Category Archives: Pinterest Tips

How Social Media Has Evolved—And Why It Matters To Writers

social-media

Unless you’ve been living in a rural cabin, pounding away on a manual typewriter, you know that technology and social media have been rapidly evolving over the past five years.  Facebook alone has changed dozens of times since it graduated from Harvard and launched itself into the greater public in 2006. In fact, all the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, and more—have regularly reinvented themselves.

Since social media is an essential part of any savvy writer’s author platform, it’s important to stay ahead of trends. If you’re still trying to “poke” friends on Facebook, or you don’t know what that weird ghost icon is all about, you might have a harder time keeping your audience engaged. But don’t worry! You can quickly get up to speed on the latest social media developments:

Social Media Trends That Writers Need To Know

There is a growing emphasis on imagery over text.

Even though it might rub writers the wrong way, when it comes to social media, that old adage is true: A picture IS worth a thousand words. With the advent of Snapchat (hello, ghost icon!) and Vine—and with other more established platforms like Tumblr and YouTube still steadily growing in popularity—images have become an important part of your status update.

The evidence is right there in your Facebook feed: Notice how many more images you see versus posts with only text.  A written post of “I just got engaged!” doesn’t have the same impact as a photo of your hand wearing a flashy new piece of jewelry. In the same way, a post featuring your book cover art will grab the attention of more of your followers than a simple sentence stating: “My book was just published.” And Tweets that feature images get 313% more engagement!

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Short and Simple.

The shorter your content, the more engagement your post will receive. A study by NPR found that the sweet spot is forty characters or less! News articles have now been replaced by the “listicle.” Snapchat is just a photo and a line of text, while Vine presents only a six-second video.

And of course, don’t forget the ever-present meme. Let’s face facts: A well-written long post about a political figure will get less interaction on social media than a meme that features a short sentence on a cropped photo of the person in mid-sneeze. The lesson for writers? Keep your posts short and simple. A brief, bulleted list of your upcoming events with a photo from your latest book signing will resonate better with your readers than paragraphs of detailed information.

Change is inevitable.

The never-ending evolution of social media may make your head spin—and wouldn’t you rather be writing than posting, tweeting, or pinning? But guess what: All of these up-to-the-minute changes offer innovative, exciting ways to interact with your existing fans and reach potential new readers. (Find out which social media platform is right for you.)

Before social media, the only way you would have any contact with your audience was through snail mail or when you met them in person at a book signing. Now, you can instantly get the word out when your latest piece is published, and even provide a handy link to the online journal. You can share information and get immediate reactions and feedback from your followers. Instead of spending money on expensive advertising, you can generate buzz for your latest writing project across multiple social media platforms without spending a penny.

Social media makes it easier than ever to take the pulse of your readers, get them interested in your work, and keep them coming back for more. And sure—you can post the occasional photo of a cat in a pizza box or celebrate National Coffee Day with a picture of your latest overpriced cappuccino (placed strategically next to your book or the journal featuring your writing, of course!).

If the idea of maintaining your social media seems like a lot of work, check out our Virtual Assistant packages. We’ll do all the posting so you can spend your time writing!

Question: How has social media changed the way you communicate with your readers?

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Essential Vacation Safety Tips For Your Social Media (And More!)

Vacation Safety Tips For Your Social Media Platforms copy3

You’re so excited about your upcoming vacation that you can hardly contain yourself! Finally, you’ll be the writer posting photos of umbrella drinks and tweeting about glorious sunsets, or blogging on your website about amazing Mayan ruins. Authors are always in search of new content for marketing and promotion: What better way to captivate your audience than to share on social media about the on-the-spot research you’re doing for your next project while enjoying your dream vacation?

Unfortunately, social media like Facebook and Twitter is used by 4 out of 5 burglars as the new-millennium way to find an easy target. So when you post vacation photos, you’re announcing to everyone—thieves included—that your home is unoccupied.

Before you go on holiday, check out these anti-burglary tips. And be sure to back up your manuscripts on the Cloud or on a thumb drive that you can stash in a safe place. This way, if the worst happens and thieves break into your home and steal your computer—at least they won’t abscond with all of your carefully edited writing and new drafts.

Social Media Vacation Safety For Authors

Writers who post daily on social media and upload blogs to author websites have to balance vacation safety against marketing and promotion needs. In your efforts to walk that tightrope, consider these tips.

Avoid Announcing In Advance. It may be tempting to gush about your plans the moment you purchase the plane ticket to Europe, but that allows more time for thieves to catch wind of your plans and cook up plans of their own.

If You Must Talk About Your Travels, Wait Until The Last Minute And Limit The Listeners. Take advantage of G+ “Collections” or Facebook’s List feature. By separating your friends into custom lists or collections like “colleagues,” “book fans,” “college friends,” “family,” etc., you can choose to share certain posts to a smaller circle.

Practice Patience. Rather than instantly sharing selfies, hold your trigger finger. Once you’re home, you’ll have time to curate your photos, craft clever posts and tweets, and then schedule their release for maximum engagement using Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, and other social media management tools. The same goes for blog articles to be posted on your website.

