Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Twitter for Writers: Social Media and Your Author Platform — February 9, 2018

Twitter for Writers: Social Media and Your Author Platform

twitter-authors

I recently wrote a post about social media for writers – and, following on from this, I’m now focusing on advice specific to Twitter.

It’s the social media site, with which I’ve personally had the most success. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the best for writers. I hesitate to say the best, because everyone is different, and what works for each of us is going to vary. That said, if you asked me which one social media site you should really be on, as a writer, I would say Twitter, for sure.

So, let’s start at the beginning: Name.

Use your real name, or the pen name that you write under, unless there’s a particular reason not to do so.

Your profile picture should be a photograph of yourself – unless, again, there is a definite reason not to use your own image.

Use a logo, if appropriate – but no profile pictures featuring your pet dog or guinea pig, however cute said pet might be. If you want to feature your books, incorporate these images into your cover photo, whilst still allowing potential readers to see you, as the face of your author brand.

It’s usually advisable to use the same profile picture, for your various social media accounts.

It makes it so much easier for people to find you, if you look the same on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and so on. It’s generally recommended to use consistent cover pictures as well, although this can be difficult in practice, because different dimensions are required for each site. It’s certainly the ideal, but I must admit that my own cover images are currently not consistent, across the board.

Ensure that your profile information is complete, and that you include the URL of your website or blog, if you have one.

If you don’t yet have your own site, maybe link to your Facebook “fan” page, You Tube profile, or whichever site or profile seems most appropriate.

Consistency is very much key with Twitter.

This is the case with social media in general, but particularly so, when it comes to Twitter. You should definitely make use of scheduling and, if you can’t afford to pay for this, don’t worry. I’ve never paid to schedule my social media posts. There are so many free options and, for more information about schedulers, with an emphasis upon free alternatives, I recommend reading my post about how I schedule for social media. There’s also a follow-up post, in which I expand upon the information given in part one.

Post as frequently as 10 + times daily, for optimum results.

Yes, seriously. As long as you’re spacing your Tweets out, using some sort of scheduling system, it won’t be too much. Twitter moves fast, and you have to be posting regularly, if you want many people to see your content. You can recycle posts, much more so than on other networks, such as Facebook.

Post varied, quality content, such as writing and inspirational quotes, poetry, and links to blog posts and videos.

These links can be your own or other people’s, and should ideally be a mixture of both. If you include someone else’s link, you might want to tag the person, using their Twitter handle. Twitter is much more visual than many people realise. Aim to include images with the majority of Tweets, as this will increase the number of “likes” and Retweets that you receive.

Use hashtags.

They make a significant difference to your reach, and you will definitely be missing out, if you’re not including them. Don’t overdo it, however. 1 to 3 tags are the general recommendation. 4 is borderline. More than 4, and many people will view your post as “spam”. Over time, you will get to know which hashtags work best for you but, for anything writing related, you can’t really go wrong with #amwriting or/and #writerslife.

Another quick point about hashtags: Don’t just add them to your own posts, but “visit” them, too.

It’s a great way to find people in your niche, and make valuable connections.

Pin a Tweet to the top of your profile – a post that you particularly want people to see, when they land on your profile page.

It’s well worth the effort to do so.

Although scheduling can take care of most of your posting, it’s important to check into Twitter regularly – ideally once or more daily, most days.

When you do go on, make sure that you engage with others, and Retweet a selection of quality content, from the people you follow, or ones whose posts you find via hashtags, as previously mentioned.

So, those are the basics, in a nutshell. You’re welcome to follow me on Twitter, or any of my other networks.

I would also really appreciate it if you would share this, or/and any of my other posts, on social media. It makes a difference, and means a lot to me. Thank you for your support.

I also have posts about using Google Plus, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest, as part of your author platform.

Social Media for Writers: Building Your Author Platform — February 1, 2018

Social Media for Writers: Building Your Author Platform

social-media-authorsAs writers, we should be building our online platforms.

 

In days gone by, there was no internet, let alone social media, and writers still managed to get their work out there. However, it was much more difficult to do so. Not to use social media nowadays, as a writer, would put you at a serious disadvantage.

