Do I write? Or do I ‘do my social media’?

This is a post I wrote for Anita Chapman at the successful and useful Neetsmarketing blog earlier this year.  Neetsmarketing is a top resource for anyone using social media.

Twitter_logo_blue_48Wherever writers gather, physically or virtually, a common subject for discussion is how much time we should be spending on social media. Opinions range from ‘I can’t be bothered. It’s a time drain. I don’t get it.’ to ‘I have Xooo,ooo followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and I do four blog tours a day.’

Somewhere in the middle you’ll find me.

  • Firstly, I don’t think there’s any ‘should’ about how long I (or you) spend on social media. I like to engage with readers, writers, bloggers and other industry professionals, or just about anybody who may have something interesting/funny to say and will not offend or irritate me. But you might not feel the same, and so why not tailor your social media efforts to your available time, the results you attain, and your personal preference? Don’t let it be a burden.
  • Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 08.53.37I concentrate on Twitter and Facebook because they appeal to me and provide me with the most followers/friends. I do use LinkedIn and Google+ a little, too. I have this blog and I guest on other blogs whenever the opportunity arises.
  • Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 08.53.10Routinely, I turn my attention to Twitter, then Facebook profile and Facebook author page early in the morning. Then I get on with my writing (or planning or research or whatever that day’s task is). I return to Facebook and Twitter periodically during the day. If one of my books is part of a current promotion, or if I’m involved in an interesting conversation, I return quite a lot.
  • I don’t spend all my social media time bleating ‘Buy my books!’ I chat to people. I congratulate others on their achievements. I read interesting articles that others have flagged up. I discuss publishing with other writers. I pinch their social media ideas if I think they’re effective, I form and maintain business-friendly relationships with book bloggers etc, and I ask research questions (an underused facility in my opinion). I prolong friendly relationships with people I’ve met in the real world. In short, I network.
  • I see a value in building up a network of people whose posts I share and who will share mine in return. It widens the audience for posts I’ve written, my books when on special offer, and any good news I have, and all it costs is my time as I reciprocate. NB I try not to be a blood-sucking, self-interested user, ie cultivating only those people/conversations/contacts that are likely to benefit me and me alone. Some people’s social media strategy reminds me of a vampire looking for a neck. It doesn’t make me want to help them.
  • Social media has allowed me to form my lovely street team – the suggestion came from a reader, via Facebook, and we use a Facebook group to interact. (If you’re interested in joining Team Sue Moorcroft, do contact me via Facebook, Twitter, my website, suemoorcroft.com , or just click the button in the left sidebar of this blog. You can read my blog on the subject here.)
  • Very important to me is the privilege of interacting with readers. If a reader contacts me via social media to say that s/he has enjoyed one of my books, it makes my day. I always respond. Always. If I had to choose only one use for social media, it would be this one.
  • Do I think that you should have a social media presence? If you’re a writer, then, yes, I do think that you should. I think writers benefit from being visible, contactable, discoverable. Even if you’re awaiting your first traditional publishing contract I think you should have a presence – because many publishers and agents do Google you if they’re interested in taking you on to see if you have an audience and you can self-promote. And if you’re self-publishing, I’m positive that social media will help you sell your book effectively.
  • BUT, if I’m up against a deadline or fighting a knotty segment of my plot, you probably won’t see me on social media at all. This is an important point. I control my social media activity – I don’t let it control me. Unless one of my books is in a promo, of course … then I will find the time. It’s worth it.

Social media has got me engagements as a speaker and tutor, new readers, promotion, invitations to blog, invitations to be part of a promotion activity, research contacts, radio interviews and literary festival appearances. And work.

But if I wasn’t lucky enough to be a full-time writer I would have to cut my social media time proportionately. If I hated and detested the whole social media circus, found it intrusive and puerile, I would do the minimum. The balance between writing and social media is a lifestyle balance, like work/play/sleep or save/spend. It’s deeply personal and you should tailor it to yourself.

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “Do I write? Or do I ‘do my social media’?

  1. Frances di Plino

    As always, an informative and sensible post, Sue. (Sorry, can’t seem to figure out how to post as myself. My ‘other’ persona is hogging the limelight – again!)
    Lorraine

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  2. Thanks Sue, great advice. It’s a dilemma that most writers face. I’ve met some lovely people via social media but at the same time the blatant self-promotion on Twitter gets a bit much. I have a personal list of helpful Tweeters and spend fifteen minutes in front of the TV on an evening sending them messages or sharing their posts. The concept of a Street Team was new to me – what a great idea!

