When you’re a freelance writer it might seem a bit strange to promote your writing to others on social media but it’s an important step in marketing your work and showcasing your skills.
Your first thought might be that you can’t share your freelance writing either because it won’t make sense to your social media followers, you’re ghost writing and it’s not exactly OK to take credit for ghost writing or you’re under a confidentiality clause. All very possible and very important reasons why you should not be sharing your stuff! But that doesn’t get you off the hook. Maybe you can’t share your freelance work but you can promote your writing on social media.
What writing you ask? Here are a few ideas.
How to promote your writing on social media
You can write a blog and share individual articles on social media as they publish
Write and publish articles on your website or on a platform like Medium. Whatever it is, you can share articles on LinkedIn, tweet links to them on Twitter, post about them on Facebook, talk about them on Instagram…you’re creating content, putting your work out there and engaging your followers all at the same time. Blogs are brilliant.
What’s your area of expertise? Create tips and tricks to help your followers improve in that area and post about them on social media
Maybe you offer a tip per week on Instagram or perhaps it’s a Facebook Live video each month…whatever it is you’re showcasing your skills on social media and helping potential clients get to know, like and trust you.
Have you written a book? Then why not talk about that on social media
Develop a content calendar and rotate through different ways to talk about your book—talk about who it’s for, what the benefit is to the reader, publish excerpts, put it on sale, etc.
Post about what you learn
Maybe you can’t post about the exact freelance work you’re doing but maybe you can post about ways you’ve learned to make it easier, more efficient, etc. Have you learned about a new place to get great gigs? Why not share about that? How about a new hack to get your brainstorms down in a quarter of the time? I’m sure people would love learning about that! When you share about things you learn you become a resource for your followers—someone they want to hear more from.
If you can post your freelance work—do it! Share them all over social media
When you share your latest article or post try and talk about it in a way that is interesting rather than “Here’s an article I wrote, check it out!” While that works every now and then if you become someone who drops links and just expects your followers to read it because you wrote it. Try and engage them by describing what’s in it for them if they take the time to click the link.
For more ideas about promoting your writing check out these articles
It’s 2018 and I’m writing Twitter tips for writers. I know, I thought all the writers would have got the memo by now too.
Just kidding. I know you’re not on Twitter because you’ve heard it’s dead and you don’t understand it and you don’t know what you’d do with 10,000 followers anyway (all real things writers have said to me, by the way). And that’s OK. But I think you should be on Twitter because that’s where the writing people are.
Like, all of them.
All the writing people
Because everyone’s there, and you are a writer, I’d like to take this opportunity to prompt you to re-consider being there. Or if you haven’t visited in a while, to log back in.
Pull up a chair and get ready to take some notes, because these are the five most important things to pay attention to on Twitter if you want to connect with any of the types of people listed above.
Twitter Tips for Writers
Use the @mention tool as much as possible.
One of Twitter’s strengths is giving you direct access to people you don’t know, but want to. And when you @mention someone (this means tagging the Twitter user in a tweet) it grabs their attention and helps them notice you in a not-creepy way.
Even though the landscape has changed over the years, Twitter is still all about connecting. When you compose tweets, you should be thinking about who you can mention in it.
If you’re sharing a great article you read, @mention the person who wrote it and the publication that published it
If you’re tweeting about having a great writing session at the local coffee shop, @mention who you were with and where
If you’re at a writing conference or event @mention the speaker you’re watching and the conference you’re attending
By integrating @mentions into your tweeting strategy it helps keeps your content focused, relays valuable information to your followers, and helps you make connections.
Use hashtags; use the right hashtags.
Because Twitter is all about connecting, people use hashtags to find and follow information or people. They’re so important on Twitter. Maybe I’m preaching the the choir here, and you already understand hashtag best practices but I’ll mention it again just in case. Hashtags are meant to help people find you and connect with you. So using hashtags and using the right hashtags is pretty important.
Using the examples above, here are a few hashtags you could try. Remember, we’re using hashtags to connect with people so we’re not making up our own or trying to be clever. Those are throwaways.
If you’re sharing a great article you read and want other writers to check it out, try #bookrecommendations #amreading or #writingtip
If you’re tweeting about having a great writing session why not try #writerslife #writersgroup or #critiquegroup
If you’re at a writing conference or event make sure to use the event hashtag along with whatever the topic is about (e.g. #writingprompts or #writingcommunity etc.)
As far as Twitter tips go, this is the one that’s made the most difference to my Twitter experience. Lists keep things streamlined, which—if you’ve followed me for any amount of time—you know I’m a big fan of.
