Discover more from Notes from My Desk at Writer's Residence
Q&A: How can writers use social media as a marketing tool?
Answering user questions about all things writing
I get a lot of questions from my users at Writer’s Residence so have decided to launch a Q&A series. I welcome you to chime in with your own input - I don’t have all the answers (as you’ll see in this first post below!). And please fire away with your own questions so that I and the rest of my readers can chime in!
Social media, once a small clubhouse of the techno-elite, has become a cluttered and crowded space, about 0.0999% of which is relevant to my life. But that small wedge of relevance has led to approximately 90% of my work opportunities. So how do you sift through the social media trash heap to find those nuggets of gold? The answer is the subject of today’s question, with thanks to Dena in Philadelphia:
My entire career has been in healthcare in some form or another. I worked for 21 years in the clinical lab as a microbiologist before having to take some time off due to my physical health. I finally had to admit that I couldn't work outside of my home. That's when I started freelance writing. Getting clients and getting paid what I'm worth has been tough, but I'm finally in a space where I have enough writing samples to back up my claims. I realize that I need to use social media as a marketing tool, but it's outside my wheelhouse. I really don't know where to start. If you have any advice about getting started with social media marketing, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Social media is not what it once was (as aptly explained by my friend and fellow writerin this post). I used to find it so easy to find and connect with potential career contacts. I remember one morning reaching out to one of my idols on Twitter, writer and forager extraordinaire John Wright. It led to an hours long email exchange that ultimately led to this experience in the New Forest.
Later I connected with editors, journalists, other writers, foodies, and people who eventually became friends and/or clients. But as the social space grew, those experiences became so few and far between that I stopped engaging, at least in a “networking” capacity. I’d grown sufficient word-of-mouth exposure to keep me going. But now as I’ve re-launched and am trying to grow Writer’s Residence, I’ve been dabbling in social media again for professional reasons. Here’s what I’ve found so far.
LinkedIn is proving the most directly relevant resource which I use in two ways:
Follow and engaging with influential LinkedIn users, who frequently write about relevant topics, and through the comments I find other people worth connecting and engaging with. This too is a great resource for career tips and job opportunities. For example, Kaitlyn Alford regularly shares freelance opportunities. Lately I’ve been enjoying tips from Samantha Anderl who co-cofounded Harlow, another SaaS for freelancers. I’m sure there are loads more folks out there worth following - do share your favourites in the comments!
Direct outreach, be it to ask for help, pitch for a job, or start a relationship with a potentially useful connection. I’ve mostly recently been using direct outreach to contact who might want to join our new affiliate program which I’ve had good success with. Jennifer Gregory is worth following for her nuggets of useful info on direct outreach, particularly “Letters of Introduction”, cold outreach, and the art of asking for paid work.
There’s also LinkedIn groups - and there are a lot that are devoted to writing - but I’ve found many of them to be focused too much on self promotion and prefer to engage with users more directly via points (1) and (2) above.
I am still learning how to use LinkedIn to best effect, the topic of which seems to be an art form in itself. In fact, there are loads of people on LinkedIn writing purely about how to use LinkedIn (e.g. Darryl Hughes)!
Have you had success with LinkedIn? Share your tips in the comments! And of course, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn!
There are a few Facebook groups I participate in that are good for tips, job opportunities, and connecting with other writers:
I’m sure there are others! Again, share your favourites in the comments!
Substack is the tool I’ve used to write this newsletter. But it’s becoming more than a newsletter service; it’s an enormously supportive community of writers. Through Notes you can connect with and chat with other Substackers, which is proving a lovely social space for interacting with other writers. I like Substack because it’s a bit more “warm and squishy” than other forums, and generally more positive and creative. There are plenty of writers on Substack producing content devoted purely to helping other writers succeed, be it on Substack or elsewhere. Here’s a few I can recommend:
Mind Hive - Share your intel!
I’m sure there are loads of you out there who are way better at this social media malarkey than I am. So please do share your tips in the comments!
Notes from My Desk is where I share what I’ve learned and continue to learn over the past 15+ years running Writer’s Residence. Get on board with a subscription! (A paid sub helps to grow my biz and gets you a complimentary writing portfolio - just saying!)