 

The question is, where do you start?

 

There are so many social media networks now. Do you need to be on them all? I would say, definitely not. In fact, there are so many alternatives that it’s hard to imagine anyone, who wasn’t a celebrity, with a huge following already, being successful on every platform. And someone in that position would, almost certainly, have dedicated teams to manage their various social media channels. Hardly comparable to the position that most of us are in, when we’re just starting out.

 

Most of us will find our personal favourites, by trial and error.

 

The networks that you actually enjoy are probably, on the whole, the ones to go with. There are, however, some that do tend to be more useful for connecting with other writers, or people from particular target audiences, so it’s worth keeping those factors in mind. I’m still in the early stages, when it comes to building my own platform, but am definitely starting to discover which platforms work for me.

 

 

Although, in this post, I’m primarily discussing social media, I should mention that it’s important to have a home base.

 

By this, I mean a website or blog – an online space, to direct your online traffic to, other than social media. And, no – an Amazon sales page alone isn’t sufficient.  Aim to include as much evergreen content as possible, on your website or blog.

 

 

Personally, my primary channel is Twitter.

 

It’s definitely one of the best for writers, especially from the point of view of connecting with other writers. Post regular, quality content: a combination of links, writing and inspirational quotes, videos, and so on. Ideally, post a mixture of your own content, and that of others, in your niche, or related areas.

 

Definitely, make use of scheduling, as consistency is key with Twitter, but do also ensure that you make time to engage with others on the platform.

 

Checking in daily, or at least most days, will help, although it doesn’t matter, if you can’t always keep this up, as long as you remain active, via scheduled posts – and make the effort to engage, when you do go on.

 

And use hashtags. 1 to 3 per post is the general recommendation.

 

I currently stick with 2. 4 is borderline, but more than that, and your posts will tend to be regarded as “spammy”. But don’t miss out by omitting them altogether, as they help significantly with reach. I recommend using #amwriting or/and #writerslife, on most writing related posts. Others that I regularly use are: #writing, #writingforever, #writetip, and #poetry.

 

Then, of course, there’s Facebook.

 

With even more forthcoming changes, that will impact upon the, already limited, reach of our Facebook pages, many people feel that it’s no longer a viable channel. I personally believe that it’s advisable for writers to have Facebook pages, but not to rely upon them as a primary traffic source. That is, unless you’re in a position to run paid ads.

 

Facebook groups, on the other hand, are a different matter, and probably the way forward, for writers who want to remain active on the site.

 

They are certainly time-consuming but, as long as you love using Facebook, can provide that ideal space, in which to build a community. If you don’t fancy starting up your own group, it might be a good idea to join a few existing ones, and participate in those. My own group, Writing Forever, at the time of writing, is comparatively new, and welcomes new members.

 

Tumblr, a very visual site, has a strong writing community.

 

Poetry, and writing and inspirational quotes, are popular. Tumblr drives very little traffic to my blog, but I find the site inspiring and enjoyable to use, and have received positive feedback on my posts.

 

Hashtags are effective on here, but not exactly the same ones as on other sites, such as Twitter.

 

Try #writing, #lit, #prose, and #poetry. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but I’ve heard that only the first 5 tags register on Tumblr’s search facilities. Beyond that, they only function to search within your own Tumblr page. I tend to use 2-4 tags on Tumblr. I do also find the queueing system – mentioned in my social media scheduling post – invaluable.

 

Google Plus – now, this is an interesting one.

 

In general, people tend to dismiss it, but actually, I really like it, and think that it’s worth taking just a little time to investigate this network. If nothing else, because it’s part of Google, and being active on here does appear to help somewhat with SEO.

 

If you have a Google account – which anyone who has a You Tube channel, or Blogger site, does – you automatically have a Google Plus page.

 

It doesn’t take much effort to update it, now and again.

 

Hashtags do work on Google Plus, but this platform tends towards descriptive, “does what it says on the tin” tags.

