Today’s guest contributor is a freelancer who I connected with a few years ago when I launched this blog. (Did you know Write Naked celebrates FIVE years this year?!) As of this writing, she is the #1 commenter here. Though she is thousands of miles away from my home here in North Carolina, we’ve bonded via comments and emails about freelancing, screenwriting, and life. I’m happy to introduce writer Pinar Tarhan who is, as her business is aptly called, Addicted to Writing.
Social Media Mistakes Writers are Making and How to Fix Them
By Pinar Tarhan
Social media platforms have become a must in our lives as writers. We use them to promote our business, connect with the publishing industry and create a unique brand. They even help to decrease the solitary parts of our work and inspire fun ideas.
However, these platforms also lead us to procrastinate, form the wrong image, anger colleagues and repel followers. So let’s provide a checklist to prevent social media management sins:
Not writing in good English. You are expected to be informal, friendly and sincere without compromising a professional attitude. And how informal you can be depends on the platform and your audience.
Sending the same message to everyone. Sending a standard “thank you” isn’t a good idea. It’s impersonal, and almost everyone does it.
Followers will likely delete these messages without reading it. If you have the time, send a short and custom message. This effort will return to you as a more engaged following.
Not completing your profile. If you’ve opened an account at a site, utilize the space allocated to you. Add your name, website, links to other social media and something fun and unique about you. Award-winner? Byline in Cosmopolitan? Five years of experience? Take advantage of your credentials.
Not using a (decent) picture. Most phones are capable of producing a quality picture. Upload one you like to the site. You don’t have to be serious and businesslike unless it’s for LinkedIn. For the sake of brand consistency, you can opt for the same picture across all sites, but using one custom for that site alone also works.
Providing irrelevant information. It’s mostly a Twitter trend: Many writers have included their religion, marital status and number of kids in their bio. While this information might be relevant in some cases, if you don’t write or regularly post about these topics, it might do more harm than good. Are those things really the first things we need to know about your writing? If not, consider what might be more crucial information that your readers and clients should be aware of.
Updating with the mundane. You don’t always need to talk about your or a fellow writer’s work. Share a fun quote or anecdote. Post a funny picture. Just don’t be boring or ordinary.
I know it’s easier said than done, but practice does create wonders. For example, what you just ate matters a lot more if you’re a food blogger who crafted that gorgeous meal yourself.
Over or under-promoting yourself. When you utilize several sites to advance your career and expand your writer platform, you can’t afford not to promote yourself. But self-promotion requires a tricky balance: you need to inform and attract without going overboard. And it’s almost always better when others promote you. For them to be inspired, you should also promote them. Just make sure you believe in the person you’re praising.
Not using enough platforms vs. using too many platforms. Your time is limited, so choose a few platforms where your followers are. I do the occasional share on Pinterest for traffic, but I actively use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. (Links in bio below!)
Not connecting with followers. Do people leave meaningful comments? Do they ask you questions? Great! Answer them. Follow them back. People will follow you for only so long if you aren’t responsive.
Filling it up with hashtags. Hashtags make it easier for people to find you. However, if your profile is nothing but hashtags, it’s the equivalent of writing a post for search engines and not humans. Instead, it’s better to give your job title such as “Freelance Writer for Writer,” and maybe include your location alongside a fun and/or relevant bit. Make it personal.
Not updating enough. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and we let our profiles sit without an update for days. You don’t need to say something every few hours, but don’t neglect to remind your audience that you are alive and have something cool to offer.
Pinar Tarhan is a freelance writer, blogger, screenwriter and social media consultant for hire. She is active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can catch up with her through her blog Addicted to Writing.