Social media can feel overwhelming and can also make you feel like you’re spending hours of time trying to understand and grow your social media accounts and not focusing on the thing you want to do most as a writer: write.
But it is still important to use social media as a writer. Each social media account you use allows you to share your writing to a group of people who are interested in reading it. It is a place where you can minister to others with the stories and the messages that God has gifted you. It is a place for you to share the messages and stories that God has put on your heart to share with others. It is a place for you to shine a light in a very dark world.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Plus, the more people we have following us on social media, the more readers we will have to read our blog posts or books or whatever we may want them to read. Publishers want to know you have lots of potential readers, but you'll only get lots of potential readers and build up your social media platform if you are serving the followers you do have well. Feeling sad that you only have 200 followers on Facebook? Well, imagine if you had 200 people come over to your house, what would you talk to them about? How would you minister to them? When you think of it that way, 200 seems like a lot of people to love and serve with your words and gifts.
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First of all, please know that you do not have to be active on each social media site (ex: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, Linked In, etc). You’ll go crazy if you do. Release that burden of pressure and feel free to pick one or two social media sites that are the easiest for you to use or where the majority of your audience is and focus intentionally on serving your audience there. As Christian writer and podcaster Annie F Downs says, “Chase the fun!” Pursue the social media platforms that are fun or easy for you so your heart is more invested in serving your readers there and you also have time to write. Then once you’ve mastered that social media platform and if you feel you have time or a desire to add more, you can then consider sharing content and growing on another social media platform.
Each social media platform is a little different and should be used with intention if you want to grow it. So without further ado, here’s a way to view each social media platform and tips for using it well:
Most people go on Facebook to see what their friends and family and groups are up to, and to share about what’s going on in your own life. Facebook is about building community and staying in touch online.
Have a separate page for your writing! Share about your writing from time to time. But also share other content that is relevant to your audience. Share other blog posts or memes.
Ask questions to create engagement. People love to talk about themselves and contribute. I have a hashtag #FridayFun and ask a fun question that people can answer on Fridays in my Facebook group. I have followers who I don’t see all week long on my other posts, but they show up on Friday’s to participate. Asking questions helps you create a community, a safe place, and that’s what people are looking for on Facebook.
Instagram is a place for you to build a community by sharing a story with a compelling picture to help your followers learn more about you and your message. Use nice pictures and write a story in your caption that people can connect with. It shouldn’t be all about you, but should be about serving your followers.
End with a question to encourage comments. That’s one of the best ways to create a community.
Use Linktree to be able to share multiple links in your bio--such as links to your website, your books, your freebie that gets people to sign up for your email list, a recent blog post, etc.
Use up to 30 relevant hashtags per post to get new followers. You could put the hashtags at the end of your caption, or post them as a comment immediately after posting. I recommend creating a list of hashtags for various topics you write about, and then I can copy and paste the hashtags.
Be consistent. Instagram honors consistency, even if it’s once a week, versus doing a post a day for a week and then not posting for a month. I’ll be honest, I’m not very consistent on Instagram, but I’ve made a lot of great friends there.
Don't just post your own content and leave. Find other accounts using the same hashtags you do and follow them and interact with a few of their posts. You can make some great online friends that way.
For a while I was just using Twitter as a place to share my blog posts and retweet other people’s content. I didn't really get the poing of Twitter. I've since learned that people go on Twitter to learn new things and meet new people and engage in conversation. If you are on Twitter, create opportunities for people to have conversation by asking questions. Respond to other people’s questions--a lot of times they’ll follow you back.
Create polls or ask questions and respond to each comment. Remember, the goal is to create a conversation, not just share your own blog posts and about your books.
Use 1-3 hashtags so new audience members can find your content if they’re searching for it. Ex: #amwriting #writing #writingcommunity #amreading, etc. And type those hashtags in the search bar to find your fellow writers and engage with them and follow those who seem like interesting people you'd like to get to know.
If you write for a specific audience, find those people on Twitter by searching for hashtags they are using, and interact with them.
As writer and podcaster Annie F Downs says, “Chase the fun!” If you’re not having fun on a social media platform, don’t use it, or limit the amount of time you spend there. If you’re having a lot of fun on one social media platform, be intentional with cultivating and growing it and serving your readers well there. Keep posting and have fun! :)
As Megan Erickson, social media manager says, “Instead of thinking of social media as a chore you have to keep running while you do the important work of writing, think of it as an extension of that important work you’re doing. Never before in the history of writers have we been given the opportunity to test out our material before it’s published. Your readers can help you shape your book (or whatever project you’re creating) every step of the way!"
If you’re looking for a book that will help you grow your social media in a God-honoring way, I encourage you to check out the book Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus, Not Me.
It is very important as Christian writers to pray about what to write and what to share with your audience on social media! Two books that can help you pray for your writing are Prayers for Writers and Pray, Hear, Write.