Friday, May 10, 2013

Social media news for writers

This week's social media news for writers is a bit abbreviated because I'm still catching up after spending most of last week at RT Booklovers Con. Before we launch into the news, I wanted to ask readers for feedback. After steadily climbing numbers since this feature launched, the numbers were down last week, and I'm curious if there's a reason why. Is there not enough of an explanation--why this tidbit of information might be useful to you, the writer--or is it not what you're looking for? Head down to the comments section to suggest topics, ask questions. Thank you!


Search engine optimization: You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “search engine optimization”* or SEO. It may even strike terror in your heart. SEO is the (witch)craft of embedding your website with keywords and driving linkage so that your site is among the top returns on any search on you or your books. It’s gaming search engine’s indexing algorithms. If you’re unsure about the perils of letting other people hijack your potential online audience, you might want to read this cautionary Mashable article on politician Rick Santorum. (“Dear Rick Santorum: 6 Ways to Fix Your Google Problem”).

Now, few of us are going to have a branding problem of the magnitude of Rick Santorium. There's nothing political in that statement; I’m not posting the article to be inflammatory but because it is an easily understandable example of why you, as an author, might want to pay attention to SEO.
I am far from the expert on this subject, but I have seen a lot of snake oil sold as “SEO help”. If I ever find a clean, easy and not too expensive SEO management option, I will definitely write about it. Until then, I can only point to a couple of the tools referenced in the article. I have no first-hand experience with either.

The first tool, Visibility, is a mobile app that helps you manage your online professional presence. A basic account is free; bells & whistles for individuals or small businesses are $5/month.

The second is BrandYourself. I can’t tell you anything about the product because the site says it’s been overhauled. You can check back at a future date.

* Here's an article that will give you a better idea than my two-sentence explanation of what SEO means, specifically geared to authors.

Getting the most out of a Twitterchat: I've done two Twitterchats in my short career as an author. Both times, this particular tweetchat hadn't been around very long (in one case, it was the inaugural event) and meaning no disrespect to the hosts, but the attendance was limited. That's not to say that there aren't mature, weekly twitterchats with great audiences out there--it just hasn't been my experience. In case you've been invited to be the subject of a Twitterchat and were wondering how to prepare, this article can help you with that. And if you're looking for an existing Twitterchat that might be interested in having you as a guest (a twitterchat for nurses and you write novels with a nurse heroine, for instance), here's a list.  

Pay to play: Advertising on Facebook, Twitter and the like are author-friendly because they're tailorable and don't cost a fortune just to get your foot in the door. Want a run down of some common advertising options on social media? Here's a nice roundup from Sean Royer at Social Media Today.

Priming the pump: We've talked about algorithms before, haven't we? They're the engines that calculate how results are sorted, whether your book is number one with a bullet on a list or idling in the basement . . . Social media algorithms use social criteria as part of the equation, and by social criteria I mean how many "likes" something has gotten, how many times your FB post has been shared, retweets, etc. What does that mean? You should be "favoriting" tweets, among other things, people, as this article explains. 

LinkedIn and authors: Should you be on LinkedIn if you're a writer? I only started doing this and haven't formed an opinion yet on the utility (which I suspect, from preliminary observations, will depend a lot on where you are in your writing career). But in the interest of fair play, here's an article from someone who thinks you should.

You may know that in my other life, the one where I'm not a novelist, I'm an expert in emerging trends and technology for a major think tank. I spend a good deal of time scanning through technology news, particularly about emerging media. On a typical week, I probably see a handful of stories of interest to the working writer, stories about a new or interesting twist to what's going on in publishing and you can read them here every Friday.


15 comments:

  1. I for one am hooked on checking in with your social media blog each week. Edgy stuff--not for the faint of heart. I may not be ready yet, but I'm listening.

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    1. Hey Iva, glad to hear you're finding it helpful. Yeah, it can be daunting. Even my government customers find it intimidating to try to keep up with it all.

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  3. I like this feature on your blog, too. You curate social media advice for the most useful information for authors. Thank you for all your hard work.

    Perhaps traffic dropped last week because much of your target audience was at RT or Malice Domestic? I was out and busy last weekend as well. I have to admit that, sometimes, when I'm busy or away, email subscriptions fall through the cracks.

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    1. You know, I was wondering the same thing. I was at RT Con and trying to discreetly drop off biz cards for the column on tables but feel guilty for doing it because you're supposed to buy promo space, you know. Kept waiting for someone to yell at me. :-)

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  4. I go with the speculation that people were at RT or Malice last week. I do check your blog every week, and I find the topics interesting and useful.

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    1. Hi Ruth, how are you? So good to hear from you. Are you going to ThrillerFest this year?

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  5. I find your blog very informative. Thank you for sharing your insights.

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  6. Still love the blog! I come back every week and mention it on Twitter. Please keep it up!

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  7. Hi, Alma,

    Thanks so much for including our Twitter chat wiki in your blog post! Much appreciated!

    Eric Bryant, CMO
    Gnosis Media Group

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  8. Alma, thank you so much for great info! I'm bookmarking your page as I plan to go live over the summer. Good stuff!

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    1. Great--let me know if anything works especially well for you.

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