Social Media Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

I spend a lot of time talking about why freelancers should be social online but there are a few social media dangers we need to pay attention to.

Social Media Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

Social media dangers to be aware of

As literary citizens, it’s important we don’t get swept up in the drama of the moment when we’re engaging online. Here are a few quick tips for avoiding the negative side of social media.

Social media is now seen as a must-have for many in business. It’s a fabulous marketing tool, which can allow you to build relationships with clients. It’s also good for networking and even for providing customer service. However, social media can also cause problems, so if you’re using it for business there are a few things to be aware of.

Getting too comfortable

Social media gives you the tools you need to get a little more intimate with people. You can casually and closely engage them, having conversations and creating discussions. However, sometimes this means you can get a bit too familiar and forget your professionalism. It’s smart to keep some distance between your personal opinions and the things that you put on social media. For example, avoid engaging in heated discussions or debates!

Experiencing social media overwhelm

It can be a lot to handle when you’re trying to manage several social media accounts. There’s a lot of information coming at you, and many people trying to interact with you. Even when you have some distance between your personal life and your business’s social media, it can be difficult to manage.

Are you experiencing social overload? Here are some strategies for dealing with social media overwhelm without quitting social media altogether.

Accidently spreading fake news

Sharing things on social media is extremely easy. With just one click, or sometimes two, you can share something with all of your followers. Sometimes this is convenient, but it also means you can unthinkingly share fake news without taking the time to check its veracity. Learn how to spot fake news and help to prevent it from spreading.

Infographic Design By University of Southern California

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I spend a lot of time talking about why freelancers should be social online but there are a few social media dangers we need to pay attention to. As literary citizens, it's important we don't get swept up in the drama of the moment when we're engaging online. Here are a few quick tips for avoiding the negative side of social media.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

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How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

Whether you call it overload, burnout or addiction, social media overwhelm is real and reduces our capacity to connect…ironically.

How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

I heard a stat the other day saying we look at our phones an average of 150 times per day. I don’t know if it’s true but when I’m deep-down honest with myself I wonder how many times I look at my phone. A lot. And why? Much of the time I’m not doing anything. Opening apps, refreshing feeds, seeing if that was my phone that buzzed.

And that’s just checking what other people are posting. What about posting itself? How much time do I spend thinking about social media? If I’m deep-down honest…more than 150 times per day. Thinking about strategy, researching tactics, and testing tools can be a full-time job if you let it.

What can be done about social media overwhelm?

Oh, lots. First of all, you can take the extreme approach by avoiding it, banning it from your life, removing apps from your phone, or doing a social media detox. All those things are fine—but extreme. If you’re trying to grow your platform going off social media, although good for your mental health, doesn’t help you grow. What if there was a way to have the best of both worlds? Limit the time you spend on social media/in the digital world but be present when you’re there?

Yes, I’m trying to paint a picture of you being intentionally social rather than mindlessly scrolling. Not a crazy thing! I think you can do it!

Here are my top five tips for avoiding social media overwhelm

  1. Create a strategy
  2. I do this for a living so of course I’ll recommend building a social media marketing strategy. This isn’t hard but you do need to spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of social media. Why are you there? What are your goals? Who do you want to connect with? Figure these things out and everything gets easier from here. (Want some help? Here’s my Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers.)

  3. Create a posting schedule
  4. Your posting schedule (also known as a content calendar or social focus) is a lifesaver. Instead of showing up going “I need to post today but I don’t know what to dooooooo,” you say “OK, so my focus today is encouragement so what do I have that’s encouraging? On one of the accounts I manage I created a basic posting schedule to help me come up with content but to also remain consistent. Mondays: Contests or opportunities, Tuesdays: General knowledge, Wednesdays: Ask a question, Thursdays: Contests or opportunities, Fridays: Article share. See? There’s a posting schedule, just like that. (If you want to go deeper, here’s my article on how to create a content calendar.)

  5. Choose your focus (ahead of time)
  6. You can’t be everywhere. So which network will you focus on? There is a lot of advice out there for which networks have the biggest payoff but you will need to decide for yourself what works. A couple questions to consider when choosing your social networks: Where are you most comfortable online? Where are your clients/readers most comfortable online?

    (You can go deeper on choosing your social networks here.)

  7. Get help
  8. Whoa. But we writers are solitary creatures! Yes, but we also tend to get in our heads and spiral. When you’re feeling social media overwhelm creep up, get help. This could be by speaking with a mentor or colleague, taking a course/learning a new skill, or hiring someone. The point is, get help. (Here’s a great story about a time I was asked for help and we ended up re-launching JenniMarie’s photography business.)

