Monday, September 9, 2013

Zee Southcombe Guest Post.

Introducing Zenobia Southcombe, a writer, a poet and a fantatsic social networker! Zee has just started down her journey to self-publishing and has surpassed me in every way with regards to social networking. She connects with people: writers, readers, self-publishers, critics and illustrators in ways I have yet to discover. She is posting a series of blog posts on blogging and social networking and just quietly, I love her to bits!

Blog Review Part 3 of 5: Social Media
Hi, I’m Zee! In the time that I’ve been blogging I’ve done heaps of research and learnt lots about developing image, expanding content, using social media, building an audience and keeping track of it all.

This is part of a five-section ‘how-to’ for writer/bloggers. Each article will be published at the start of the week for the next five weeks. The aim is to help bloggers to conduct a self-review.

This series came about through my own experience in self-reviewing, and questions I have had about being a writer and blogger.

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the most popular social media platforms, but what's the best way to use them? Here are some ways you can make the most out of these online tools.
 
Okay, I love Google+ - or rather, I love the conversations and people on Google+, and most referrals to my blog are from this site.
 
Join a community. Communities on Google+ are a bit like Groups on Facebook. I looked around for a while before finding the communities that suited me best, as it seems that many end up as blatant self-promotion and nothing else. When looking at a community, read the rules and scroll through the posts. Look at the comments on each post - are there any? You want to find a community that really is a community, and builds connections between people. My favourite is Support-a-Writer, founded by Alana Munro, and I haven't found a community to beat it yet.
 
Add to circles. When you add people to your circles, you can see posts they share with you. Often, they add you back, so posts you share with your circles (which is the default mode) will be shared with them as well (make sure you add Joy & Zee!).
 
Share your posts. Write a little something about the post as well, and reply to any comments that people leave for you, which leads me to…
 
Comment! This is the most important of all. If someone comments on a post you shared - reply. If someone posts a site that you visited - go back to Google+, thank them for sharing the link, and write your thoughts. If you see something you can add an opinion to, do so. You end up having some interesting conversations, and making some wonderful friends. Tag by using "+" instead of "@".

Most of my followers on Facebook are friends I know in real life, so this is one area of social media that I need to give a bit of a push to - any ideas are welcome! On another note, here are things you can - and should - be posting on your page:
 
Ask a question and make sure that you reply! A blogger that does this well is Writings of a Mrs, who asks a new question every day.
 
Photos! There are two great ways to share images on your Facebook page. Firstly, to share an image with your thoughts as done successfully on Tales of the Borderline's page. The second way is to share quotes in image format. I find stock photos or use my own (to make sure there are no copyright issues) and add text.
 
Share your posts with care. Facebook doesn't like links, so don't link back to your blog too often - once for each blog post is enough. Make sure you write a wee blurb about the post as well.
 
Writing updates. While I was writing my first draft of John Carroll's Adventures (currently in editing phase), I would regularly post updates of my word count, and got awesome support from my friends.
 
Other pages' stuff. If you see something interesting on someone’s page, share it on yours "With thanks to <insert page name here>". Credit where credit's due, guys. You can 'tag' them in the post so they see it by typing "@" before their name, but you can't tag personal accounts.
 
This one is Joy's favourite, right Joy? Jokes aside, while it took me a while to get used to Twitter, I have come to like it. Short, sweet and to-the-point - what more could you ask for?
 
Follow people. Search for writers, bloggers, candle-makers - whatever floats your boat, and follow them. Many people follow back so this helps build your own following as well. If someone says something you wish you said first, retweet them by clicking the icon with two arrows (kinda like the recycling sign). The tweet is then posted to your timeline, with the original tweeter acknowledged.
 
Tweet @people. Build conversation by replying to a tweet, or writing a tweet directly to someone, again by using "@". For example, if I want to tell Joy she's awesome, I would write "@FindlayBooks you are awesome". This is the best way to build connections on Twitter.
 
Share your posts & self-promote. Be careful here, please. I tweet my blog posts once or twice each, as they can get lost in the multitude of tweets, and sometimes retweet my old blog posts to give them a bit of love. HOWEVER, I have unfollowed people on Twitter as their stream is crammed with "read my post" or "buy my book" which is tiresome.
 
Make lists. I use these to make sure I don't miss posts from friends. I have a list for my Google+ community, a list for my real-life friends, and a list for each of my writing groups (you can set these to private so only you can follow them, or members can subscribe so they can all follow). You can make a list from your profile page (see below) and add people by clicking on the head-and-shoulders by their name, and choosing "add to list".
 
You'll soon find the sites that suit you best and develop your personal take on them. Remember to add anything I've missed out in the comments below!
Now, here are some extra things to think about:
 
Consistent Branding
Going back to basics, create consistency by having the same profile photo, colours, fonts and background across your various profiles and pages, as well as your blog. This means you can be easily recognisable by people that have met you on a different online space.
 
A Two-Way Relationship
What's the point of social media? Beyond 'building your platform' or 'developing an online presence', it's all in the name: it's SOCIAL. So get talking! Make sure you take the time to read, comment and reply to people. Networking is about building connections, not about being in-your-face about your book or your blog.
 
Set a Routine
It's easy for social media (and blogging) to suddenly take up a whole lot of time that could've been spent on writing. Set yourself a routine for social media. I work in the afternoons, so in the morning I make a cup of tea and check Facebook, Twitter & Google+. I usually spend about an hour reading things people have linked to and commenting, or replying to Tweets / Posts. I often Tweet throughout the day, and have started a daily midday(ish) Tweet about what I'm thankful for that day. I try to check everything briefly when I get home in the evening, but usually leave replies until the next morning. Some people are constantly online, and others check in once or twice a week – find a routine that suits you.
 
Thanks, Joy, for hosting Part 3 of 5 of my blog review series. Remember tocheck out Parts One & Two, and keep an eye on my blog for thelast couple of entries.
 
I look forward to your comments - Zee Southcombe 

5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes it is! I've enjoyed having Zee write for us here at Confessions. Thanks Zee!

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  2. Thank you, Joy, for the opportunity to host this blog article on your wonderful site!

    I wouldn't be where I am without your knowledge, enthusiasm and support - you're my go-to for blogging and indie-writer help.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you xxx

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  3. Zee you really are an amazing social networker! All the best! When we gonna have that caramel latte next?

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