In today’s high-tech and uber-connected society, times have sure changed. You are now more likely to find details on a breaking news story on Twitter well before one of the major networks breaks it. Digital media has taken over newspapers and magazines, and long gone are the days of only the select few authors hand-picked by publishers getting book deals. Nowadays, just about anybody can self-publish in digital and/or print format.
We are not judging these things as good, bad, or indifferent. But, the fact of the matter is it can only behoove you, as a writer who’s trying to make a living, to embrace this digital world and, yes, that includes amassing a social media following. As a freelancer, having a social media presence gives you more opportunities to network, and allows your work to be seen. Oftentimes, this can even increase your pay rate as your clients may see value in having you share their assignment with your network. And, as a self-published author, the bigger your social platform, the more potential book sales, which is, of course, a beautiful thing.
As for which social media platforms to focus on, you could ask 10 people and get 10 different answers. And, rightfully so. Everyone has different preferences, and these platforms are always changing. It’s best to do a little research and dabbling of your own to determine which platforms are right for you. However, it’s usually a good idea to have a presence in at least a couple of outlets, to use a few different mediums (i.e. some photos and videos in addition to text) and to learn how to tie them all together to get the most for your content-creating buck.
Here are 7 tips to help you build your social following fast:
1. Create content that doesn’t suck.
This may seem obvious, but poor quality content is posted on the Internet all the time! If you want followers, some basic content-that-doesn’t-suck rules to follow are: Post pictures with good lighting, that are in focus, and where some thought has been put into the composition. Make sure your videos have clear sound, good lighting, and content that won’t put your viewers to sleep. (Especially, as writers, who are often introverts, we need to think about kicking it up a notch when taking messages to video). And, when it comes to written content, of course, you want to make sure the grammar and spelling are on point while also being mindful of word count. People tend to like shorter articles on the web, but don’t feel the need to skimp if the content is word-gush worthy. You don’t have to be pro-status on everything, but do put your best foot forward. And, overall, keep it interesting, fun, and let your personality shine through.
2. Be consistent.
Just like with any relationship building, it takes time and consistency to build a following on the Internet. Making daily posts that your audience can grow to expect from you helps to grow rapport. And, the more often you post, the more opportunities there are for your content to be shared and your growth to continue exponentially. It’s helpful to come up with an editorial calendar of sorts to help guide your social media posting, and keep you accountable. Have a brainstorming session where you come up with a lot of content at once so you don’t feel like every day is a struggle to find something new to share.
3. Cross-Promote Share your content across multiple platforms.
If you write a blog post, it may seem like Instagram (a picture-centric site) would not be a strategic place to share it, but the opposite is true. You’ll need to get creative in translating your post to a specific image, but it can be fun doing so. (Just be sure your use of the image is legal!) If you can’t find one, create a logo for your site or brand, and use that instead. Write a little teaser and then encourage your followers to hop on over to your blog to read the rest of it. Additionally, make sure your blog(s) and website(s) have links to the social media spots where you hang out most often. If you guest blog for other sites, include these same links in your bio. And, don’t forget to ask your readers to share your links with their networks, too!
4. Be generous.
When it comes to content-creating, don’t be stingy! Some people hold back in this regard because they think that if they give away too much for free, they won’t be able to charge for it later. But, quite the opposite is true. Freely share the knowledge and skills you’ve amassed over the years with your audience so you can help them to learn and grow, too. The more value you add to their day, the more they are going to want to connect with you, share your content, and yes, most definitely become paying clients if/when you offer a signature program.
If somebody comes up to you on the street or in a coffee shop and starts some small talk, you wouldn’t just ignore them, would you? Hope not! You don’t want to do that on social media either. When people are engaging with you – engage back. Depending on the size of your following, you might not have the capacity to answer every single one of them (a good problem to have), but dedicate some time each day to engaging as much as possible, and be sure to drop some general love bombs so that everybody knows their comments are appreciated.
A good networking strategy starts off with a little cyber-stalking (but totally the good kind!). Who is out there that you really look up to as a mentor, or maybe would love to be able to work with someday? Figure out who the influencers are out there that you want to be like when you ëgrow up,’ and start engaging with them. If you love their stuff, tell them so! And, then share it with your network. Over time, you will organically start making new friends, and growing your own network in the process.
7. Schedule (when appropriate).
People often say they don’t have time to post on social media every day. But, actually, you really must if you want to grow. There are a lot of different programs, apps, and software programs out there that can help automate some of your post by scheduling for later. You’ll want to definitely mix in plenty of live posting as to not miss out on some of those fun in-the-moment sharables, but it does take some of the pressure off if you take the time to curate a ton of content in one setting, and schedule it out for later. And, on some platforms, like Twitter, you can recycle that great content and re-post again and again since it’s likely most of your audience never saw it in the first place.
If you implement these 7 strategies, and practice them on a regular basis, your social following will grow before your very eyes. Enjoy the connection and the journey!
Dawn Gluskin is a Biz and Brand mentor to soul-centered entrepreneurs and the author of forthcoming, Type-A Zen: The Shift from Ambition to Meaning in a Soulful, Happy Life. She is creator of Sacred Business, an online course that teaches wellness entrepreneurs how to build their brand, create their content, and amplify their message so that they can serve the world. For more information follow on Instagram: www.instagram.com/dawngluskin, Twitter: www.twitter.com/dawngluskin, and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dawngluskin.