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Writers are too busy penning their novels, memoirs, articles and poetry to write content for their social media, right? And what’s the point of a writer’s social media accounts?

Well, that dusty adage “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is applicable to social media channels. It’s no news that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ are time sucks, but on the flip side, the time is spent investing in your writer’s platform. (Learn more about a writer’s platform here.)

If you’re interested in seeking representation with an agent, you need to have an online presence. If you’re interested in self-publishing your books, you need to have an online presence. How else do you anticipate readers learning about you and your work?

Social media builds your influence over potential readers, but the trick here is that the people who ‘like’ your page, follow your tweets, and add you to their Google+ circles are doing so voluntarily, and they can disconnect whenever they desire.

Social media for writers came up in every conversation I had with writers this past week. Last Monday I hosted my monthly Query Clinic and I met with two authors who had clean polished hooks for their manuscripts in their letters (Which is a very hard thing to do!), yet they both had the same doubts about starting and committing to the maintenance of social media accounts.

This is every writer’s dilemma. The answer?

You must choose the degree in which you will actively participate.

Don’t start an account on every social media platform and let the profiles sit there stale. You may think it makes you look like you’re too busy writing and selling books, but it gives the impression you’re extinct.

Do choose one and do it well. One of the writers in my critique group, Matt King, has started a fantastic Facebook page – Poses (with Iron Man). Iron Man came with me to Maine over the summer on my volunteer vacation, and he can travel with you too. Matt writes fantasy novels and eventually plans to use the page to promote his book while people follow the Iron Man figurine’s adventures.

Don’t rely exclusively on auto-posting services like HootSuite, GremIn, TweetDeck or Gwibber. I manage my own social media profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as for clients. Yes, it’s a LOT of time, so I tested out HootSuite and found it took MORE time to correct it. If I wasn’t logged in with a window open, my scheduled posts wouldn’t carry over to Facebook. After three strikes, I dropped it.

  1. More importantly, articles have reported consumers are highly aware of auto-posts (these social media apps disclose themselves with each post) and feel they are less personalized, more commercial, and are then less likely to engage. “Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%,” according to this article.
  2. Also, if you’re auto-posting, you’re probably not logging into your accounts (c’mon, you’re trying to save time here), but this means you’re not interacting with your writing communities. You’re not ‘liking’ other relevant pages, following Twitter users (agents and authors), or responding to comments people have taken their own time to leave for you.

Do a schedule. There must be something that catches your eye as a writer at least once each week on the Internet. Share it. Share this. 🙂