So I keep reading up on social media strategies…
The kind geared toward writers, if you know what I mean. I keep thinking I’m going to run across some revelation I haven’t found yet.
I know, I’m a big research nerd like that.
You know the ones I’m talking about, though, right? Like best practices for writers on social media and the best ways to use social media to interact with people who like your genre and bla bla fucking bla social media and introvert writer craptastic solutions to solve all your problems.
You know what I’ve noticed? Many of these things espouse upon the virtues of just being yourself even when you’re an introvert. Okay, that or “fake it ’til you make it”. There’s about a million out there, so I’m sure you’ve read at least as many as I have. So far? None of these things have told me anything new and most of them are just a rehash of everything I’ve read before. Which irks me on the one hand, that I keep wasting research time going over old ground.
But on the other? One of the things this particular advice makes me think to myself is, if I’m being myself? I’m a natural introvert. But I want to be entertained by words. So to me, to put some words out there they better be bloody entertaining to be up to my own standards. But then they’re telling me to fake it, so those words would have to be lies, because most days? I’m just not that interesting and for the most part not that outgoing, y’know? This causes a dilemma for me and I can’t be the only writer like this.
So I’m losing trying that strategy, because as a writer, I feel that any time I have to fake it, I lose and so does the reader. So sucks to be me, I guess?
And then, of course, because me being me…
My brain has to venture down this road to see every possible permeation and variation and it occurs to me this means a large number of those who appear to be consistently entertaining on social media are just faking it. And probably aren’t going to make it any time soon. Which leaves the rest of the small minority of everyone else who actually is interesting and entertaining on an ongoing basis and I betcha? None of them are introvert writers. Although, to be fair, I’m sure there are a few who are.
Anyway, I don’t know about everyone else, but most of what this advice does for me is create conflict. Conflict in myself. If I fake it? Then I’m not being true to myself, which means, I lose. And if I don’t fake it? I’m not going to be very active, because I’m just not that spontaneously entertaining most days. And I also feel it’s wrong to put words out just for the sake of it. I mean, what if I’m just not feeling it?
Then I guess I lose again, no?
But that’s only the tip of the social media iceberg…
There’s advice telling me I should be on a million different varieties of social media. But that would take me all day every day to keep up on. So when would I write?
Other advice tells me to jealously guard my writing time. Okay, I’m on board with that. So I should limit my social media activity to less than an hour a day or even as little as 20 minutes. But how is that humanly possible when I need to interact on all these social media channels every day? And you know what? When you’re not naturally, spontaneously interesting, it takes a lot longer to get those words out. So much for the time limit.
So if I spend the amount of time it takes to run through all my social media and do a good job at it, then I lose my writing time. Or I make a choice and keep my writing time and lose out on interaction through my too-many social media channels. Clearly, going to lose out on one or the other.
Oh, and let’s not forget coming up with a marketing strategy, right? Can’t forget that. There’s a holiday around every corner to plan ahead for, create or find images for. Gah! And the search for or creation of which also takes time away from writing. So I either lose on taking advantage of the marketing boost around every holiday if I choose to write or again? Lose my writing time if I spend time working on all this strategising and image finding/creating.
But wait, there’s more!
Over here, someone is telling me I should pay for a service that looks after my social media channels. To keep them “fresh”. But if I’m paying for a service,then I’m not interacting and wasn’t that the whole point of being on social media to begin with? Now, I’m losing and confused.
Because over there, I’m being told to never use a service, because it’s a waste of money (which I tend to agree with) and since it’s just a feed, it’s not a real representation of you. Okay, I’m with you, I get that. But again, no human way to keep up on all these channels without using a service or at the very least some kind of tool. With nothing? This requires being hooked-up all day long to keep on top of this stuff. What a pain in the butt.
Maybe you don’t have a problem with this, but if you’re like me? Being “connected” has adverse effects on creativity. So I’m not hooked-up all day long, so I can actually get some writing done and I don’t know, get some life in around all this social media. But when I’m not constantly connected I’m missing out on the “social” part of social media. And I’ll take a hit if someone were to ask me a question that I can’t answer in .03 of a nanosecond.
So, I lose again?
Wow. Apparently I really suck at this, eh?
Yeah, you know what? I do suck at it. And you know why? Because I’m a writer not a marketing expert. I don’t get off on creating and thinking up content for my social media feeds. And you know what?
I’m okay with that. You know why? Again, because I’m a writer. If I have something interesting to say or share I do. But it’s not every second of every day.
You know that old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Especially as a self-published writer, you do end up wearing many hats to run your business. It does make you a jack of all trades. But you don’t need to be a master of all of them, especially not social media. Definitely do learn what you need to learn, read everything, try everything. And then do what works for you without letting it get in the way of your writing.
Never forget, the only trade you should be devoting the bulk of your time to is your writing. That’s the one you want to master. Without that? It doesn’t matter how awesome you are at social media, because you won’t have any product to sell. And it’ll become apparent very quickly when people start picking up your stuff out of interest and find out your work doesn’t live up to the hype on your social media channels.
If you’re an introvert, you can still express your personality and your interests through the social media channels you choose to maintain by curating your own content. Don’t use a feed that serves up content everyone else is sharing, too. This is your chance to be different and stand out. Share things you run across in the course of your week and just use some scheduling software to deliver it through the day when you’re focussed on writing. Then you get the best of both worlds – not having to be stuck looking at your feeds all day long and self-curated content that reflects you. Over time, that content will showcase your interests and give people a feel for your personality. And when the mood strikes you? Go with it and reach out! Some days, you’ll be witty, so use it.
Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me? Don’t try to do everything, because you’ll end up sucking at a lot of it. Choose a couple of social media channels that appeal to you the most and just use those. If you’re going to use any at all, it’s better to do a good job on a couple than a crap job on all of them.
Blogging is included in that, so if you’re more comfortable on your blog? Make that your main form of sharing. It’s great for your SEO and search engines love them, so don’t feel you’re missing out, because you’d rather write articles than be on Facebook. It’s okay, you’re allowed. If blogging isn’t your thing and one of your hobbies is taking pictures? Use a feed that’s primarily image-based like Instagram as your main avenue to convey your personality. A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?
The point is, despite the multitude of conflicting advice articles in this area, there’s no one right way to approach it. No two writers are the same, so no two approaches to social media will end up working the same way for them. As a writer? Embrace being a “social media loser”. Do some trial-and-error and settle on a social media approach that makes sense for you and your small business.
Don’t worry about comparing yourself to anyone else. If it works for you? You’re winning!