Lists are curated groups of Twitter users, making it possible to spend less time on Twitter and yet take strategic connecting to the next level. Your lists can be public or private and I recommend a mix of both. Here are a few lists you can create, just to get the creative juices flowing.
Agents you want to connect with
Writers you admire
People you want to work for or collaborate with
Local people you want to keep track of
People you meet at writing events
Once you create these types of lists, you then start adding Twitter users to them. If your list is public the user is notified when you add them to the list. If your list is private then no one knows about it and no one can see or follow your list. I have a few lists of people I’d like to connect with or work with and I keep those private, but some of my lists are curated based on types of writing and I keep those public so others can benefit from them if they want to follow my lists.
Your Twitter bio HAS to be complete AND optimized. You can’t be vague or clever or witty here, not if you want to make strategic connections. And the best way to make these connections is by ensuring your profile makes people want to connect with and follow you.
Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo
Make it easy for people to know who you are and what you do
Link to your website
Include keywords about your services
Be clear on your location/contact info
These are kind of basic tips but there are so many profiles out there missing one or more of these key elements. Let’s back up for a second and remember why we’re doing Twitter tips in the first place: We’re freelance writers looking to make connections with writing industry people. In order to make a good first impression and grab their attention, we want our Twitter profiles to be complete and optimized.
Understand Twitter best practices.
As far as Twitter tips go, this is one of those “duh” ones. If you want to succeed on Twitter, you have to understand how to use it properly and abide by its best practices. So while you want to create a strategy where you’re not on the platform 24/7, you also want to understand it enough to use it properly. What does this mean? Well, here are a few things that come to mind.
It means you don’t just set up your tweets to send out and never engage with others
It means you don’t spam people with self-promotion, you send valuable and on-brand content to your followers
It means you don’t stalk people! You follow them, you retweet them when appropriate, and you watch for opportunities to make genuine connections
It means you’re not just there for what you can get out the platform but you’re also there to be generous and add value
It means you join the conversation when you can, in real time.
Twitter, like all of social media, thrives on generosity. When you provide relevant information and entertainment and build genuine relationships you become a part of a vibrant community that you contribute to and also benefit from. By following best practices it ensures you aren’t seen as a spammer or someone just out for themselves. Also, it keeps you from getting kicked off Twitter. Which happens.
I hope these five Twitter tips help clarify a few things for what you should do on Twitter and why. There’s lots more we can cover like what to tweet, how to make connections, and how to curate all this valuable content you’re supposed to share. If you want to go deeper on any of these topics get in touch. I do offer social media coaching and training, customized to your unique needs.
What are the best tools to schedule social media with?
There are a lot of apps in this world so it makes sense that people aren’t sure which ones are worth the trouble of figuring out…connecting to all their social media accounts…troubleshooting…. It also makes sense to ask around about what others are using to schedule social media posts. If something is working, why not cut out the trial and error and get on with scheduling already!? I get it!
Last year I wrote up my roundup of 15 best apps for writers and some of those apps are social media schedulers but today I’ll expand a bit and list a few more of my favourites. And I’ll also note all the apps and services I’m mentioning have free plans, which is great when you’re not 100 per cent sure you’ll want to stick with it for the long term. A great get-to-know you, no strings attached, coffee date kind of relationship.
Schedule Social Media with These Free Apps and Services
There’s a lot to love about Hootsuite. I used to use it for all my social media but now the free plan limits your scheduled posts to 30 so I’m limited in my working ahead. Although I’m disappointed with the recent change I’m still team Hootsuite for all of my Twitter management. I schedule posts, track analytics, and keep an eye on the Twitter lists I follow. It’s easy to organize and keeps me sharp. I’m also testing it for my Instagram posting but it’s too soon to say how I feel about it.
I have used Hootsuite teams (paid account) for working with clients and I’m impressed with the analytics capabilities and the ability to co-ordinate with team members.
This is one of the newer schedulers in my arsenal but I think it’s a keeper. This is a “productivity enhancement tool,” which is a fancy way of saying you can manage your social media for multiple platforms from its dashboard. In this way it’s a lot like Hootsuite but where it has a leg up is the content library. Here, I can add evergreen posts and create a schedule around the different libraries. What does this mean? I can not only schedule my social media but I can have it repeat on whatever schedule I desire. I have all my evergreen blogs set up in Recurpost and they now drip out to my chosen social networks on the schedule I set. It is awesome!
You are limited to 100 posts in your content library in the free account, which means you’ll have to upgrade if you’re a content behemoth. And with the stricter Twitter regulations of no identical Twitter posts you now have to create “variations” of your Tweets before the app will schedule them. This does put a damper on my enthusiasm, as I was using this for Twitter the most. And I haven’t sat with these new restrictions long enough to know how I feel about my content strategy or how to deal with it yet.
