Monday, May 7, 2012

From the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop - Blogging, Branding, and Social Media, Part 2

As promised last Monday, here are more tips gathered at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop.  Last week we focused on blogging, this week is on branding and using social media.

I'm going to admit up front that I'm not social media savvy.  I don't Tweet, I'm only slighted LinkedIn, and I started my Facebook page because that's where my kids kept putting the grandkid pictures. Right now, maintaining my blog and visiting/commenting on yours is as far as I go.  So what you're getting here is what I heard from people in the know, passed along to you without any testing or endorsement. 

Of course, if you can add to what's here from your own knowledge and experience, please do.  Including disagreements, if you have any.  We all benefit from a good exchange of ideas.

That said, here are:

14 tips on branding and using social media.


Voice lives on the page, brand takes the voice beyond the page.

The most critical part of voice and brand is consistency. Make is easy for people to "get" you.

Keep the same voice from your blog to Facebook to Twitter to whatever.
Coin a word or phrase that becomes your verbal logo and use it everywhere you post (this was also mentioned in Part 1).

Using Social Media:

Define your brand, community, objectives, and goals

Build a list.
• Gather contact info (e-mails and such), get sign-ups for a newsletter and/or RSS
• Use this list (judiciously) to ask for help in promoting an event or new release

Survey your community on their social media preferences
• Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. 
• Ask about schedule – when/how often would they like to hear from you
Plan your updates to fit their schedule and likes.
 • Keep these sort of updates conversational (small talk), not promotional.
 • Toss out ideas and see what attracts interest

Schedule your updates in advance and use auto-post features

Use tweets to drive people to your blog and Facebook page. Promote the same blog multiple times with different tweets.

Link everything together - Blog to LinkedIn to Facebook, etc.

When you're re-posting those graphics with your watermarked  link (see Part 1), add a text link as well.  Watermarked links aren't "clickable' and you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you.  

Add the buttons – Facebook Like, Tweet It, etc. – to all your posts.

SHARE every blog post, guest post, whatever you do

Okay, what do you think?  Do you do any or all of these?  How do they work for you?

Groaner of the Day:  (a little something from Confucius)  Man who runs in front of car gets tired, man who runs behind car gets exhausted. 


mooderino said...

All seems like good advice. i worry about annoying people with pushing my blog posts too much. It's jsut so busy out there, it's hard to get noticed.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

Stacy McKitrick said...

I can only do what is comfortable for me. Right now that means no tweeting and facebooking (is that a word?) only on occassion.

And I can only write in my voice. I think. I certainly don't try to write like anyone else!

I've heard that Confucius saying before. Still funny.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Linking everything together is important. If you're an author, everything should lead back to your main website or blog.

Liz Fichera said...

I agree totally about the linking. Makes it easier on the author too, especially if you only post once and then everything magically appears in a half-dozen more places. That assures consistency of voice too. I think the biggest thing is that if the only thing you do is promote, that is a big turn-off. I'm turned off when all I get from a person's Twitter stream, FB stream, etc. is news about their book. I think social media has to be fun too. Too much promo feels like a big giant commercial.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Every time I think I want to move my blog from hobby to monetary, I get the heebie-jeebies. LOL Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

My boys thought the Groaner was fabulous. Happy Monday! ☺ Glad to see you back writing here!

Maria Zannini said...

All good tips and I think I do most of these except Linked In.

The only thing I would add is to make sure you use the person's full name (if you're talking about a person) or the full blog name (if it's a group thing).

My only pet peeve with linking is when people say something like: 'Check this out', or 'You gotta see this'--without explaining where you're sending people.

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't click on links if I don't know where it's sending me, or why.

Lydia Kang said...

I like the idea of making a schedule. All of these things are good ideas, but without a schedule it might be chaos!

Sarah Allen said...

Very good, practical tips. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

LD Masterson said...

Mood - I feel the same way. How do you know where to draw the line? Perhaps that would be something for a survey of your "community".

LD Masterson said...

Stacy - I tend to worry about voice. Does it change when I shift from fiction (especially darker suspense) to telling the latest silly story about one of the grandkids? Or is the voice the same and only the tone different?

LD Masterson said...

Diane - How many social media platforms do you actively use, if you don't mind my asking? Are any harder to link together than others.

LD Masterson said...

Liz - Well, being as yet unpublished makes limiting the promos a bit easier. *grin*

LD Masterson said...

Larri - I haven't even considered going to monetary. That would be a whole different animal.

And, thanks. It's good to be back.

LD Masterson said...

Maria - Good point. I'm very hesitant to click a link when I don't know exactly where it's going.

LD Masterson said...

Lydia - Agreed. It would be way too easy to lose track.

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - Thanks. Hope you found something of value.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I've read your blog. I've read (or was read to) one of your short stories and I've read the beginning of one of your novels. Granted, the first two were humorous, but I think the voice was the same in all three. Or maybe it was because I knew you wrote them all? Still, I think your voice has to do with your style, regardless of the tone.

And who says you can't have some humor in your mysteries? Sometimes you just need that comic relief!

Clarissa Draper said...

Love your groaner!

"Coin a word or phrase that becomes your verbal logo and use it everywhere you post" --I like this idea.

I just joined linked in but I don't use it much.

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are good tips - although I'd be careful of over-promoting. It gets annoying :P

LD Masterson said...

Stacy - I find it interesting that you think my voice stays constant through different types of writing. I have trouble hearing it myself. Maybe it's like when you hear your voice on some type of recording and it doesn't sound anything like what you hear inside your head.

LD Masterson said...

Clarissa - Ah, a Confucius fan.

I like the verbal logo idea, too. Haven't come up with one yet, but I like the idea.

LD Masterson said...

Jemi - I guess the trick is knowing how much is too much.

Anne R. Allen said...

Great advice. Branding is hard when you're getting started, because you may not have yet found your fictional niche, so you have to brand yourself as a persona, rather than "mystery/romance/scifi/whatever writer."

Also be careful about linking all your posts. What's great on Twitter can seem unprofessional on the more buttoned down LinkedIn, and too chatty for Google +. So choose only some posts to link. Jane Friedman warns about this.

First time here. Like the blog!

LD Masterson said...

Anne - Good thoughts, thanks.

And thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll come back.

Cate Masters said...

Uh oh, I've failed branding miserably. But I love writing anything and everything too much to narrow it down.
Scheduling posts ahead is the only way I can keep up.
Great advice. Thanks for sharing!

Karin said...

As a reader of blogs, not a creator of them, I like the idea of knowing when to expect a post. Very interesting points-a lot more to this than is evident to the casual reader.

Love the groaner! Hope they continue.


LD Masterson said...

Cate - Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one who wanders a bit.

LD Masterson said...

Karin - It does seem to be more difficult than it should be, doesn't it?