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Social Media & You – The Basics

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a good Sunday today! Sadly, my Lions blew it in the final seconds of the game so they lost, but hey, you can’t win them all!

Today, we’re talking about Social Media. I know. But, Erica we already know about social media, right? You probably do, and for some this is already stuff you know, but for others, I thought I’d share some knowledge about what I know.

Hi Damon. *swoon*

Some of you may not know but during the day I’m a Social Media Manager for a large pharmaceutical company. Actually if I’m being honest it’s not just during the day, this is a job that’s 24/7 but, I call it my day job ;o) I’ve become pretty knowledgeable in this field and have been fortunate enough to earn a Mini-MBA in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers University. I learned a TON at that week-long course. So I figured I’d share some of my knowledge as it pertains to being a writer/author in case some of you may not know this.

So, let’s cover the basics…

Brand your name – Is your name your twitter handle? If not, it should be. Why? Well, if you are a writer who wants to publish someday a good way to brand yourself is by your name. Not using your real name? No problem, but make sure your twitter handle is the name you want to stick with. When agents/editors/pub peeps/future readers see your name on your twitter handle they will begin to associate you with YOUR brand. This is a good thing. Once you’ve done this on twitter, do this with all of your sites: facebook, pinterest, tumblr, youtube etc. Brand yourself all over the internet. This will help with google searches and for people who want to know more about you.

Add content that is “authentically helpful” – Once you’ve branded yourself the key is to begin to add content to your sites, but make sure it’s authentically helpful.  I can’t take credit for that, that was something I learned at Rutgers, but it totally makes sense. I think the key here is “authentic”. I’m not saying that you can’t talk about yourself online, please do, but be sure to make it something that others can learn from in some way. Think about it, do you want to hear someone complain constantly about everything? Maybe you do, I don’t know, but I’d venture a guess and say most want to learn about the how you were able to overcome whatever it is that bothers you more so than just hearing you complain about it. EMOTION wins. People can smell fake a mile away, so make sure when you post stuff it’s sincere. (I’m looking at you spammy “read my book” people – don’t do this.)

Make sure your sites are all RESPONSIVE – What does this mean? Make sure you have platforms that everyone can access on any device. Look at your website/blog on your iPhone/Droid, look at it on an iPad. Make sure it looks good in all of these places because you can not be sure where someone will find your information and you only have that one chance to make a first impression. This means, no flash, because it’s not viewed well on mobile typically. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I haven’t found any and most say that flash is dying. A lot of places already do this for you. Blogger does a decent job doing this already. But please make sure before building any site that it is responsive.

Google + is your friend – I KNOW. Really? Yes, really. Why? Because google owns the world (they’re close). Want readers/agents/pub peeps to find you easier? Use google +. This is what all the experts say. Google has a way of filtering what they want and you know who rises to the top of the search? People who use google +. Google will pull from your google + account and use it. So post stuff on google + too, or at the very least make a google + profile if you don’t have one. By the way, if you didn’t already know, Google owns YouTube as well, so your google + profile follows you around to several sites.

Unless you pay the money, your Facebook posts only get seen by like 15-20% of your “likes” and followers. Facebook has this thing (bane o’ my existence called Edgerank). You can see the diagram below on the details. Most are saying now this still matters BUT now Facebook has come up with a magical way to determine what you like that isn’t just Edgerank anymore. I KNOW. Who do they think they are?

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But really, this is all code for “make sure your posts have some value to the people you’re talking to”. If you’re paying to advertise, make sure you target specific demographics. It’s not the “throw something out to everyone and see what sticks” type of marketing. It’s “make sure you target those that will really care” type of marketing. For those not paying and just want to engage people… use pictures or graphics. From what I’ve learned so far, status updates do show up in feeds somewhat more often, but graphics and photos get more ORGANIC (number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your Page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event) engagement. Think about what resonates with you? I personally like photos of cats, like pretty much everyone else on the Internet. Throw out a cute pic of a kitten doing something funny? I’m sold. People like to see stuff. But beware of the kind of stuff. (I’m looking at you injury posters. I don’t want to see your bloody foot injury post.)

I could probably go on and on about this subject, but I’m going to stop because this post is getting long. I’d love to know any questions you have about Social Media. You can ask me on twitter or in the comments and I’ll make another blog post. I’m sure I only covered a small portion of what people really care about, but If I come across anything I think that can help us, I’ll share ;o)

Have a great week, rockers!

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6 Responses to “Social Media & You – The Basics”

  1. Great intro, Erica. When it comes to blogging as a social media genre, keeping content fresh is important. People ask me all the time… ‘when it comes to a blog, what do I write about?’ I know my answer but I’d love to hear your take. Creative Blessings!

    • Thanks, Angela! My short answer is whatever you feel people want to know, or whatever you want to tell. I don’t blog all the time, but when I do, it’s something that I think can help others. If you keep that mindset, whatever you write will be good! I’ll work up a post soon on this subject! Thanks for the suggestion ;o)

  2. Thanks for the hints! Will try to use Google Plus more. I have my blog posts and YouTube posts go there automatically but it’d probably be good to throw the stuff I put on Facebook around there too. One interesting problem I have is that I have a long-standing Internet handle that’s a lot more popular than my author name, and they’re sorta-kinda connected (in that the more popular name often links to the author stuff, but the author stuff doesn’t often link to the popular name). I’ve only started using my publishing name on the ‘Net consistently in the last two years, and I post different content, though interviews with me using my full name are available online as far back as 2005. My pseudonymous stuff is a LOT sillier, a lot more vile, and a lot less professional, so I thought it would be better to not go out of my way to connect them explicitly, but people who really want to find it will have no trouble doing so. I don’t have a specific question about this, but wondered if you have any interesting thoughts on my situation?

    • It sounds like you’re doing everything right. If you have a well known handle I wouldn’t replace it. These rules are more for people that are starting out. I guess I would say to take a step back and google yourself, what comes up? Is it what you want? If not, you can control that (to a point) by branding what you need to. The key is to have that one place where everything links to everything else. For writers our names is the easiest way because when a reader is online or at a book store, your name and title are all they have to look at. If you have a popular handle I would just continue to amplify it. I would keep adding your name where you can, it couldn’t hurt. Sounds like you’re doing it right, however you are ;o) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. […] cause HELLO, cute animals. I wrote a blog post on the basics of social media, you can find it here, if you want to read it. We were all new once too. I just recently looked at my first few tweets […]

  4. […] for that! If you like this kind of stuff I wrote a couple previous blog posts about social media: Social Media & You – The Basics and Social Media & You – […]

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