into a couple more deep holes to swallow up time I don't want to spend. Blogger already eats a big enough chunk of my time.

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  6. I don't think I have much to add - I have a website and I'm on blogger. That's it. I'm considering Twitter - okay, I've been considering for a long time but haven't actually joined - and will probably do Goodreads sooner rather than later. Other than that, I don't know. It truly is a balancing act - what works for me/you, what is most effective, etc.

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  7. I'm about in the same place you are. I like FB, Twitter, Goodreads, and Blogger. At this point, I find Google + to be utterly worthless to me. I've set up my blog to auto post to Twitter--in case I go a stretch without actually "joining the conversation" over there for a time.

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  8. @Tasha, that's how I am with Facebook too, it's been fun to connect with writer pals, but it's more because I enjoy getting to know them better and really not about marketing at all. Thanks for your comments!

    @Susan, that sounds like me, the best of intentions, but... I feel the same too about the time, I want to devote the time I have to Blogger as that is my favorite, but then I feel like I am missing out on opportunities to connect elsewhere. There seems to be no easy answer.

    @Madeline, I do like Twitter sometimes as it can be fun and I enjoy following people, but I'm a lot like you, blogger is my primary interest. I'm sure you're right that what works will be different for everyone.

    @Susan, oh, I didn't know you could set up the blog account to post directly to Twitter, I'll have to look into that, thanks. That was my first impression of Google+, I just don't get the point. Thanks!

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  9. Please share everything you learn about how to operate and function better on these sites - especially Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I have the same problems as you.

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  10. At the outset, I felt like you do - that I'd have nothing worthwhile to say. I don't use Digg and StumbleUpon. Can't handle those along with Twitter & Fb. Only just logged onto linked in and haven't set up anything by way of feeds, etc.

    I know I can do so much more with Twitter, but for now, I'm promoting other people's work more than I do mine.

    I only have one thing that might be considered a negative. You can spend so much time on these networks that you start neglecting your writing.

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  11. Hi Julie, I am not a serious writer, but I use facebook for most things in my life lol. I've only got a twitter account to send my latest blog post to. I can't get excited about it to be honest and don't know what people see in it. I am on Google+ and put links to blog posts on there too. It's a sort of grown up facebook. The others, apart from Blogger, I haven't a clue about!

    I don't know you very well, but being introverted myself (oh yes I am) I can understand where you're coming from :)

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  12. PS I've just sent you a friend request on facebook. You can ignore if you like. I'm the one with a funny surname :)

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  13. @Carol, I will definitely share anything I learn. I'm glad I'm not the only one with these problems!

    @JL, that's what I'm worried about, the time factor. I have already managed to neglect my own writing trying to get myself used to using these things. I do think that's a great thing about Twitter, I enjoy promoting blogger friends on there. Thanks for your comments!

    @Carolyn, oh, I got your request, thanks! I am excited to have Austin on my FB too haha. :D I will look for you on Google+ as well and try to get more used to that. Thanks!

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  14. I'm like you...comfortable in the blogosphere and just tinkering with everything else. I guess I'd rather be really good at one thing, then just mediocre at everything. :)

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  15. I'm most comfortable on FB, followed by Twitter. There are different vibes for both of those. Just look around for a bit until you find a conversation to jump into or a status to comment on. Just remember to have fun!

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  16. I have a Facebook and twitter account but with blogging as well haven't bothered with any other,

    Yvonne.

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  17. @DL, that's a good way to look at it. Maybe I just need to change my attitude! I just tinker too, great way to put it.

    @Janel, I agree with those, they are the only ones I feel at all comfortable on. I think I tend to just lurk instead of jumping in, I need to just get over that I guess. Thanks!

    @Yvonne, I definitely feel like I spend the most time blogging. It's my favorite as well.

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  18. I am sorry but I don't have much to add either. I am pretty much in the same place you are with social media. I am a pretty new blogger and blogging (reading and commenting on blogs) takes up about as much free time as I can spare. I know that people of all professions, authors included , rave about the benefits of social media networking. I know that it must work for them, but I guess I haven't had the time to properly learn how to utilize social media as a platform.

    I have a Facebook and I have quite a few friends (0ver 1000) of course they are not all-friends per se. I use Facebook more for private socializing, reconnecting with old friends from law school, college, high school and I also use it to monitor what my teenage daughters are up to. They are on it about 15 hours a day it seems. I also have a twitter account. I opened it a couple of years ago and it just sat there becoming as you said a "ghost town". A few months ago I decided to finally try to figure the whole twitter craze out. I finally added people and started following a lot of people, but unfortunately I am no closer to getting it than I was. It seems like to use Twitter to an advantage you have to connected to all the time, I suppose by cell phone. The people who truly benefit from twitter send multiple tweets out daily, even hourly.