Like Hootsuite, this is a social scheduling and planning tool. Unlike Hootsuite, it’s a visual planner. What does this mean? You can plug in your social media posts for the next week, month, whatever, and see how it looks as a collection—this is especially powerful for Instagram. You can also save images, captions, and hashtags in the tool for easy re-use. Once your post is scheduled it either publishes it for you sends a push notification (on Instagram) when it’s time. The visual plan helps me see how each image works together and helps me stay on brand.
The free plan limits users to 30 scheduled posts and I’ve found I’m quite capable of maxing it out on Instagram. Also, you’re limited to only the past two weeks of analytics with the free account so if you’re relying on Later for your IG metrics it’s something to keep in mind.
Buffer is a great all-around social media scheduler. You can schedule posts across your social media accounts from this one hub as well as manage Twitter (likes, retweets, etc.) and set up optimal scheduling, which analyzes and suggests the best times to post on each platforms. I use Buffer for a few client accounts and also for my personal Twitter account (more on that in the next tool) and find it straightforward and streamlined. There are also analtyics, but only for the posts published through Buffer.
The free account limits your scheduling activity to 10 posts per social network. It’s because of this teeny tiny amount I can’t recommend it higher. Also the paid plan limits your scheduled posts to 100, so although I like Buffer I wouldn’t go all-in.
This is the craziest app in your schedule social media toolkit. I heard about it a while ago but couldn’t wrap my head around how I could use it. However, a friend re-introduced it to my last autumn and I decided I’d try it out. And you know what? I love it! Quuu is a hand-curated content service, which means they line up your social media content for you and schedule it on your chosen social media platforms. Curating content is a big part of social media marketing, although it’s tough for many people to get on board with (and I get it!). They wonder how promoting other people’s content is going to help them. And I know it’s a mind warp but this upside-down approach of promoting others to grow your platform IS legit. But curating content takes forever. That’s where Quuu comes in.
You are limited to two posts per platform per day and you cannot change the posts with the free plan. In the paid accounts you have more flexibility and say, so if that’s important to you then pay attention. My biggest concern was the curated content wouldn’t match my brand or interests but I’ve been quite pleased with how spot on Quuu has been, even to the point of writing the Tweets how I would. Now that…is freaky.
BoardBooster is a Pinterest scheduler and allows you to loop your pins, which means repinning older posts to the top of your boards and deleting duplicate posts. It’s a great way to keep your Pinterest activity constant even if you don’t have new content. You can also schedule new content to post on boards and set up auto posting to group boards. Other features I haven’t tried yet (I’m still working on understanding Pinterest) are tribe management tools, test pins for broken links, duplicates, etc., split boards and remove unwanted pins from the platform, and optimize your strategy through analyzing the best time to pin.
With the free account you’re limited to 100 pins although I’m not certain how firm they are since I’m over 100 and still on the free account. The paid account is $5 btw so…not a bank breaker.
This tool helps you automate your social media marketing with triggers (called Applets and Services), which are amazing and yet overwhelming since the options and combinations are endless. It works like this: IF an action happens on your service (say, on Facebook) THEN the applet runs and does your desired action (say, posts what happened on Facebook to your Pinterest board). It’s tricky to explain but I can tell you, it’s a time saver because it takes out the mundane repetitive tasks and automates them for you. You just need to know what you need.
I like all the different options IFTTT offers but I’m limited by my imagination—which recipes will work best for me? Which combinations of services and applets will move my marketing forward? How much should I schedule social media and how much should I be in the moment, live and authentic? These are the questions. I learned about IFTTT from a friend and has a better explanation of its power so if you’re curious, check it out.
This list isn’t comprehensive but it is what I enjoy using these days. If you have any favourites I haven’t mentioned please enlighten me! I’m always looking for tools to help schedule social media and would love to try something new.
Spreading the love on social media. We could all use more love, couldn’t we?
This year, I’m resolving to do less of the mindless scroll and more adding goodness to the social landscape. Care to join me? Here are eight ideas for spreading the love on social media. They’re not invasive, they’re not difficult, and they’re not rocket science. But sometimes they’re tough to remember.
If we let it, social media can make us feel horrible. We all know it but still allow people’s picture-perfect feeds to get us down. It’s why we’re so focused (borderline obsessed?) on authenticity and honesty—we understand what we see on social media feeds isn’t reality, but it’s difficult to stop comparing.
I wrote about four ways to overcome social media comparison over on Faith Strong Today if you’re interested in changing your self-talk but need a bit of a push.