 

Many popular Twitter tags don’t work at all. #Writing, #fiction and #poetry will get you further than #MotivationalMonday. Sometimes I do end up using Twitter hashtags, simply because I send a percentage of posts via Buffer to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, simultaneously. However, when I post specifically on Google Plus, I opt for more generalised tags.

 

My main advice for using Google Plus successfully is to set up Collections, on topics of interest.

 

These are similar, in a sense, to Pinterest boards – and I’ll talk about Pinterest, in a moment. Collections are shown to other Google Plus users, and you can potentially end up with additional subscribers to individual Collections, who may not even follow your account, as a whole. They’re probably one of the best ways to get your posts seen on the site, and so easy to set up.

 

Communities may also help, but these are equivalent to Facebook groups, and potentially more time-consuming.

I don’t really have enough experience to comment upon their benefits or otherwise, but they may be worth exploring.

09/10/2018 update: I was sad to learn that Google Plus is apparently closing next year, as a consumer website.

 

I more or less ignored Pinterest for years, but lately, I’ve become obsessed.

 

I’m building my Pinterest boards, and learning more about the platform via various blog posts and You Tube videos. And yes, You Tube is awesome, and coming next on my list.

 

As for Pinterest – well, I’m exploring it, and loving it, but am very much in the early stages.

 

It’s more of a visual search engine, rather than a conventional social media site, and I’ve heard amazing things about Pinterest, for driving website traffic. That said, I’m not using any sort of scheduling, Boardboaster or Tailwind, and haven’t got into group boards either, so can’t advise on any of that.  August 2018 update: I still pin manually, but should point out that Boardboaster has recently closed down. I do now have some experience with group boards. My Pinterest post elaborates.

 

July 2018 update: See my recent post about using Pinterest, as part of your author platform.

 

You Tube, as I mentioned, is awesome.

 

I watch many You Tube videos. I comment on a decent number. What I don’t do is to make them myself. Well, I did upload a couple, towards the end of 2017. Short clips of our pet cockatiels. But honestly, if you’re confident enough to make writing videos on You Tube, go for it. You Tube also, in common with Pinterest, has the bonus of being a powerful search engine. It’s a great platform for writers – probably one of the best. It’s also an excellent resource for research.

 

So, how about Instagram?

 

Or Linked In, Snapchat, Reddit, Stumble Upon – and all the others I’ve missed? Basically, yes – you can use any of them, as a writer. I simply can’t advise on them, because I lack experience on the platforms.  That said, I’m becoming more active on Instagram right now.  Oh, and I’m also on Flickr – although not on my original account, which I’ve unfortunately been unable to access, in recent years.

July 2018 update: See my recent Instagram for Writers post, as I do now regularly use Instagram, as part of my author platform.

 

There are so many options out there. Hopefully, you will find at least one or two that work for you.  Also, do take a look at my post about how to build your author brand. And there is now a new Social Media for Writers 2019 post, which may be of interest.

 

Keep believing.

 

Find me on social media.

 

 

Facebook Changes, Pinterest, and All Things Social Media — January 19, 2018

Facebook Changes, Pinterest, and All Things Social Media

facebook-changes

This is an update to one of my posts from December 2017, in which I discussed some of my thoughts about Facebook pages and groups, going into 2018.

It turns out that I was being too optimistic about the possibility of organic growth on Facebook, certainly in relation to business/fan pages. The forthcoming changes to the newsfeed could effectively mean that most of us will soon reach none of the people who have “liked” or/and followed our pages: literally, none. To be honest, at times, it isn’t far off that already, for many of us.

I set up my groups, Writing Forever and Music Forever, towards the end of last year, and groups are definitely the way forward on Facebook, as far as I understand it.

Other than posts from friends and family, and paid ads, it could be the only way in which to reach our audiences, in the future.

In terms of scheduling, about which I have already written a post, and a part 2, it may become almost pointless to use schedulers such as Buffer, for Facebook posts.

I currently use a combination of Buffer, Facebook’s native scheduler, and some real time posting, and would consider using Facebook’s own schedulers entirely, if that would increase my chances of people actually seeing my posts. I’m not sure that it will, from what I’m hearing. For now, my posts that are going via Buffer to Twitter and Google Plus anyway, might as well continue to go to Facebook, as I get very little reach on the posts – but still, something.