    I am on the fence with google plus. I have it and it is always asking me to link my blogger profile to my google profile, but I have been hesitant to because once you do YOU LOSE YOUR BLOGGER PROFILE FOREVER, they merge, but blogger falls by the wayside.

    I am not a big fan of Linkedin. Too many emails and notifications. I just signed up for goodreads so I guess I am pretty much the caboose in this arena.

    Good luck and please post about your success and what you like and dislike about each that your get more involved with. Sorry so long. This is a topic I have been struggling with for a year .

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  19. Now, I know I can't offer any advice, because I don't recognise half of the symbols at the top of your post!

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  20. It's the same old story again with me. LinkedIn is a pain. My blog is fun and I get some lovely people commenting and contacting me but is it really marketing me? Twitter is the best way to reach a crowd but because of the way I've gone about creating my list of Followers they're mainly other writers. My Facebook is more friends and family than work. The only thing I have to add is that my website was producing very little feedback and as the cost has just doubled I'm abandoning it and using my blog as my main profile promoter.

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  21. My blog is automatically syndicated on Facebook (using Networked Blogs) and Twitter. I also post on Blogher receive a lot of traffic from there. I'm signed up on StumbleUpon, LInkedin & Google+ but I don't use them. Now I'm off to look in Goodreads.

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  22. @Melissa, oh, thanks for your input! I think we are the same way with alot of these things, and I definitely agree about Twitter and people who are connected all the time. I don't tweet very often so I don't think it's been much help. I didn't know that about the Blogger profile, thanks for that tip! Good luck to you as well and maybe we can figure all this out together!

    @Annalisa, LOL! I don't know what some of them are either, no clue at all LOL.

    @Rosalind, I wonder too about the marketing. I love blogging but it seems more for the personal satisfaction I get out of it and the great people I've been able to meet. I am glad we have blogger as at this point I definitely don't want to pay for a website. Thanks!

    @Kara, oh, I always forget about BlogHer! I'm signed up there as well and I need to go back and start using it. I just can't keep track of all these. I forgot about Networked Blogs too, that is a good idea. Thanks!

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  23. Blogging is still my top social media platform. I recently joined Triberr - still not sure what I'm doing with it, but my posts are receiving more Tweets on Twitter now.

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  24. I'm not very good at social media. I use facebook alot, but that's for personal reasons to connect with people I've meet in real life. Networking on twitter or google+? A lot harder. How does one gain an audience, and what's the best thing to post? I know there's something out there about a 1:4 rule, for every self promotion you post you should share 4 other things. And conversations? Its so much easier to start one with a longish blog post and say everything you want to and not worry about word limits.

    That being said, I do know it's important. We can learn together ^_^

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  25. Also, I just came across this in my blogroll in case you're interested. http://www.mywritingblog.com/2012/01/ten-top-tips-for-making-most-of.html

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  26. @Alex, oh, I've never heard of Triberr, I'm going to check that out. Thanks!

    @Gwen, I agree completely, I find blogging so much easier and it comes more naturally to me, but I do feel like it is important to use the others. Thank you for that link with the tips, that's great. Thanks!

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  27. I'm signed up at Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Goodreads. YouTube, too...

    I am not a great FB user. I don't really like it. I set up a fan page for future fans. Otherwise, I'm not really using it any more. LinkedIn...I just post my blog posts. I will announce when I release a book, but don't expect great things from it.

    It's just impossible to keep up with everything. Choose what you like. I like Twitter. I learned to use search to find readers of books who might then like my books. I chat with people. Like Blogger, you have to get involved & talk to people. But Twitter doesn't take a huge amount of time. Thus, it's my favorite outside blogger.

    I'm on mozilla which has a share thingy in the toolbar, so I can quick link my posts onto Stumble & LinkedIn.

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  28. @Mary, I like Twitter too, and that is the one I feel like I definitely need to use more. I hadn't thought about using the search like that, that's a great idea. I'm on Mozilla too and didn't know about the share thing, I have to look into that as well. Thanks for the tips! :)

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  29. Hello Julie, I found your blog through Misha's and when I saw this particular post I knew you and I were in the same boat.

    So far, I'm signed up with Facebook and Blogger. I have been hearing some positive things about Goodreads. Might have to check that out for myself soon!

    I don't really use facebook except for keeping in contact with family and friends. But, I do plan on using it frequently to promote my work when I get published.
    If you have not already, I also recommend on checking out poetry readings or joining a writers club in your community. I recently joined a club and its been a real learning experience.

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  30. @Scott, hi, it's great to meet you! I'm glad to know there are others in the same boat, thanks for sharing. And thanks for the advice about the groups, I will have to look for one in my area or online. Thanks again!

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Thank you for your comments!