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  3. You’ve hit the nail on the head, savvy woman. This is pretty much how I use it too, though I DO need to get better at self discipline when it comes to my actual writing. I blame my Moon in Gemini, we have a compulsive need to communicate 😉

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  4. Such a sound piece of advice. It is really difficult to maintain a balance for many, how much time to spend on SM, but when it works, I think being on Social Media is an incredibly helpful tool. The interactions are as much about finding symbiotic relationships with other SM users. At TF, when we feature a book by an author who isn’t on SM, we don’t tend to push it as much because it is like pushing into a void (can be a desultory experience, I have to say) – teamwork is so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Down to earth, as ever, Sue! Just to add… you’ve never seemed in the least ‘vampirish,’ but I did like that bit about ‘looking for a neck’!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very interesting, a hard balancing act for many of us I think.

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  7. neetswriter

    Thanks for the lovely mention of my blog, Sue! Good to see your fab post in its proper home :-)x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Totally echo everything you’ve said above, although I’m not great at blogging on my own blog. I do visit a few other blogs (yours obviously 🙂 ) but if I’m under a time constraint, it’s usually a quick whiz through. I find FB a good place to see who is blogging about what topic as I don’t always catch it on Twitter which is very fast and busy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great advice Sue, thank you.

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  10. I think this post with chime with most writers. I feel its a case of promote or die (!) I’ve gained a lot of readers by communicating with them on Facebook and of course my parrot has his own fans on their too. I think a balance of ‘my life’ and ‘here’s my book’ seems to work well for me, but you can always tell when folk have had enough of you as the return comments dry up. I do tweet, but more as a ‘thanks for giving me a shout out’ than anything else. My two big promo days are Tuesday and Friday and Monday blog posts when I have one to talk about. OK – back to the writing. Thanks, Sue.

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  11. Lizzie Lamb

    Reblogged this on New Romantics Press and commented:
    Some shrewd tips from writers on how/when/where to promote your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post! I love social media and am active on twitter, facebook and now Instagram (I couldn’t resist!) 😉 I love reading about other people and their projects and I share what I think would be helpful or appropriate to my friends, family and readers. I think it does help if you enjoy your social media time and don’t think about it as a chore. I treat it as an extension of my creative time – reading blogs, articles and book reviews, commenting and sharing. You can learn so much more by interacting than you can by doing the SELL SELL SELL posts. I just scroll over these. Thanks, Sue.

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  13. I’m a bog Facebook guy. I try to balance my self=promotion with the promotion of those I enjoy. I try to keep all the negative away ad focus on positive. Sharing friends posts, sharing tips and tricks I’ve picked up from others, and it makes me feel good. I write horror, so i started #SharetheHorror It’s been a lot of fun.
    This was a great blog post. Thank you. 🙂

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  14. Great article. I worry I’m not always doing enough, but then really I should be writing, so I probably do more than enough.

    The great thing about technology is now I can dip into social media with my phone if out and about – while boys are in clubs and I’m bored, I mean waiting patiently.

    I do the same as you, in the morning, the days when I’m not at my proper job (as I can’t afford to write full time – yet), I grab a cup of coffee, go through emails, Facebook and Twitter. I don’t target anyone specifically, but I try to support my HarperImpulse authors, because a reader might like their book, and then choose mine. I try to blog regularly, and share that too.

    I don’t like the constant ‘buy my books’ or writers who deliberately follow you so they can spam you with their book. That’s how to annoy people, not attract people.

    I have the problem that my FB profile was created before I wanted to become a professional writer, so find it hard to keep it separate from the professional side. People seem to want to friend me but not like my FB page 😦 And I don’t wish to set up two accounts. It’s bad enough managing one.

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  15. Really enjoyed this balanced approach to social media – my favourite for interacting are twitter and FB but I like Pinterest for the visual fun (when I get around to it). I now just have to find a better balance for the work/internet ratio!

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  16. It is hard to find a balance. I think you have it pretty much down and I get to chat to you on there x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post! This is something I continually struggle with as an author. I think you’re absolutely right that it’s individual to the person as to what’s best for them and that whatever it looks like, authors (including aspiring ones) MUST have a social media presence. Personally I love Twitter. It’s so fun and easy to use and connect with people.

    Cheers, Nikki x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about aspiring authors. I’m helping someone set up an online presence. She has resisted it thus far but I’ve said that I think it might be holding her back and so she’s taking the plunge (but with a screwed-up expression of distaste). x

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  18. Pingback: An Interview with Sue Moorcroft | Linda's Book Bag

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