It is also unclear whether, in the future, posts will be seen by our friends, when shared via our fan pages.

At the moment, sharing to our Timelines can help somewhat. I’m hoping that this will continue to be the case.

Whilst I feel disillusioned about yet more changes to the Facebook algorithm, which don’t appear to be ones for the better, I will always seek positive solutions.

I hope to focus upon building a community via my groups, although I do tend to be inconsistent on social media, due to having multiple projects, and struggling with health and personal problems. I’m also completely neglecting my novel. I need to find the right balance: an ongoing challenge.

Lately, I’ve been exploring Pinterest, and this could well become one of my main social media channels.

Twitter will probably always be my favourite, the one that I return to, but I’m definitely feeling inspired by Pinterest, and continue to enjoy Tumblr and Google Plus, as and when.

September 2018 update: I’ve made significant progress with Pinterest, since writing this post.  See my Pinterest for Writers post.

Going back to the subject of Facebook – if you do “like” any or all of my pages, please consider adjusting your settings to “See First”.

It’s an option, listed on the drop-down “Following/Notifications” menu, at the top of the page. You’re significantly more likely to be shown my subsequent posts, and I would really appreciate the support. It makes a difference.

Find me on social media – via this post, which includes links to my various profiles and pages. I’ve updated this, to include links to my Facebook groups, and my Pinterest profile.

For quick reference, my Facebook pages are: Paula Puddephatt – Author, Vibrant Darkness – Poems by Paula, and 80s/90s Music.

Keep believing.

Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, and Twitter: Going Into 2018 — December 12, 2017

Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, and Twitter: Going Into 2018

facebook-group-page-twitter

Like many of us, I’ve seen the best and worst side of Facebook.

From personal experience, the best place to start, for a writer, when trying to grow an audience from scratch (or close), is definitely Twitter.

Facebook is much more challenging, and it’s beyond discouraging when you are posting your consistent, hopefully quality, content, and Facebook is showing some of these posts to about two people.

Literally. You can throw a “one hundred percent conversion rate” party, when a post is shown to three people, and you actually manage to get three “likes”. I know, I know – “pay to play” – but that doesn’t work for those of us who are starting out, and don’t have an advertising budget. There are strategies that help with organic growth on Facebook, but I’m not in a position to give much specific advice about these right now, because I’m honestly not there yet.

However, I’m not giving up, and I do believe that organic growth on Facebook is possible.

It takes time and effort, like everything else in life. I sometimes think it’s ironic, that I’ve watched so many You Tube videos, and read so many blog posts, about all things social media related, and yet, I don’t see to get anywhere fast. But hey, do I need to get anywhere fast? If it takes me longer, so be it. This is a journey, and I can appreciate it.

At the start of 2017, I had Vibrant Darkness, my poetry page, which I had more or less abandoned.

Other than that, only my profile page. This year, I started to update Vibrant Darkness, and also set up my author page, and 80s/90s Music page. The retro music angle, incidentally, does tie in with my writing somewhat, as well as covering an area of interest, since I write modern historical fiction, set primarily in the 1980s. And very recently, I ventured into setting up Facebook groups, Writing Forever and Music Forever, to help build more of a community, which is a major difference between Facebook pages and groups. I’m in the early stages, but hopeful.

This time last year, my approach to social media was completely random and chaotic.

I only had a few hundred followers on Twitter: now my main social media channel, where I’m currently working towards 3k, my next milestone – but, more importantly, enjoying the community, and trying to give back something of value, to the amazing people I’ve been able to connect with on there. I’m still random and chaotic, but perhaps a little less so – a work in very slow progress, just like my novel. And, yes – I have now officially updated this blog in December: consistently inconsistent, right?

January 2018 update: I’ve written another post, covering Facebook pages and groups, and Pinterest, in which I touch upon the latest changes, announced by Facebook.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Find me on social media.

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 2 — November 19, 2017

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 2

automation-2

I shared a post recently about how I schedule my social media posts.

If you haven’t read that, I would suggest that you do so, before reading this.

