Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Social Media Monster

via wikipedia
Social media can make (see Amanda Hocking ) or break your career, or it can leave you in the dust wondering why everything is passsing you by (Homework: Nathan Bransford's article about Chances). As an aspiring author, I realize the social media beast must be tamed, but finding the right way to go about that task is...daunting.

Serendipitously, my WNBA group (books, not basketball) recently devoted an entire evening to social media, with some great PR panelists to guide us along the path to enlightenment. I picked up some great clues to grow my sphere of influence.

Key notes on blog content: 

Expert knowledge- Choose topics you really like. I can write all day about Turkey!
Engage your audience- Be approachable. Cater the voice to your audience.
Entertain with interesting material- Share great content your audience. The internet is a great place to mine!

Next step:

Tag your blog posts and create a path for readers to follow on your site. For example, say I write about Cilician Pirates... there should be several posts with that tag. Seed posts with teasers about upcoming topics. *ahem* Link back to posts you've already written. (I get the concept. I try.)

Take it farther:

Feed your blog into Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media account you have.
Arm yourself with widgets like Link Within.
Follow bloggers with similar posts and don't forget to comment.
Tweet related info or interesting bits about your topic. (This is where I fall off the cart.)
Find people who are the best Online Influencers and share with them. When (if) they interact with you, their followers are led to your site. Who are these online influencers? Well, they usually have the most followers, and they are the perceived experts.

Monitor Effectiveness:

Use Google Analytics for your site data to recognize successful topics and plot new ones. To compare your blog authority with others, try Technorati or another rating tool. (To which I say: Do I really want to rate my insignificance? Really?)

Reputation Management:

After the recent author review debacle, we all can use a little reminder here. We are responsible for our own reputation. This means a) not writing things that can bite us back, and b) creating enough good content to bury the odd negative remark. Another good point to remember here is that faithful followers are the best defenders. If you are not building an online presence for yourself, someone else will do it for you. Many people have pounded this into my head, so it's my turn to pass on the tough love. Also, keep your social media profiles current. (WTH is my password for Linked In?)

If you can't do it, find someone who can!

There are people out there who can ghost for you. Maybe its a family member, or a local small business.... It's your message. Own it!

Thank you shout out to the awesome WNBA Panelists who inspired this post:

Kelly Yale of Paper Blossom Marketing ( She reps authors, btw)
Rebecca Plaisance of  Macaroni Kid Charlotte
Lyell Petersen, Director of Web Strategy for
Jessica Daitch, Public Relations Specialist and Freelance writer


Don't forget to enter the contest for a copy of Tracy Marchini's new e-book, PUB SPEAK: A WRITER’S DICTIONARY OF PUBLISHING TERMS. I'm taking entries until 6 p.m. EST tomorrow. Results will be in Friday's post on Treehouse Hotels.

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Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great post. I'm all for keeping up with social media, but some of it is beyond my very limited technical skills and I find it's very difficult to find time for everything. Suggestions on how to get the most benefit for your 15 minutes?

Sarah said...

Great post. I'm still figuring all this stuff out, especially the tools you can use to get links to my blog out there.

PT Dilloway said...

Hee hee, WNBA. Probably more people in your group than a WNBA game.

I've done most of the stuff you say. Still doesn't work.

Carolyn Abiad said...

@Susanna - Blog. It can be once a week. It doesn't have to be long. It can be commentary on something you've read somewhere else. The key is to share information. (Use keywords in the title. I noticed Google likes that.) Then set things up to feed from your blog to Facebook to Twitter. On the other days, comment on other blogs. The more things with your name on it, the more Google has to pull. I'm not sure how Twitter helps Google. Anyone know that answer to that?

@ Rogue Mutt - I've heard that using a real or pen name provides better results and that your blog url should be yourname dot com. (Experts: feel free to chime in here!)

LTM said...

ahh, great goddess of bloggie wisdom! :D These are such, such great points. And the whole thing about reputation mgmt, when are negative comments ever not odd? ;p You're right, though. If we're not building our online persona, someone else will. Great one~ :o) <3

Matthew MacNish said...

This is all very good advice, thanks Carolyn!

Chris Phillips said...

I hadn't heard about the author review thing. Good advice.

Lydia Kang said...

Great stuff and advice in here! Thank you!

Unknown said...

Great links.

I think you're right about the author's name being the url. My website is

Hart Johnson said...

Great reminders! I fall down on that same one you do, though part of my problem is I don't have a TOPIC so much as being a play place. I suppose i could tweet when I read cool llama stories *shifty*. But I think the BIGGEST blog thing is being ourselves. I think it is hard to MAINTAIN if we aren't, and I think if a reader doesn't feel like they are getting to know us, they won't feel the kinship thing that allows us to eventually start the crank (do that work for us)

I've always said we either need to be helpful or entertaining, but when I was classifying you, you fall in between--it isn't like the 'write better blogs' it's more like sharing cool entertaining stuff but that we could USE if our topic hit...

Chris K. said...

Thanks for the tips. Even after nearly a year, I'm still figuring out how to make this blog stuff work for me.

I'm starting up a 'Critiquing Crusaders' program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form critiquing circles. If you're interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

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