Social Media for Historical Fiction Writers, Part 3: The Basics

In this post, we’re going to go over the basics of social media: what it is and why it’s important for a writer to build up their social media (some of which I covered a bit in my previous post).  After this, we should get into the posts about specific social media.

Social Media for HF Writers P03

So, what is social media?  According to Merriam-Webster, social media (plural) are “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)“.  Basically, it’s a way to share our thoughts with others, in whichever form we choose.  Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, even WordPress – all can be seen as some form of social media.  We are sharing what we think is important, as opposed to something like a news website, which is sharing what they think their audience might find important (generally, news pertaining to their specific area of coverage).  The difference between social media and “regular” media is that social media is easily updated, and is prime for sharing/making comments, and provides a personal feel to the “reporting”.

Of course, every social media site is different, but let’s talk about what’s generally the same between platforms:

  • Ease of Sharing.  The #1 thing about social media is sharing!  You want to share stuff you like with your followers, but you also want people to share your posts so you can gain a larger audience, right?  Social media usually has some button which will allow your audience to Share or Like your posts, meaning their followers or friends can see that they’ve liked it, and maybe it’ll pique their interests.  More Shares and Likes = Greater New Audience Potential.
  • Comments.  Social Media is all about interactions – and what better way to do that than by commenting?  It’s a real-time way to make friends, instead of relying on email or even instant messaging.
  • Personalization.  Some platforms have greater personalization than others.  Some only allow for customized avatars, while others may allow for font and color schemes to be changed.
  • What Your Audience Wants.  What is the Number One reason people will be following your social media accounts?  To learn more about you!  Whether that means they want to learn more about you, personally (Instagram), your work and upcoming events (Facebook), or even what makes you tick (WordPress, for the purpose of this series), your audience wants that personal connection, and it’s up to you to give it to them.  Youtube is for those people who want to see your face and hear your voice.

Now, what’s different?

  • What Your Audience Expects.  For example, Twitter isn’t generally for long stories, blogs, etc. – that’s generally the point of your WordPress.  Facebook and Twitter are better for advertising, but Instagram is pretty okay in that regard, too, as long as you don’t mind hashtags.  G+ is kind of a weird mixture of advertising and story, which I admittedly haven’t quite figured out – it feels like it’s trying to be a Facebook-style social media, but I’m not sure.  Youtube is best for vlogging, book trailers, or subjects you haven’t covered in your other social media accounts, unless it’s something huge, like an event, but you generally don’t want to make a video of just advertising unless it’s short & sweet.
  • The Attention Paid to Each Account.  You’ll have to really figure this out yourself, but I know most of my audience relies on my Twitter and Instagram to keep updated in my life, so that’s what I make sure to update the most.  It’s incredibly easy to follow, which means that makes it the most valuable, in regards to time spent/audience interactions.
    I also like to write, so I’ll often spend quite a few hours working on my WordPress posts, even though they rarely get more than one or two views a day.
    Youtube usually takes me at least 4-6 hours, which is why I haven’t uploaded a video in a couple of weeks, generally because I have to come up with a topic, write a script, record the script (which is not as straightforward as it seems – that often takes me 2 hours, because I’m playing with the script on the fly to take out any awkward phrases), edit the video, upload it, perform last-minute edits (such as adding subtitles), and then I can publish it.  That doesn’t include making cover photos or adjusting the length of slides as needed, which can also be a lengthy process.
    I generally spend the least amount of time on Facebook because I haven’t noticed a great return from it – it gets maybe 15-30 minutes per week, and it’s usually a rehash of other accounts’ posts.  More and more people are moving away from Facebook when it comes to the business sector – people basically look it up because they want to know how to get in contact, hours, and ratings, especially when the business doesn’t seem to have a decent website (or a specific website per branch, which Facebook tends to provide, as opposed to an overall site).  This will probably change when I have more things to market: more books, more signings, etc.

Which platform you use basically comes down to what you have to share, and how much time you have to share it.

Alright, well, I think that’s it for now, I think.  I honestly don’t know – it’s a bit warm here, and I can’t think anymore. 🙂

Just as a quick apology, I’ve pretty much let my Youtube and Twitter slide for the moment.  In regards to Youtube, it’s summertime, it’s hot, my house doesn’t have A/C, and while it gets cooler at night, I don’t feel comfortable leaving the windows open, so I have fans running every single minute I’m home.  Couple that with the fact that it’s hot outside, and the weather’s not really conductive to recording at this time.  As for Twitter, well…  I don’t really know what to Tweet anymore.  I’m at this weird point of not wanting to keep Tweeting ads and only ads, feeling a bit creepery, but I don’t have any upcoming events, and December’s a bit too far off for me to do any real promos for LA REYNA.

Did I mention it’s hot, and when it gets hot, I get a bit lazy?  Because I do, and one of the first things to go is my brainpower.  I also get a bit loopy.

Which is why, next week, I may take a quick break from this series (hopefully so I can record a Youtube video if the temps drop) and post something I’ve had in my drafts for a little while now.  I’m not sure.  Otherwise, expect a post about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or something else.

Unless I melt.  I’m pretty sure that I’m over 25% ice cream at this point in my life, so melting is completely plausible, to be honest.

Seriously, this weather is dumb.  I hate it.  It won’t even rain!  We’ve been supposed to get rain for a while now, and all we get are sprinkles. I never say this because I’m terrified of them, but man, what I wouldn’t give for a thunderstorm.  It’s needed.  We have some water near our house, and usually, it’s pretty deep, but right now, you could safely wade through it to the other side.  It’s weird.  If we don’t get rain by the 4th, pretty much everywhere nearby will have to cancel their fireworks because the grass is so dry, which is sad because I wanted to take my kiddo to go see some.

Anyway, that’s all for the personal part of my post.  Just apologizing and griping.  😛  Have a great week, and stay cool/warm, depending on your location!  Bye!


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