Social Media and the Writer: The Big Picture

As a writer, your goal, with regard to using social media, is to generate a buzz about brand awareness. Spread the word. Reach the target audience using the tools they use and language they understand. Unfortunately, here is where a lot of writer’s drop the ball. It’s okay…this is new territory for most of us. The same thing happened when the Internet came along, and now look at us. Most, if not all, writers can say they are experts!

Social media is the same thing. New, but not unattainable. To master these tools, we need to just to get in there and use them. The thing is, we need to understand what they can and can’t do before we can recommend them to our clients. New challenges, but nothing we can’t deal with.

So here’s the big picture on social media and networking and what you as a writer need to know to make the most of it:

  • First, understand that this is a way to communicate and connect not only with friends, family, and colleagues, but with customers and more. Internet tools such as LinkedIn, Slideshare, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube give you instant access to the people you want to reach
  • Second, know that the Internet allows you to instantly collaborate, share information, and converse about ideas or causes you care about
  • Third, accept that you now work in a world where anyone can be a publisher, writer, reporter, artist, filmmaker, photographer, critic, pundit, or activist

Next step: try the tools out on your own and see what they have to offer. Then make the most of them, first for your own site, then for your clients.

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So What’s the Big Deal About Social Media?

Really? Okay, I know if you are a professional writer, you get social media. You know the power of it. You understand its reach. And you know how to make the most of it. Your clients, however, may not get it.

So here’s a basic truth: As a writer, it’s part of your job to educate your clients about the use of social media. Which aspects may work best for their business. How to use it to get their messaging out to their customers/potential customers. And how to excel at it. Because the fact is, if your clients aren’t using social media to collect, gather, and disseminate information, they are behind the 8 ball…a place no one wants to be.

So here’s what you need to know, and share with your clients, about the power of social media:

  • more than 1.5 BILLION people are currently online, with usage growing at a rate of 400% per year
  • of those 1.5 billion users, 22% use social media
  • 75% of online users go straight to a social network or blog when they log on
  • last year, the average user spent 6 hours per month on social media sites
  • only 19% of companies state that they are good or excellent at mining insight from social media

So what’s the big deal about social media? I think the numbers speak for themselves…start making the most of it, or get left behind.

Writing…Interrupted

It never fails. No matter what project I am working on, no matter how quickly the ideas are flying out of my head, and the pen is moving across the paper (or my fingers are striking the keyboard), something comes up. Always.

And do you know why? Though writing is one of the loves of my life, that I truly do live for the written word, I actually have a life, and life is messy. It cannot be lived without running into problems. Bumping into obstacles. Being sidelined by roadblocks along the way. For instance…

  • Snow days, the kids are home…and they need attention every 5 seconds
  • Sick days, and not for you, but again, for your kids…and again, they need attention. And rest.
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Dentist appointments
  • School meetings
  • A day job with a billion and one deadlines
  • Grocery shopping
  • House cleaning
  • Car problems
  • Late buses
  • Taxes
  • Legal issues
  • Relationships in general

This list could go on, and on, and on….with no end in sight. And for most people, it does.

But so what! If writing is your passion, then you will find a way to work around all those little things that not only interrupt your writing in general, but interrupt your life as a whole. Because writing, like any other job you could do, will always get side-tracked and as a professional, it is you responsibility to find a way to your success. To make it happen…for you.

Is it easy? Hell no. But then again, what really is…

The Explosion of Social Media

I ran across an interesting report on the website Pew Internet Project that discusses the role of social media and the Internet in the American life. Here’s an idea of what the report had to say:

By 2020, the use of social media and the Internet will completely eradicate the boundaries of the work life/private life.

Well-connected workers will willingly eliminate the industrial-age boundaries between work hours and personal time, seamlessly blending the two thanks to the widely-accepted use of social media and the Internet. Essentaily, we will be able to attend to either personal or professional duties wherever and whenever they need our attention, sometimes at the same time, making working from home, the gym, the mall, a library, or communal meeting space common place.