(Photo compliments of Morguefile.com)
In 1989, I went to my first Major League Baseball game. The Atlanta Braves played the Montreal Expos at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. I loved the smell of stadium—a mix of popcorn, hot dogs, and spilled beer.
I will never forget my first glimpse of the green outfield grass through the entryways. I was wowed by the manicured grass, the white baselines, and, best of all, the teams’ players tossing balls to each other. What I had watched on TV became real life.
I dragged my dad down to the field to get players’ autographs. We called the players by name and waved to them. We wanted their attention for a minute. And we were so excited when they came to talk with us. Several decades later, I still have the baseball glove they signed.
Today’s readers want the same interaction with writers. And they want your attention via social media. They want to know they’ve been heard. But how does a busy writer have time to keep up with it all?
Free, easy-to-download applications can help. There are numerous applications that offer an organized picture of your social-media life and keep you engaged with your readers, calling to you from theirs seats in the stands.
Programs will allow you to manage your social media life, such as multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. These programs also offer analytics. What does that mean? It will show, for example, the number of people following you and which links in tweets were most popular and how many of your Facebook posts have been “liked.” Hootsuite may be a Web-based program to consider. “Web-based” means you open the document via a webpage, instead of a program on your computer.
Other social media apps can integrate different programs. Writers with an eye for photography can turn to Instagram, and YouTube fits with videographer-writers. Those two apps can be on the web or on your smartphone.
Like enthusiastic baseball fans, readers—particularly younger readers—are turning to social media to get authors’ attention and start a conversation. They want you, as the author, involved, but they won’t wait long for a response. Social media programs, such as Tweetdeck, allows for pop-up notifications on your computer screen. Whenever a new Tweet arrives, it will appear briefly on a corner of the computer screen, similar to new emails when using Microsoft’s Outlook. Some programs have settings to customize notifications to show only “retweets,” “likes,” or “mentions.” That can ensure that your screen isn’t always barraged with tweets.
Here are two takeaways to consider:
- Get a social media program that will keep you engaged with people.
- Engage yourself, realizing that with each Tweet or Facebook posts you are branding yourself and building a following. Read this post from 2013 about using social media.
Which social media programs do you engage in? Which ones are effective for reaching your readers?