Natasha Lester's "Author Branding" workshop at KSP Writers' Centre has come to an end, and has left me with a banquet of information. But, where is my starter, what do I want for main, and can't I just skip dessert? Should I be Facebooking? How's my website SEO? How often should I post on Pinterest? What the hell is Instagram? And why should I hashtag everything? #Idontknowwhatthehellisgoingon
How sociable do I really need to be?
Welcome to www.overwhemledbysocialmedia.com #frazzledhead Now, step away from the laptop, make a cuppa, and breathe!
In truth, the answer isn't straightforward. It depends on our motives for creating an online presence, and what our end game is. To get the foundations right, ask yourself:
Business or pleasure? Am I showcasing my writing, or creating an online writers group etc? Is my online persona professional or personal?
Community or solitary? Am I wanting to build a large following e.g. ahead of a book launch or author event, or am I just sharing some passions with a few mates? Do I need to stand out from the crowd?
Leisurely or time critical? Am I prepared to spend a reasonable amount of time (e.g. daily, weekly etc) building, honing and refreshing content on my website and social media 'channels'?
Essential or a nicety? Is an online presence essential to progressing my career, book sales, forum uptake etc, or am I just in it for fun?
After considering these questions, and coming to the realization that Social Media is a necessary evil in your online life, before going full steam into creating a website, Facebook author site, Twitter feed, Pinterest post etc, take a good old pen and paper and map out what you actually want to do. Research social media using something like this definitive guide that tells you about each 'channel', how to go about setting yourself up, and do's and don'ts:
And finally, on a separate piece of paper, jot down how you're going to do it i.e. which channels match your requirements, and how they might interact.
My scribblings are very basic, and by no means form an exhaustive list of the what's & how's. They just illustrate a possible starting point, and highlight the need to be organised at the get-go. If you can figure out what key things you want to achieve online, you can sort out how by matching up to the relevant online media channel, e.g. if you want to tell lots of people about your latest blog post, Twitter may be the way to get a link to that blog post out to the masses etc.
The key thing here is to avoid being swamped by the need to be on everything, all the time.
Take small, deliberate, and manageable steps, and start now.
See you online.