Five Things Every Writer Should Know About Instagram.

I like to call Instagram the Twitter of pictures.

For those of you who don’t know, Instagram is a picture heavy social media site. It also hosts videos as well. Probably in competition to TikTok and YouTube, but personally, I like it just for pictures.

Instagram is one of my favourite social media platforms. I post so many different types of photos, from personal to business and connect with others who do the same, but it’s my favourite because I don’t have to think of something clever to say, like I try to do on Twitter. With Instagram, I can throw up a picture and leave it at that, and honestly, it’s one of the simplest platforms to use, and like all platforms there are good and bad sides to it, so here are 5 things you need to know about Instagram.

  1. Picture heavy. As a writer, you want to reach as many people as possible and that means you have to expand your audience to include non-writing people as well, and Instagram is a good place to start. I think of it as another way to be creative. You can post pictures of themes that run through your story, maybe of actors or places that you used for character and story inspiration. I sometimes post snippets of my works-in-progress. A visual excerpt of the actual word file.
  • You can link to other platforms. Instagram is owned by Facebook (or do we call them Meta now?), but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to what you can connect to. Facebook -yes, Twitter – yes, Tumblr – yes, and I have it connected to my WordPress blog, so pictures come up in a side bar. Connecting one social media platform to another an greatly expands the range of your audience and you may pick up a follower or two.
  • Limitation on what you can do with pictures. Apart from a few filters, Instagram doesn’t have a lot of options to fancy up your photos, BUT, you can upload pictures from your computer, so if you do something fancy in whatever paint program you have, you can easily share it.
  • Can use hashtags just like with Twitter. The whole purpose of having social media accounts is to connect with others, and it’s much easier when you use hashtags. You can even follow certain hashtag topics, so anyone who uses ones you’re following, will pop up in your stream, and vice-versa.
  • Very user friendly. After Twitter and a blog, I would suggest (once you feel comfortable) having an Instagram account. Want to post a picture? Click on the icon of a box with a (+) sign, and it will either open a box (on your computer) to drag a photo, or, on your phone it will have all pictures that is in your gallery, and you just pick the one you want. You can do multiple pictures as well by clicking the double screen icon on the bottom right-hand corner.

Instagram has been around for almost twelve years and there isn’t a business site that doesn’t have an account. It’s fun, simple to use, but it can be a time suck as well. There are so many creative ways a writer can use the platform to promote themselves and their work. I’ve mentioned a few in this post, but if you think of others, I’d love to hear it. I’m always looking for a good idea for a picture.

Five Things Every Writer Should Know About . . . Facebook.

When I thought up this series last year, I had a love hate relationship with Facebook, but over the last little while, between what’s happened with them in the last few months, to the fact that it really doesn’t help writers other than provide a time suck, I no longer suggest Facebook for authors, but it’s still worth a look so here are Five Things Every Writer Should Know About Facebook.

1 – Facebook is a time suck. Unfamiliar with that term? It just means you can waste hours scrolling through posts of your friend’s cat pictures, silly game promos, and the never-ending barrage of meme posts. Facebook, like all other social media platforms, does NOT sell books, and quite frankly, there’s nothing you can do on it that you can’t do on the others. The ONLY reason I’m still on it is because of the friends I’ve made.

2. Facebook does not sell books. There have been numerous posts regarding their paid post promos, but I haven’t heard anything good. Only that they got the author’s money, and the author didn’t get anything in return. I had an author page and was constantly bombarded with requests from Facebook to promote my latest post for a few dollars. I never fell for it because the information I saw from other authors who did, didn’t impress me.

3. Algorithms – Facebook’s algorithms are notorious – good and bad, but it’s the same with any program that uses them. You just have to understand how they work. It takes some time, but you can manipulate them to show you what you want, but you must be vigilant about it. One slip and you can go spiraling down a rabbit hole.   

4. Keeps you connected – the ONLY reason I still have Facebook, is to keep connected with friends. That’s it. I don’t use it for anything else. I had an author page, but I would forget to update it, or my posts weren’t being seen by the amount of people it claimed were following. This is where they make you pay to get your posts ‘seen’ in more places. Personally, if they would just put it up in the feeds of people who followed it, I’d have no problem.

