A deeply creepy novel set in on a remote Scottish Island
Things I wished I had known when I first started the TF book blog
20th September 2016
Way back when, at a time when I really was a rookie reviewer and blogger, I had to find my way through the myriad of opportunities and find a place to start. I felt very much in the dark… which platform to use… how to use hashtags… Twitter Handles and more. Where to start?
So I thought, with just a bit more experience down the line, I would put together a few pointers that would have been of enormous help to me.
My first choice of blogging platform was Blogger. I chose this because a friend was using it and he said it worked fine for him. It also had an icon which I felt “fitted” better with the other icons I wanted to go on to use in my e mail signature (nothing like choosing style over substance, then!).
As the months rolled past, it became abundantly clear that WordPress (even with their strangely shaped icon, it was hexagonal in the early days) would have been the better choice. I was loathe to leave Blogger because the views were raining in, until someone pointed out that they were for the most part trolls and bots, mainly from Russia. The “real” page views weren’t anything as good as they seemed. At that juncture there seemed little point in staying with Blogger.
Having moved across to WordPress, which the professionals tend to use, I found it is more adaptable when you want to expand.
So, Tip 1: choose your platform carefully!
Then came the scary prospect of Twitter.
Tip 2: Choose a handle (that’s your name) that is short and as memorable as possible. Fellow Twitter users might want to tag you, but don’t want to spend time searching for you. It’s incredibly important! JamesDean or JDean is spot on; avoid something completely random (kittenface), underscores (James_Dean or JamesDean_) and random numbers (James123) if you can, they all obfuscate your identity and are not good form (apparently) – but as more people come to Twitter, the more individuals will need to be creative about their handles as it is getting pretty crowded out there.
You also don’t want a long Twitter Handle – because each character uses up valuable space. Avoid something like: TyeTheTwizzlerMan15T (but if you are tempted to check up on Tye Davis, whose Twitter Handle this is, he hasn’t been active since 2007… he also still has an egg for his avatar!)
Tip 3: Change the default avatar – the egg – otherwise Twitter users will simply pass you by. You will be considered a bot (an automated robot) or that you aren’t sufficiently engaged in the process to warrant any follows.
Facebook is another social media phenomenon and as it changes and evolves – and recently it has upped its game – it is becoming much more user friendly and creative in its offering. If you have a personal page, keep that personal.
Tip 4: Consider creating a page from your personal Facebook page for your professional life. This avoids melding personal and professional life and on the created page (the page you manage) it is easy for your supporters to follow, tag you so that others can follow you, they can sign up and post to the page. When I write a blogpost, I always try and backlink with social media contacts to, say, an author who has featured in my post, but so often there is only a personal page, and although they might be alerted to activity pertinent to them, no-one else can really join in. I am guessing this doesn’t serve the author with only a personal page that well. Indeed, the only choice on a personal page is to friend them – and that’s not really an option.
Tip 5: When you link all your Social Media accounts be mindful of not deluging the feed of one account with posts from another. It’s not a great thing when you find they are cross-contaminated and other people’s Twitter and Instagram feeds clog up your Facebook page – as Social Media platforms they are all very different. Just think about what you want to achieve by linking, is it right for you? It’s quality content you are after. Twitter is ideal for short blasts as often as you like, Facebook is an opportunity for a little more depth. I, for example, only post on Facebook once (max three times) per day on TripFiction because that seems about right. I try to be mindful of what I do and how it might affect others with whom I am connected. But we all get it wrong at times and it is a continuous learning curve,… and I learn something new virtually everyday! It can be exhausting and exhilarating!
Tip 6: Peruse your Social Media accounts from other users’ perspectives. How easy is it to find you? Are your contact details obvious? Make it EASY for people to find you – it is hugely frustrating if you are trying to make contact with someone and you have to click here, there and everywhere; it is all too easy for people to give up on you.
So, these are just a few thoughts, hope you have found them useful. I have a lot of fun blogging and weaving my way through Social Media and it is a great way to connect with others who are in the same field…..DO share any tips in the Comments below that you think would be useful to others.
If you feel like getting into Twitter a little more try Twitter for Writers by Rayne Hall – she offers all kinds of handy hints and strategies for novices and those who have a bit of experience under their belt.
And I guess the mantra to remember is that is Social Media is just that, it’s social. It’s about interacting and not overly pushing whatever it is you are trying to get out there… And above all have fun and enjoy the learning.
Tina for the TripFiction team