8 Tips for Spreading the Love on Social Media
Be generous with your likes
This is something I’m trying to do more of. What does it cost me to “like” someone’s status or post? Not much. But what can it add to someone else’s day? Maybe a lot. I don’t go through and “like” everything I see, but if something makes me pause, think, or smile, I make sure to (at least) like it.
Leave kind, genuine comments
One of the communities I’m in started practising this and I realized how encouraging it is to receive comments on social media posts. So much more than I thought. Now that I’m aware I make sure to leave comments as often as I can, and as nice as I can.
Tell someone something nice
This launches from my last point. Doesn’t it feel good when someone notices something you’re working hard on and compliments you? Or tells you you’re doing a great job? I have decided to be more intentional about doing this for others. When I notice something awesome, mention it. And now that I’m trying to notice what others are doing I’m seeing a lot more to mention! I love how it helps me keep my eyes on others rather than on myself.
Try to make someone laugh
Yes I do mean post hilarious memes, GIFs, and videos. Why not? Maybe even post an epic Throwback Thursday photo and make someone smile. Who says we need to be serious all the time? Life is serious enough.
Post something beautiful
Along the lines of posting something fun, what about posting something beautiful? An amazing landscape, a cute animal, or a stunning piece of art…think about what would bring joy or awe to someone else’s day and add it to your feed.
Post something encouraging
In my new and improved approach to social media I’ve started asking what would be helpful and uplifting to the people who I’m connected with on social media. When I approach my posting strategy from this viewpoint I find I have a lot to say—and I find in trying to be encouraging it’s filling me up as well. How cool!
Highlight someone you look up to
If someone is doing a great job why not give them a shout out? A friend of mine is doing this on her Instagram feed and I’m finding it so awesome. If someone has helped you out in you life or career why WOULDN’T you honour them in this way? Love this so much.
Follow people who inspire you
One of the best ways I’ve found to stay positive on social media is by following people with the same agenda—following those already spreading the love on social media and inspiring me to do the same. Why not fill your feed with the change you want to see?
These are my top tips for spreading the love on social media but I’ve love to hear your ideas. Let me know in the comments…or on social media.
What is a flat lay? I hear this all the time and up until a few months ago it was me asking the Internet. Here’s the quick answer: it’s a photograph shot from above, flat.
Although this term is kind of sort of new (the earliest reference I can find is 2015) the style is not. It just went by different names.
Other names for flat lay
Flatlay (OK, that’s just a different spelling)
Knolling (from the 80s, and the original flat lay)
If you’re styling your photo using a light background, natural light, and shooting it from above…then you already know what a flay lay photo is. You just didn’t have the vocabulary.
So. That was easy. Now what?
Now you have to figure out what you’re going to take photos of. When figuring out what you want to showcase you also need to think about why. Why are you showing this to your audience? What makes it special? Why do you want them to see it? Whatever product or prop you land on, this becomes your “hero” or the focus of your composition.
But let’s break the flat lay down a bit using a personal example
I love taking flay lay photos of books and movies because it makes them so much more interesting. The book or movie is the hero—none of the props should take attention away from the hero!—and everything else adds to the story.
If you look at the above examples, you can see I’ve achieved the storytelling angle better in some than others using props, background, and composition. The more flat lays you do, the better you get at them (trust me). I shot these over a period of months using different techniques, camera angles, and lighting.
I also wanted to include my knitting flat lays so you can see a more minimalist approach. I shot these all on the same day using similar props and the same background. I did this because I wanted a consistent look on my Instagram feed while showcasing my hand knit products.
Here are a few tips for styling and shooting flat lays
Use a light background. In most cases, a piece of cardboard or a sheet will work great. A flat surface is ideal.
Try and style your flat lay. This can be difficult if you’re not artistic or confident with what looks good. Here are a few questions to ask as you style: Is my hero product the focus? Do I like this composition? What will make this more interesting? What will my audience like? Take a few shots and then re-style your flat lay and take a few more shots. The more you tweak the better you’ll get at it.
If possible, use natural lighting. After MUCH trial and error I found a window in my house that lets in a consistent amount of natural light from day to day. I created a nice little setup with a card table by the window so I can take advantage of the great light.
Try to be parallel to your flat lay when shooting. This is where things get interesting. You’ll need to be above the shot in order to get it right. Try a stool, chair, step ladder, or whatever you need to get in the correct position. I use a combination of a chair and a tripod but I’m always trying to get my shots more parallel.
Remember to take lots of photos and to move your flat lay composition around a bit so when you get to the photo editing you have a few options. This may take a while at first but you will get better, I promise! If I can figure it out…then you’ll be just fine.