  9. Use scheduling tools
  10. Use them like they’re going out of style. Seriously, USE TOOLS! They not only help you organize your social life, but if set up right, they allow you to focus on what you need to and filter out the rest. The right scheduling tools will keep social media overwhelm at bay and help you reach your social and business goals. (Here are my 15 best apps for freelance writers, including my favourite social media scheduling tools.)

OK! That wasn’t so hard was it? Now get out there and be social!

Social media overwhelm is real and reduces our capacity to connect...ironically. Here are my top 5 tips for avoiding social media overwhelm.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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How to Find Hashtags: Tips and Tricks to Gain Followers

How to find hashtags, how to use hashtags, what are hashtags and everything in between. Plus a free download!

How to Find Hashtags: Tips and Tricks to Gain Followers

Want 125 writing-related hashtags? They’re my gift to you, free in my resource library. Pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

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How to find hashtags: tips and tricks to gain followers

This is a guide for how to find hashtags and how to use hashtags to grow your audience. Yes, you can make up your own. Yes you can do it to be funny or ironic. However, if you’re using hashtags to be discovered by people you don’t already know or who don’t already follow you, this approach doesn’t really serve you.

Up until 2007 I only knew of # as “pound sign.” Then one day, when I was living in England, I was given a gate code.

"It's 4-8-6-3-hash."

Wait, what?

Maybe it was a button called hash. I don’t know, maybe it’s a British thing.

The five minutes at the gate staring for the hash button was one of the longest, most awkward feeling I’ve had in some time. I can’t remember how I got out through the gate in the end, maybe someone came over and showed me which button was hash. Sigh. Canadians, amiright!?

Fast forward a few years and everyone now knows what # means. We just don’t know how to find hashtags

OK maybe my wording isn’t quite right. We see hashtags everywhere but we don’t know which ones to use or how to use them right. I know this because I’ve been to a bazillion social media events and that question comes up every time.

And I’ve heard all sorts of answers to the question. All sorts. No wonder everyone’s so confused. When there’s a cloud at the pulpit there’s a fog in the pew kind of thing. Blind leading the blind. Oh, and what about hashtag strategy?

Gah.

Perhaps you’re getting the sense we have a lot to cover here. You would be correct. This is going to be at least a four-part series.

Here’s how I see it going

But we could go deeper.

First, what are hashtags?

A hashtag is a word or phrase used on a social media platform preceded by a hash or pound sign (#)

That’s it. And I know if you see them around and don’t use them much you are thinking “why would I have to find hashtags? Anything’s a hashtag. #hashtag is a hashtag.

Yes. But if you’re trying to grow your audience on social media using the right hashtags in the right way can be a key strategy to growth. SO. How do you find those hashtags?

Hashtags are essential because when used properly, you gain targeted and engaged followers.

How to find hashtags

OK, so yes you can make up your own hashtags, but if you’re looking for engagement or want others to discover you, then you should use hashtags other people in your target audience are using. And don’t get me wrong, you can use your own branded hashtags but that is a whole other subject. Right now let’s focus on helping people find you slash your great content by using the right hashtags.


Here are two resources to check out

Hashtagger

There are lots of hashtag discovery apps, but this is the one I like for finding popular hashtags around a certain word or phrase when I’m on the go. As in, I’m in the middle of posting and I need hashtags! The app is minimalist—your only option is to search for hashtags. You do this by typing in a word, pressing search, then selecting the hashtags from the list. You can copy up to 30 then paste them all at once into your post or comment on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

NOTE: This app is no longer available in the Canadian iTunes store so I no longer use it but I think it’s still available in the US iTunes store.

Hastagify.me

When I’m more organized this is a fun site to use. You can type in words to the search bar and it displays the top hashtags using fancy charts. How fun!

When you hover over the results it also displays popularity and correlation to your original search term. This is a great way to research hashtags ahead of time.

Fun!


Want 125 writing-related hashtags? They’re my gift to you, free in my resource library. Pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

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One last comment about hashtags and yes, I’m repeating myself because I’ve heard this push back SO MANY TIMES. Yes, you can make up your own. Yes you can do it to be funny or ironic. However, if you’re using hashtags to be discovered by people you don’t already know or who don’t already follow you, this approach doesn’t really serve you. So yes, go ahead and #makeupyourown but don’t be surprised if nothing happens.

Next time, I’ll outline using hashtags for Instagram because there are a lot of rules to follow and it can be confusing!

Other Social Media Articles

This is a guide to finding hashtags to grow your audience. How to find hashtags, how to use hashtags, what are hashtags, and everything in between.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
This is a guide to finding hashtags to grow your audience. How to find hashtags, how to use hashtags, what are hashtags, and everything in between.

Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. Now that I understand the platform? PURE MAGIC.

Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers: Marketing, Promotion, Research

I don’t know why I hesitated other than it didn’t seem like a fit and I didn’t get it. Other bloggers love Pinteret. Like SO much. But since I don’t keep a lifestyle blog, I didn’t think there was any point. I mean, isn’t it just recipes and make-up tutorials?

NOPE.

My perspective shifted after I met Shawna, a minimalist blogger and life coach over at Simple on Purpose. She shared about how her business and blog took off after one Pin went viral.

ONE. PIN.

So when the opportunity came, I asked Shawna to review my profile and give me Pinterest tips to improve my sad attempt at…what was I trying to do anyway? She obliged and provided me with a report FILLED with suggestions. It was 1,000 words long, I counted.

Yes, I had my work cut out for me, and it was just the beginning.

My Pinterest mindset shift

I’ll spare you the details of how much spring cleaning I had to do on my Pinterest account. Suffice to say it would have been easier to start from scratch. Because I didn’t know what I was doing I hadn’t done anything right.

Up until this point I had looked at Pinterest as somewhere to go when you’re looking for costume ideas or DIY projects. But that’s a Pinterest consumer. A Pinterest content creator looks at the platform in a different way.

A content creator looks at the platform and creates appropriate Pins by pairing visually-appealing vertical images with pleasing fonts and a keyword-optimized description. But she doesn’t stop there.

A good content creator also develops a visual brand to stand out from the Pinterest noise and restrains her public pinning to the topics she writes about.

Here’s the most important thing you need to understand: Pinterest is not a social network, it’s a search engine.

Searching for content on Pinterest is a wonderful exercise but Pins also show up as results on all other search engines.

Did you catch that?

If your content is performing well on Pinterest, it may also show up as an image search result in Google.

It then follows that being active and pinning the right content on Pinterest will increase your reach and bring your ideal clients to you.

Pinterest tips for freelance writers

OK, let’s dive in. I’m going to focus on the basics of setting up your Pinterest profile and pinning as a freelance writer. You can go deep with Pinterest strategy and I’ll be honest, I’m not there yet. While I’m happy with the results I’m seeing from Pinterest, I’m still finding my footing.

What I am certain of is Pinterest is a fabulous marketing tool that many freelance writers overlook. Because most freelancers are investing their marketing time elsewhere, this is a great opportunity to maximize your return on Pinterest.

When you’re ready to use Pinterest for promoting your freelance writing business start with your profile

  • Does your user name/handle reflect your business? If not change it
  • Is your profile photo an image of you? If not update it
  • Does your “about me” description talk about what you do and who you serve? If not, rewrite it
  • Are your boards named using keywords related to your business or your niche? Update the ones you can and set the others to secret
  • Have you included a link to your website? If not add it

Feeling ready to start Pinning?

Before you dive in, pinning images from across the Internet remember you are a content creator now. So it’s time to create pins for Pinterest.

Think about what your prospects or ideal readers are searching for on Pinterest. What are the words they’re using? What problems are they trying to solve? Think about what type of images they’ll be drawn to and the types of topics they’ll be interested in.

Brainstorming and researching may take some time but after you spend some time on the platform you’ll get a feel for how it works and which pins work best for your audience and why.

In general, you want to pin things your ideal clients will:

  • Be drawn to
  • Want to read
  • Find helpful
  • Repin
  • Pay attention to

This doesn’t have to be 100 per cent your own content but you should definitely work on adding as much as you can to the platform. Get your writing in circulation!

Pinterest Tips Pin Anatomy
This pin is from the post How to Create a Writing Schedule if you want to see it for yourself.

Pinterest tips: image size

The images that perform best on Pinterest are vertical, around 600 x 900 pixels. You can test the sizes out of course (and the rules do change from time to time) but in general, try and stick to vertical rather than horizontal images. If you JUST CANNOT then square images are also acceptable.

Pinterest tips: create your own Pinterest images using Canva

Creating images specifically for PInterset ensures your image will put its best foot forward on the platform.

  • Make sure to use a visually-pleasing image (light images tend to perform better than dark images)
  • Overlay branding elements like your website or logo
  • Include your main keywords as a text overlay on the image (and repeat your keywords in the description)
  • Bonus tip: enable rich pins (if you’re lost, check out the video below from Redefining Mom on how to do this)

One thing to consider is if you want to pin a lot then you may need to create more content on your website to link to. Another idea, pin your samples to a Pinterest board. Here’s my Writing Portfolio as an example. And yes, I’m customing-making most of those pins.