As I mentioned before, I primarily use Twittimer for scheduling Tweets – and also regularly use Buffer for posts that I decide to send simultaneously to Twitter, Google Plus, and my Facebook author page.

I’m trying to schedule more posts to my Facebook pages via their native scheduling system – but am not currently consistent, in how often I actually go on to Facebook. I try to keep up with regularly posting on my various Facebook pages, and I also want to ensure that my author page on there offers more than simply duplicating a percentage of my Twitter posts. That’s the aim, anyway.

I mentioned that I had signed up for Social Oomph, and used it a few times, but wasn’t yet particularly familiar with it.

Since then, I have discovered a little more, by trial and error. I wasn’t using it much, because I couldn’t see much advantage, over Twittimer and Buffer – especially given that it doesn’t allow posts to be saved and reposted, even for a limited time, unless you upgrade to the paid service.

However, I did experiment with using Social Oomph, exclusively for my poetry graphic posts, partly because I could do with all the scheduling help I can get, should I decide to have a week or more away from social media, over Christmas and New Year – but that’s a whole story, in itself.

Anyway, I expected it to stop me from scheduling, once I reached the standard ten posts, but it didn’t – and I don’t know what the limit is, because I have apparently not reached it, as yet. I have scheduled poetry and writing advice graphics for the rest of the year, and so far, it is working out well. It isn’t as efficient to physically use as Twittimer and Buffer because, with the Social Oomph free package, you do have to add save the text part of the post initially, and then go back into it, via the edit function, to add any images.

Because I’m now using multiple schedulers on a regular basis, I’m attempting to be more organised – always a challenge for me – and am developing systems, so that I avoid posting more than one update at identical times.

I am also, increasingly, sticking with a “this scheduler for this type of post” system. Hopefully, I can manage not to become completely confused and overwhelmed…!

Sending love to all of my friends and social media followers. You’re awesome. And for my long-suffering Twitter followers – a heartfelt thank you, and I am aware of my tendencies, such as over-Retweeting in batches, and maybe still over-posting in general, on occasions. It’s a journey, like everything else in life, and we’re all learning constantly. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, and inspired me to keep going.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Find me on social media.

Find Me on Social Media — November 5, 2017
How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 1 — November 1, 2017

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 1

automation-1

I’ve started to schedule social media posts this year, and it’s awesome.

I’m on a very limited budget, and have only ever used free services, which currently works out fine for me.

As a slightly related side note, I have to say that disconnecting Twitter from my Facebook profile page was the best thing I ever did.

Shortly after, Tumblr randomly “decided” to disconnect from Twitter, also – and, again, this has turned out to be a blessing. Each platform is different, with its own audience and atmosphere, and I really never tuned in to Twitter or Tumblr before. I used them both principally as ways to indirectly post to Facebook. My approach to social media has completely changed, and I now regard Twitter as my main social media site. That said, I am more active on my Facebook poetry page, Vibrant Darkness, than I have been in previous years, and I have also launched my author page, focusing more upon the fiction side of my writing, and a page dedicated to retro music, from the 1980s and 1990s. I also have a blog and Twitter page, covering the retro music side of my interests.

The main scheduler that I use, on a daily basis, is Twittimer.

I use it for updating my primary Twitter account, and I can’t speak highly enough of it. It’s straightforward to use, and meets all of my requirements. You can schedule up to ten Tweets at a time: text, images and links. I’ve only ever had a handful of “failed Tweets” with this app, and have always, in these cases, been able to do “send now”, after which my Tweet has been posted.

I also use Buffer, and this is set up to post on Twitter (main account), my Facebook author page, and Google Plus.

Again, they allow up to ten posts to be scheduled for free, and text, images and links are all fine. I’ve had slightly more failed posts than on Twittimer, but still an extremely low number, as a percentage of the number of posts sent. In general, the failed posts do eventually send, although there have been a handful that were lost entirely, and a few posts that didn’t make it to one or more of the connected networks. On the whole, however, Buffer works beautifully – and their customer service is excellent.

I’ve recently joined Social Oomph, and so far, that is working fine, but I can’t see it taking over from Twittimer or Buffer.

