Hi Cristina! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business, Faithfully Social.
A little bit? Well, that could be used to describe me. I clock in at 4'11"! I help bloggers and creatives share what's on their heart by helping them navigate blogging and social media. As a blog and social media coach, I offer help by way of poring over your blog and telling you what to keep and what to toss. I can also help with social media platforms by way of what to share, how to find your voice and providing hand picked people to follow in your niche. I offer more services, but those are the two that are repeatedly requested.
How necessary is social media for promotion for writers?
If you're looking at being traditionally published, you'll need to show that you have a dedicated following. Writers that I work with often come to be well before (and sometimes right in the middle of) the book proposal process because they have to fill out a social media following section. It's at this point they realize "Ack! I have 25 followers and most of them are family!". As a writer, you have to show that you can help promote your work and know how to do it effectively.
If you're looking at self publishing, social media is equally important. Your following is the only way to get your work into the hands of readers (and their followers). When working with writers, I assure them that they can do social without losing themselves in the process. So often, I hear that writers just want to write and feel awkward promoting, or even thinking about growing a "following". I totally get it (I have a writer's heart!) but to stand out in a crowd of millions of writers, you have to work at creating your own audience of people that will gobble up everything you put out and you have to start that work now!
What are some ways that writers can use social media for promotion without sounding salesy or unauthentic?
Don't just promote yourself. I can't tell you how many times I see "buy my book", "on sale now", or "have you read my latest book?" I understand where it comes from. You've spent all this time creating, basically birthing 70,000-100,000 words and it's so good that everyone should want to read it. However, only reaching out on social when you want something is a surefire way to be completely ignored.
You are a writer. Yes. But you also have other interests and hobbies. Be a person on social media. Be the same person you are in real life on social media. If you're quirky, own it. If you're a hypochondriac, own it. If you're into tattoos, own it. If you're struggling with your next chapter, or character arc, tweet about it. Ask your friends on Facebook for help with naming a place. A writer that I've worked with that does this really well is Katie Cross. She never sounds salesy and is totally magnetic.
How often should writers be sharing their work through social media?
I always recommend a 70 / 30 split when promoting yourself on social media. That means, you should promote yourself only 30% of the time. The other 70% should be you sharing your other interests, other authors and other content. This is a solid way to show that you're not just using social, you get social.
If you could to tell writers to start doing ONE THING through social media, what would it be?
Start using it. Start with a tweet, a share. If that completely freaks you out, start a blog and write about the process of writing. I know what you're thinking, Cristina, everyone does that. You're right. Everyone does that. But everyone is not you and you will have a different process than Joanna Penn, Chuck Wendig or J.K. Rowling, for that matter. Also, everyone does it because everyone wants access backstage! Pull back the curtain and let people in!
In your opinion, what makes social media so overwhelming for people?
People think they have to be on all social platforms. No. The platforms you choose to be on should be ones that you can actively engage in and enjoy. If you don't like taking photos, get off of Instagram. If visuals don't excite you, then why are you on Pinterest? Only focus on those social media channels that you will enjoy. Your audience is more perceptive than you think and they will see just how much you hate Twitter, for example.
Just focus on a couple of channels and if you don't like one or the other, drop them. Focus on what you enjoy. See how real this is? Isn't that how you live life? You keep the overwhelming feelings out of social media by treating it as an extension of who you are.
How do you help people with their social media so that it's no longer overwhelming for them?
I help people not feel overwhelmed by giving them a road map. The road map can include whatever they're struggling with: who to follow, how and when to post, the apps to use that will make their lives easier, other sites to read and engage with. Basically, I share everything I've ever come across with regards to blogging and social media. I don't hold anything back and I remind them that they won't lose themselves. In fact, I promise it every step of the way.
I assure and dismiss a lot of what's "recommended" for writers to do as far as promotion is concerned. How can I do that? I get to know the writer as a person, what they can handle, what they have time for and / or are able to commit to. In speaking with a writer, I can get a sense of who they are and come up with a strategy for how to share their unique brand and ultimately what will make them shine on social media.
Also, I'm pretty funny. So there's always laughter involved in every interaction. I demand it.
Cristina answers THREE more questions
and they'll only be shared with the VIP newsletter list (and seriously—her answers to these are SO good)!
Do you follow any writers/bloggers on Twitter? If so, what are some strategies you've seen them use that are successful?
Is there anything you've noticed them doing that might hurt their promotion instead of help it?
If you could recommend any one platform for writers to capitalize on, what would it be?
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Thanks so, so much for sharing about social media with my writers, Cristina! We can tell that you REALLY know your social media — and that you're funny. :-)
Cristina shares helpful information like this all of the time — so make sure you're following her to catch all of the best stuff!