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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are you a social media butterfly?

A Guest post by Carlie M A Cullen

Are you a social media butterfly? 

Earlier this year, I wrote two guest posts for Josh’s blog called ‘Presenting A Professional
Image’. There were two parts to it; one dealt with being able to deal with constructive
criticism, and the other was about the little things you can do when meeting and networking
with people (like getting business cards printed). I hope you found both of those articles
informative and helpful.

I decided to follow on from those posts and talk about networking with people, especially on
social media platforms.

Now I’m not one of those butterflies that flit from one social media network to another;
there are so many on the internet now, it would be only too easy to get caught in the trap
of traipsing from one to another, and another. Before you realize it, you’ve spent several
precious hours being a social media butterfly and you’ve no time left to do the most
important thing of all – writing.

I’ve decided to pick just two platforms and concentrate my efforts there. I predominantly
use Twitter (http://twitter.com/carlie2011c) and pop in to Facebook (http://facebook.com/
carlie.cullen) on occasions.

I’m not a Twitter snob and only follow writers and readers; I follow all types (except those who speak in a language I don’t know/understand). Making connections on Twitter has not
only enriched my life, I’ve forged good friendships and strong links with people from other
countries (mainly those from across the pond). And here’s where some of the networking
comes into it.

I must be doing something right on Twitter as I’m attracting more and more followers each
day. At the beginning of 2012 I had less than 200 followers – now I have over 1640. So how
did I do it? There was no magic plan, no marketing strategy and no one guiding me.

I think it happened because I genuinely care about other people and have a passion for
supporting other authors.

I regularly Retweet authors who are publicising their own or other people’s books, I tweet
about other books and several weeks ago I started my own hashtag #SupportSunday. I pick
four authors who I follow and publicise their book(s), including a link to it/them on Amazon.
I try to rotate it so I don’t have the same four people every week, although I admit I do tend
to favour my two closest friends on Twitter and they get included regularly. BUT I have
one rule where this hashtag is concerned: if the author I’ve publicised doesn’t have the good
manners to show any appreciation or even acknowledge that I’ve tried to help them, they
never get included again. How long does it take to tweet someone with a simple ‘thank you’?

Another thing I do is write book reviews and publish them. First they appear on my blog
(http://carliemacullen.wordpress.com), and of course I tweet about the review, always
giving the @... name of the author, but I take it further than that. I post the reviews on both
Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and also on Goodreads. As a result of this, I’ve had people
asking me to review their books for them.

Go and visit other people’s blogs and make comments on anything that strikes a chord within
you. I can almost see you thinking, but there are so many blogs out there so whose do I spend
my time on? This is an excellent question and also reverts back to being the social media
butterfly. My advice is to pick about half a dozen that really interest you and follow them. It
might be the author writes in the same genre as you. Maybe someone writes about another
hobby/interest of yours. If after a few months, you’re not happy with a blog you’re following, you can always unsubscribe and give another one a try. In addition, if a headline on someone
else’s blog catches your eye, there’s nothing to stop you popping in, having a read, and
either ‘liking’ it or leaving a comment.

Finally, if you haven’t done it already, consider starting a blog of your own. Write about
things that interest you, problems you’ve faced on your writing journey, where you are
on said journey and start to build up a readership. It takes time out of your already busy
schedule, but as long as you try and post something every couple of weeks, and publicise it
on your chosen social media platforms your readership will gradually grow.

I was scared stiff of starting my own blog. I had doubts about my abilities to attract readers
and wondered if my writing was good enough for people to want to read my posts. As
time has gone on, and forty posts later, I’m still building a following of loyal readers, I’m
collecting regular comments and ‘likes’ and my stats show I rarely get less than fifty plus
views per day. The response to my blog has given me so much more confidence as a writer
and I’m asked to guest blog for other authors. Josh’s blog is the only one I contribute to on
a regular basis (monthly in fact), and I feel honoured that Josh holds me in such high esteem
that he asked me to write a monthly guest post for him.

Be prepared though. A lot of people might say, “Why are you supporting these writers?
Aren’t they your competition?” My answer to that is, absolutely not! Writers are also readers
and if you’ve forged some strong links along the way, maybe when your novel hits Kindle
or the book shelves, they might just be some of the ones to buy your book &/or help you
publicise it!

Never underestimate the power of networking through social media, but use it wisely,
manage your time carefully and don’t let it overtake your creativity.

You can visit Carlie's wonderful blog HERE (stop in and say hello)

Carlie mentioned two previous posts. You can view them via the links below.
Presenting a professional image part 1
Presenting a professional image part 2

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my website.

In bookstores now


  1. Great post Carlie. Thanks from a newbie wondering how to juggle all this other 'stuff' that comes along with the writing gig.
    Exiled sounds like an adventurous read J.R. Best of luck!

  2. Thanks for checking in, H-K. See you in the trenches!