“We must ground ourselves in the truth of what we’re seeking–authentic connections with our readers. The writer who can forge these connections will find the success that eludes those who try to keep up with fads and changing networks.” —Social Media for Today’s Writer, pp.17
Last week, Jarm Del Boccio discussed some great tips for using Instagram as an author platform. Today I’d like to share another helpful resource for using social media effectively: DiAnn Mills and Edie Melson’s new book, Social Media for Today’s Writer. In this book, Mills and Melson offer insight into how we can create meaningful social media platforms. They also describe why they believe these networks matter so much. Building social media platforms isn’t just about chasing followers and impressing publishers. It’s a chance to connect with our audience and share our message with people we’d never meet in person.
About the Book
Social Media for Today’s Writer is a pithy handbook split into 11 chapters. There are sections focused on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn, offering both the basics of using each site as well as tips on how to get the most out of each platform. The style of the book is conversational and includes snippets of dialogue between Mills and Melson. These bits of conversation make the clear and practical advice feel almost like a coffee shop chat with friends.
Mills and Melson also include practice points at the end of each chapter to get us applying advice as we learn it. The two authors have created downloadable PDFs of Waypoints and Fixes that writers can access from their websites and use along with the book. Their call to hands-on application challenges the reader to not just passively take in advice but to really get started putting their words into action.
My 3 Biggest Takeaways:
While I’ve heard Edie Melson speak on social media before, I still always learn something new from her work. This book was no exception. Here are a few of the takeaways I gleaned from Social Media for Today’s Writer:
1. Using Hashtags in Bios
Admittedly, this is a simple point that probably sounds obvious to some writers. Even so, it never occurred to me to incorporate hashtags into my Twitter or Instagram bios, despite knowing the importance of using tags in my posts. Mills and Melson point out that our descriptions help our audience discover us. Having a clear bio with a few well-chosen tags helps us to connect with like-minded individuals and gives our readers a clear idea of who we are.
2. Building An Online Library
In chapter three, Mills and Melson recommend building an online library of resources you find useful. Curating a list of blogs, social media accounts, and websites that consistently publish great content gives us an easy way to find material for posts. This list allows us to find fun or informative content that we’ll want to share with our audience, without having to spend hours scouring the web. It also provides a quick reference of sites that fit with our brand, helping us to focus on posts that are relevant to our message.
3. Remembering the Blessings of Social Media
Mills and Melson end their book by discussing why they love social media. With all the different platforms to choose from, all the negativity that exists online, and the frustrations of trying to grow your platform, it can be easy to feel that social media is a horrible chore. It can get discouraging, feeling like it’s just another area to distract us from writing. But Mills and Melson remind us that social media is really just an extension of our writing life. Social media gives us the opportunity to share our message with a wider audience, to build community with people we might never meet, and to minister to more people. Remembering the good social media can accomplish can help us focus less on the numbers and more on the people we’re connecting with through these networks.
Final thoughts on Social Media for Today’s Writer:
This book is especially helpful for writers just getting started with building their social media, but it provides tips for writers further along as well. Mills and Melson give advice in an accessible way that makes social media less intimidating. It’s a great resource to have on your shelf if you’d like to learn how to use social media in an impactful way.