5. Groups: Facebook groups are another plus for this platform. There are groups for just about everything, and it comes with it’s only good/bad points. Social media is about connection and connecting, and at the beginning of its life, Facebook was great at that, but somewhere in the last decade it’s descended into becoming one of Dante’s levels of hell. Which is sad because connection is a cornerstone for authors to sell books.

Facebook groups and connecting with friends is about the only good thing about this program, and I may just write a post on it.

Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? Some aspect about Facebook (good or bad) that I’ve left out?

Five Things Every Writer Should Know About Twitter.

This post might seem generic or even obvious, but I feel it’s good to remind people just what this platform can do, and try to make it less intimidating. One of the fastest, and most prolific forms of online communication, Twitter came onto the social media scene in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2010 that it exploded. Since then, it has become one of the main ways people get a lot their information—good and bad, and a wonderful way for authors to connect with readers and other authors.

If I had to list in order, the platforms authors should be on, Twitter would be second (a blog being first). Because it’s written, it’s the next logical step for any author who wants to build their online presence, and agents along with publishers are looking for a strong presence, but it can be contentious as well. It’s a good way to expand your author platform: For the new writer, Twitter is the first step into a very large pond. With the majority of posts in real-time, you can get an almost instant feel for the publishing world through this medium. Agents, authors and publishing houses post daily and the best thing, you can interact with them. With all the pros and cons of the platform I’ve put together things every writer should know.

1. Automated Tweets: This is a must for writers when you’re promoting your work. It’s great for when you’re at work or reaching an audience that is awake when you’re asleep. Consistency is everything and automated tweets can help.

2. It’s a simple to use: Sign up, and start tweeting. That’s it. There is a Twitter phone app that allows you to post from anywhere you are. A great thing if you want to give short updates from conventions.

3. Hashtags: Connecting to hashtags allows authors to pinpoint their audience to understand what it is that they’re looking for. Every genre has it’s own hashtag and with apps like Tweetdeck, you can follow as many as you want.

4. Can connect to other social media platforms: Along with automated tweets, being able to connect all your platforms is a time saver. Twitter can connect to most blog programs, allowing your followers to discover another side of you.

5. It’s addictive: Like all social media, you can lose track of time. Not a good thing to be doing if you have other things to do. Some people set aside a certain amount of time to scroll, which is a good idea, especially if you’re at work.

What are some things you like/dislike about Twitter, or is there anything I should add?

Five Things Every Writer Should Know About Blogging.

One of the first forms of social media, the blog has been a staple in social media process for nearly twenty years. You can read a short history of blogging HERE, and while articles pop up every few years or so on how blogging is dead, it really isn’t. The fact that many of the originals are still around is testimony to that, and I doubt very much that it’ll go away any time soon. Why? Because blogging is one of the easiest forms of social media, and with this in mind, here are five things every writer should know.

  1. Think outside the blog.

Blogging is a good way to connect with readers, expecially when you write about things OTHER than your work. Readers want a way to connect, either through shared experience, hobbies or lifestyle. Give that to them. You can go into as much detail as you want, but show them that there’s more to you than just a book.

  1. You don’t have to write out long, drawn-out posts.

The goal of every blogger is to have followers return again and again, and one of those ways is to keep the posts short. Several years ago I read an article that stated the average blog post should be around three hundred words, but that can be too short. I aim for anyting between 300 – 500 (FYI, this post is 498). That’s a good length, especially if you’re struggling to find something to write about. There’s nothing wrong with posts being longer, but short, inciteful post were found to be more popular.

  1. Being consistent is key, but don’t over burden yourself.

Keeping to a schule can be difficult, even with experienced bloggers. There are going to be days when you don’t feel like it, or can’t really think of anything to say. When this happens, take some time for yourself. Write fewer posts or take a break altogether. Creative burnout is a real thing and it can carry over to all aspects of your writing.

  1. Blogs are a good way to promote yourself and your books.

Look over other writer’s blog sites and you’ll see links to their work, or information on upcoming work. A blog is one of the few places that a writer can go into detail about their work to a captive audience. After all, they want to know about your books, otherwise they wouldn’t be clicking on your blog.

  1. Connect your blog to other social media to increase your message.

This is one of the easiest ways to maximise your reach. With many social media sites you can save time by connecting them together. Instagram can connect to Twitter and Facebook. TicTok can connect to Instagram and Twitter, and reaching more people with interesting content will draw more people to the places where you’re selling your books.

There you have it, 5 things every writer should know about blogs.

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