Schedule Posts For Release While You’re Away. If you’re a frequent poster on social media, a sudden extended radio-silence may alert a savvy thief that you’re off slurping rum runners. Use your Facebook Page’s scheduling feature or a general social media management tool to schedule your typical daily posts while you’re gone.

Temporarily Enable Timeline Review. If you’re going away with friends who tag you in every photo, those images will show up on your page and alert thieves that you’re having a grand time in the Caymans. To avoid this, enable Facebook Timeline Review while you’re away.

The Bottom Line: Just Be Smart, Not Scared

Not so long ago, thieves trolled coffee shops and supermarkets, listening for local folks chatting about upcoming vacation plans. Or they drove through neighborhoods, scanning for piled-up newspaper deliveries or overflowing mailboxes that would signal an unattended home. Now they just tune into social media, where writers make a point of broadcasting information to the public. Fortunately, by paying attention to basics and using a few best practices, you can boast about your vacation, boost your engagement stats, and still protect yourself, your home, and your valuables.

Question:  Do you use a social media management tool like TweetDeck, Facebook Page scheduling, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or any other tool—and which do you like best?

 

8 Secrets Of Creating A Pinnable Image

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You may know the fan-building benefits of integrating social media into your online author platform. You may even have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter. But if you want to reach an even larger audience with your writing, consider starting a Pinterest board!

Whether you’re a social media maven or just hopping onto the social media bandwagon, Pinterest is an important part of any successful outreach strategy. And it’s easy to get started—simply choose and pin images that inspire you as an author. Your goal is to grow your audience by pinning images that will intrigue the people who visit your board and motivate them to share your pins with their own followers.

But how can you ensure that the images you pin are ones that people will want to share?

How To Create A Popular Pin On Pinterest

1. Choose photos that people respond to emotionally. 

When people connect with an image, they are much more likely to want to share that pin with others. So, while you’re searching for images to pin, think of one or two words that embody the message you want to convey. If you’re a romance writer, that word can be “love”; if you’re a mystery writer, perhaps you might focus on the idea of “clue.” Then, choose images that drive those concepts home. The more your Pinterest images are shared, the more attention you and your writing will receive!

2. Pin images that feature quotes

Quotes are very popular—and shareable—on social media. A quick Internet search will turn up plenty of images featuring inspirational quotes. Or, you can use sites like Quozio.com to easily create an image featuring a quote that is especially meaningful to you and your writing.

If you plan to incorporate your own photographs into your Pinterest quote cards, be sure to check out our mini-lesson on share-worthy photos!

3. Use the best size format for Pinterest images. 

Vertical images are better than horizontal on Pinterest because they look the best with the website’s format. Research has shown that the best aspect ratio for Pinterest images is either a 2:3 ratio or a 1:3:5 ratio.

An example of a 2:3 ratio is a picture that is 600 pixels wide and 900 pixels tall. A photo that is 600 pixels wide by 2,100 pixels tall is an example of a 1:3:5 aspect ratio. You also want to be sure to have a width of at least 600 pixels. Following these ratios ensures that the image is well proportioned and doesn’t get cut off when shared in social media feeds.

4. Write fantastic descriptions for your Pinterest images.

As a writer, the Pinterest image description is your opportunity to shine! Just be sure to use fewer than 100 characters. Pinterest allows you to use up to 500 characters, but shorter descriptions are likely to catch the attention of your fan base.

Including keywords will help viewers immediately understand what the image is about and also ensure that the photo comes up in searches. Use the correct capitalization and punctuation in your description—no typos! Finally, remember that your photo is more likely to gain popularity if your description captures your unique voice as a writer, not a pushy sales pitch for your book.

Some Picture-Perfect Details To Keep In Mind…

A recent analysis from the marketing company Curalate revealed that popular Pinterest images share some very distinct elements:

5. Human faces are absent from the photo.

6. The photo has more than just one dominant color.

7. The image is composed predominantly of red and orange shades, as opposed to blue shades.

8. Light and saturation are both seen in moderation.

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, check out our many boards on Pinterest. They cover topics from literary costumes and food to writing and grammar humor.

And if the idea of maintaining your Pinterest board—along with keeping up with all your other responsibilities—seems like too much to handle, we can help! Our Virtual Assistant program can create and maintain your Pinterest boards for you.

QUESTION: Have you discovered any trends in your popular Pinterest images?

Web Design Relief’s Links Roundup, February 2016

Welcome to February’s Links Roundup! This month, we’ve compiled a list of links you’re sure to love: bolster your social media content; add new gear to your blogging tool kit; and find a book marketing plan that works for you. Whether you create your own author website or we create one for you, we want… Continue Reading

Instagram Marketing: Top 6 Fan-Building Tips For Writers

At first sight, Instagram, a free social media app focused on images, might not seem like the best choice for writers. But if you use it correctly, Instagram is an excellent way to promote your writing and connect with fans—in fact, nearly half of all US adults use Instagram daily! With Instagram, you can take a photo or video… Continue Reading

9 Go-To Style Tips To Revitalize Your Author Website

Have you noticed that lately your author website is losing visitors? When it comes to Web content, what was interesting and popular yesterday can become “same-old, same-old” today. To keep readers engaged and coming back, it’s important to give your website the occasional makeover. We’re not talking about an expensive, haute couture, professional redesign of… Continue Reading

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