Marketing for Misfits: Social Media
Marketing for Misfits: Social Media
You are trying to sell your writing.
You don’t have hordes of friends; you don’t have a big, devoted, extended family who will follow you unconditionally and like all your posts. You need social media—because it allows you to get out of your immediate environment; because it gives you and your work broad exposure, a chance to find those who are interested and sympathetic—a chance you won’t get in a town, workplace, neighborhood (university dorm, assisted-living facility, military base…a writer may be anyone), where your position is fixed.
Last time, we talked about how we need to stand up and be proud, how friendlessness is a response to a way of being treated—and that misfits should not be self-blaming. We must be heard to be empowered…so stop letting misfit status be a thing that keeps you silent.
Now let’s talk about marketing methodologies.
There are two types of social media. The better choice for you is the participation-based. These are sites like Twitter and Pinterest that want you to comment, joke, share your art and poetry…or cat videos, political opinions, favorite memes, etc. And, yes, to promote your posts with advertising. Anyone can set foot in this arena.
The popularity-based sites, not so helpful, would like you to sign up all your friends. 😐 They ask you to grow your following based on your (non-existent) circle. Here your content, which for a blogger is business- (not lunch and vacation) oriented, is restricted, as to the audience it goes out to. The new people you want to find are readers, and potential agents or publishers.
Twitter, Pinterest, et al.
Twitter: It’s a thing. A lot of the criticism comes from the troll-fests, hoaxers, political and socio-political conversations that devolve into pile-ons, the very bullying that makes shy people afraid.
But Twitter has advantages. It’s widely used. Everyone you need to talk to, as a writer, is on Twitter. You have sufficient control, as a user, to keep your feed constrained to content you want to see. And you probably want this information, both the upside and the downside. Propagandist video clips and “fake news” are features of the world we live in. (You may collect the lingo and mindset for one of your characters.)
Follow people in the categories of books, news, the arts. Do use a picture and write a bio—I think no one would trust a grey placeholder, whose bio is something like: @sazzychik99, to be a serious business person. Be funny in your bio if you feel confident, but don’t risk coming across condescending or insular. As to advertising, look into your analytics, and you’ll be given a chance to promote any post you click on.
Twitter ads produce tens of thousands of “impressions”; they run quickly, unless you budget large (which you probably can’t), and they do bring in a few click-throughs and followers.
But, you may say, I never click ads.
There are two chief advantages to advertising—both build effectiveness through time and persistence. First is exposure. When you’re a familiar face, you gain in credibility. When you advertise, more people see you, come to know your name, and the name of your blog. Second, that skepticism that keeps you from clicking ads derives from the fear constantly whipped up around all internet activities. It took time, back in the day, for people to learn to shop online, to book airline tickets and hotels online, to pay their bills online.
The reason these things are normal now, and span even the older generations, was “getting used to it”. If people see you year after year…still there, still you…they begin to believe in you. You already know, misfit, that you’re launching your career without advantages, without the recommendation of your parents’ friends, an influential alumnus, an old sorority gang; without an angel—though you may find one.
So advertise to build your base, and stick with it.
Pinterest: If you use the Pinterest add-on or app, you can pretty well pick any photo or content you find online and attach it—not as a task to put aside for later, but right when you’re thinking of it—to a board that tells the world something of your taste and interests.
This, regarding your own content, isn’t dangerous (so far as anything online is or is not dangerous, so much depending on the miscreant’s level of commitment), because it will carry the url, and that will take the curious to the source—when you make your own pins, that source is your blog.
Pinterest is a wonderful open marketplace, where you can show what you have to share—product or content—and so can everyone else. Ads on Pinterest, in my experience, are quite effective. This has been my best source for helping people discover The Cartoon House. Cartoons, being brief and funny, are probably the most accessible medium for literary output, and all Pinterest requires of its users is to click “Save” and choose a board.
Here are two of mine, the first a showcase of my own likes in fashion and style; the second, of my blog.
Bloglovin’ is new for me. So far I can say that it’s a clean, well-lighted space. The nature of its being a place for promoting blogs makes it feel safe, freer of the porny people and the ideologues. The layout is uncluttered, the content you receive is of your own choice, as to which blogs you follow; and you get a nice newsfeed in your inbox. One present advantage that may change as the service grows, is that even some of the bigger names on Bloglovin’ don’t yet have vast followings, which gives you a chance to be a little more of an individual to those bloggers you pick.
You’ll be told that on social the way to gain followers is to give lots of likes and comments. If you’re working every day, writing, painting, taking pictures, making music, doing research in association with your work, you’ve likely discovered the drawback in giving yourself the additional job of reading several article-length posts, and thinking of insightful comments, for the sake of raising your profile.
That you can’t like, or even discover, as many others as you would wish to have discover you, is one of the practical problems of building an online base.
It seems over-cynical to treat liking something or sharing a thought about it as merely a game of strategy. And there is a “follow you today; dump you tomorrow” type you’ll encounter. (I think many of these are using bots, and it would look embarrassing for their clients to be followed by 10,000, following 4 million, so they get their quarry’s attention, then routinely trim the list.)
It’s really not helpful to treat “follow-backs” as a form of required online etiquette. I would say as long as celebrities are not held to this standard, no one else should be. Aside from the dozens of reasons someone might not have looked at her account recently, it also seems a little stalkerish and absurd to make the first move on someone, and get angry when they choose a legitimate response from among friendly, reserved, and silent.
The non-legitimate response is aggression, and people online, misfits and the socially able alike, should think about the psychology of this: creating opportunities to get mad at strangers.
(2018, Stephanie Foster)