Even if you aren’t ready to pin you can still use Pinterest in a few interesting ways

  • Discover potential clients who are using the platform
  • Do keyword research using Pinterest search
  • Brainstorm pitch ideas by finding topics related to your niche

I know I already said this but I just think Pinterest is such a great opportunity. So many writers overlook it because they don’t understand the platform or they don’t believe their prospects are there. But with 175 million users…there’s a good chance your ideal clients are at least somewhat active on Pinterest.

And wouldn’t it be great to show up as the answer to their question?

I think so!

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. I don't know why I hesitated other than it didn't seem like a fit. Now that I understand how to use it? MAGIC. Pinterest is revolutionizing my website and my opinion has changed. To say the least.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

How to Find Clients on LinkedIn | Prospecting Tips for Freelance Writers

If you’re a freelance writer you may have heard people recommend trying to find clients on LinkedIn. Perhaps in years past it wasn’t a big deal to let the sleeper social media network be a background app but those days are over. LinkedIn is now a viable option for securing excellent freelance writing gigs.

How to Find Clients on LinkedIn | Prospecting Tips for Freelance Writers

How to Find Clients on LinkedIn | Prospecting Tips for Freelance Writers

I see a lot of freelancers posting in networking groups about how they’re frustrated with low rates from traditional publications and don’t know where to look for those niche clients who pay well. For freelance writers searching for stable, corporate clients, LinkedIn may be their shining beacon of hope.

There are good reasons for freelancers to consider prospecting on LinkedIn. For example,

  • Popular freelance marketplace go-tos like job boards and content mills are competitive and there are more disappointing rates then there are decent ones
  • Writers are discovering more magazine contracts filled with rights grabs (extending to television and movies) and imndemnity clauses, which don’t favour the freelancer
  • Journalists are finding fewer job opportunities as newsrooms get smaller and dailies are shut down. As a result they’re moving into content marketing or busines to business writing

Here is what your LinkedIn profile needs

  • A professional and/or decent headshot
  • Accurate keywords describing what you do (nothing fancy or clever, what would your ideal client type into the search bar? Use those words)
  • A descriptive summary using keywords that will resonate with your ideal client (What problems do you solve? How can you help?)
  • Plain language—people are here to do business
  • Bonus: the more niche, the better

How to use LinkedIn to find clients

Before you do anything, figure out how the platform works and learn the conventions. I’ve already mentioned people come here to do business but it goes deeper than that. Look at what type of articles and other content people publish. Pay attention to the style of comments people leave. And notice the conversations happening. They’re unique to this platform so make sure you’re aware of platform expectations.

Once you have a handle on the decorum, consider publishing a few articles on LinkedIn Publisher related to your area of expertise. These should be targeted at your ideal client and solve a problem they’re having.

Now you’re ready to start connecting

Connection type 1: search the platform for your ideal clients.

Oh, and make sure you have a good idea of who you’re looking for.

For example, if you’re prospecting for mid-level IT businesses, who do you need to connect with in the company? A marketing manager? If you’re interested in publishing in a niche trade magazine perhaps you’ll look for an editor. Narrowing your search will help you focus on the best possible matches and will streamline your efforts.

Basically, think of common titles your market would use to describe themselves (CEO, accountant, sales manager, etc.) and use those when searching.

When you’re clear on your prospect then you can look for these people either using the LinkedIn Advanced Search or LinkedIn Groups.

Once you find people who fit your current client focus, reach out and request a connection. Make sure to add a personalized message to your request but don’t pitch anything yet. You’re just networking at this point.

These people may or may not accept your requests but for the ones who do, send a thank-you message and ask a question. But still, no pitching. All you’re doing here is getting to know them a bit. Small talk. You could see if they work with freelance writers but I’d even be careful jumping into that question right away.

If the conversation progresses and the manager/editor/prospect wants to see more this is the time to send your Letter of Introduction (LOI).

Want to learn more about LOIs? I recommend reading Jennifer Goforth Gregory’s blog.

Connection type 2: Connect with people who have viewed your profile.

LinkedIn lets you know who has viewed you profile. Pay attention to this! If the person who viewed your profile seems like a good fit, then send them a connection request with a personalized note.

This more or less follows the same process as above but I might be a little more casual at first, asking questions like what they’re working on these days and what they’re up to in general.

But if it seems like they could use a freelance writer then jump back into business mode and get your LOI ready and send it over.

Regular prospecting on LinkedIn can take as little as 15 minutes per day using the free version where you send a few connection request, comment on threads or post articles. But if it becomes an important client source you may want to consider upgrading your account to increase your search and messaging credits, as well as other perks.

If you're a freelance writer you may have heard people recommend trying to find clients on LinkedIn. And there are good reasons, it's time to get on board.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required