If you do want to use this as a free scheduler, I’ve got a quick tip. It gives the impression that you won’t be able to upload images, unless you upgrade to the paid version. This isn’t the case. You have to initially save your post as text only, but later, there is an option to add an image. I’ve only linked Social Oomph to Twitter.

I use the native Facebook scheduler for Vibrant Darkness, my author page and 80s/90s Music.

It’s easy to use, and there is the option of scheduling posts further in advance.

After not touching Tumblr for approximately ten months, I recently went back on there, and discovered their queueing system, which I absolutely love.

Currently, my Tumblr posts ten times daily, during the time frame I specified, and it’s working out well.

A couple of days ago, I tried out Tweet Deck, for posting to my 80s/90s Music Twitter page.

I found it slightly awkward to use, but it did work, and I will hopefully use it again soon.

So, there you have it: a few highlights from Paula’s Adventures in Social Media Scheduler Land.

The adventure will continue and, if my systems change over time, I might write another post on this topic, at some point.

Quick update: There is now a Part 2 for this post.  You can also find me on social media.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Abandoned Blogs, Multiple Twitter Accounts, and my Facebook Pages — August 21, 2017

Abandoned Blogs, Multiple Twitter Accounts, and my Facebook Pages

abandoned-blogs-socialOkay, so first things first: the new blog – as in, this one.

By the time that I got the thing set up – and I can barely remember now what the specific technical issues were – well, let’s just say that I lost some of the initial enthusiasm. The result has been – a lack of actual blog posts.

I moved from Blogger to WordPress, but even then, I set up a hosted site, rather than self-hosted.

For now, I’m just running with it. I also know that it isn’t regarded as “professional” not to have your own domain, but I have to be confident that I’m going to stay with this site, before I can justify any sort of expenditure, especially on my very limited budget. November 2018 update: I did upgrade recently, but am still using WordPress.com. It works for me right now. I still feel that there is too much stigma attached to “free websites”, and not owning your own domain. But I actually do now have a “proper domain”, which is awesome.

One question that people sometimes ask is why I have set up so many blogs, over the years – and why I abandon blogs and set up new ones, instead of simply staying with one, and shifting the focus somewhat.

There is no clear answer to that, except that it’s so easy to start again, and I feel refreshed and set free from previous attempts. However, this time, I really do hope to settle in one place. I’m not going to make too many “rules” about what subjects to cover, at least not initially. If I’m posting at all, that will be progress, and I don’t want to create further obstacles for myself.

Right, now the issue of multiple Twitter accounts.

My main and original Twitter account is the one that I currently use. My secondary account, called Paula Writes, was supposed to be a “writing only” page, which I didn’t “spam” with music posts and the like.

The truth is that I try not to spam any of my social media pages with my favourite music videos, or anything else, nowadays. I try, and I think that I mostly succeed – and I still share music videos, in moderation, because it’s a part of who I am. It doesn’t really work for me to divide myself into different “parts” on Twitter, and I forget to update the second account.

That said, some of the followers on there don’t follow my primary page, and to deactivate altogether feels drastic – so we’ll see. November 2018 update: See my note, at the end of this post, about my Twitter accounts. The Paula Writes one no longer exists.

One additional reason why I set up the page was so that I could post to Twitter without posting to my Facebook profile page, but I removed the Twitter to Facebook connection, in any case, last year.

I had to take some time out from Facebook, for various personal reasons, and seriously considered leaving – but ultimately, stayed with it, and am finally making regular posts on my poetry page, Vibrant Darkness, with a little help from scheduling.

I have just launched an author page on Facebook, too – where I hope to focus more upon the fiction side of writing.

 

I hope that this is clear. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my journey, and who continues to do so. I deeply appreciate it.

Find me on social media.  Also, please note that I did deactivate the “writing only” Twitter page, since publishing this post.  My main account, however, does focus primarily upon writing and related subject areas.  I have a different account, dedicated to music from the 1980s and 1990s.  Twitter is definitely one of the best places to connect with me online.

Update on the Paula Writes blog, as we head towards 2019

 

 

 

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