An MFRW Author Post
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Social Media is a buzzword. It evokes some millennial-run silver bullet of marketing that includes terms like stream, feed, content, and post – nothing words that have been appropriated to explain a totally inexplicable form of communication that has been boggling our minds for the last two decades. I am 27 and have been working in social media for over ten years and for a variety of companies, museums, websites and, naturally, my author personas, so I should know.
Don’t get me wrong – social is remarkable. It has cracked open the world of communication, allowing for everything from free author marketing to a better understanding of police brutality, as the spread of information is no longer in the hands of the few and powerful. Social media helps keep us alert and aware of the world well outside our own spectrum, introduces first-person stories of those in war-ravaged countries and argues against the narrative often disseminated by mainstream media. My respect for the growth, influence, and creativity involved in social media is immeasurable. It’s just that, well, it’s a lot of freaking work.
Between two author pen names, the museum, my start-up company, and my own online presence for my role as a journalist, I run five Twitter accounts, five Facebook pages, four Pinterest profiles, and three Instagram feeds. Additionally, I regularly update three blogs and one news site, as well as sending out two separate emails a week. I run a Periscope account, a YouTube account and two LinkedIn accounts, and two GoodReads author profiles. Most of this work is free.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy it. When I do photography for the Bookstagram (a book-themed Instagram) account I run under Gemma Snow, I have a great time taking photos and sharing my creative skills. But it takes hours for enough photos to last me the month. Every single morning, I get up and immediately run Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Every single week, I schedule Twitter and Facebook – after first compiling an outline of questions, news, articles, and photos.
But is it worth it – you bet your ass. As I have told bosses in the past – Social has a twofold impact. On the obvious side of the spectrum, it orders the traffic to your site, your store or your news department in the form of traditional marketing.
Secondly, and far less tangibly, social has intrinsic value. If you don’t exist on Facebook, and correctly, you don’t exist at all. For a while, I was doing some freelance social consulting and one of the perpetual challenges I faced was that many companies didn’t know the difference between a Facebook account and a Facebook page. A simple matter like that will turn away a huge section of your audience who wants you to connect with them on their platform.
I sound like a cranky old witch right now and I don’t mean to. When I do the day to day of it, social media is a frustrating and eternal mistress. Every time I complete my social, it seems to pop right back up again, a never, ever, ever ending project.
Because it’s not going to end.
One of the frustrating and ultimately amazing elements of social media is that it’s real-time communication. If something crazy happens in my industry – an executive gets arrested, a new book hits the best sellers, etc, I can respond to it immediately. Social allows me to interact with people I would normally never be able to approach. It gives us the chance to see the world from a million perspective, as events are happening in real-time, and that’s pretty amazing.
Sometimes, I think it’s important for me to take a step back see exactly how creative, innovative and exciting social media can be. Sure, it’s exhausting, and it often feels like being stuck on a treadmill, but it forces me to come up with new ideas, stay in tune with industry news and explore exciting ways of reaching my audiences. Social media doesn’t need to be tiresome, but it can be challenging – challenging your skills as a marketer, promoter and communicator. When put that way, I feel lucky to be working in a time when we have such access to the world at large – hey, maybe I should Tweet that. ♦
Author’s Note – If you’re interested in talking social tips or promo swap, drop me a line!