Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks

social media for writers

I think it’s fair to say that most of us are not looking to add more social media activity to our lives. In fact, we prefer to trim online activity or drop entire networks if possible.

So the advice I’m about to offer may feel objectionable and time-wasting at first, but if you stay with me until the end, you may find wisdom in what I’m advocating.

I recommend that as soon as you find out about a new social media service, join it.

It’s not necessary to conduct much research on the service or even learn how to use it—not at first. (And let’s assume you’ve heard about the social network from a reputable source or someone you trust.)

Here’s what you should do; it’s about a 10- or 15-minute commitment.

  1.  Create a username, account name, or profile URL using the name you publish under—or intend to publish under. Hopefully you’ve been consistent about what usernames you have on social media. For instance, no matter where you find me online, my handle is always the same, “janefriedman” or a display name of “Jane Friedman.”
  2. Add a link to your website in your profile. (Almost every social network allows you to add a link to your website, so do it.)
  3. Complete the profile information to whatever level you feel comfortable. You can copy and paste in your standard bio from another social media site if appropriate.
  4. Quickly see if there’s anyone else you know using the platform; consider following/friending.
  5. Add a brief post of some kind; experiment for roughly 5 minutes with using the network.

Then you’re done. You never have to go back, until you feel curious or motivated to do so.

Here are the benefits to completing this process:

  • You’re laying claim to the best (or a better) username or handle for yourself.
  • By being an early adopter, you gain the benefit of being “found” by the hundreds or thousands who join the network after you, looking for people they already know on the network. (See #4 above.) On some networks, new users may automatically friend/follow people they’re friends with elsewhere. That means if/when you return to the network at a future date, you have a built-in following you didn’t have to work for.
  • You’re linking to your website and creating a profile that may surface when people search for your name. If the social network becomes big and important, or influential in terms of SEO (search engine optimization), you’ve just created a useful social signal that helps search engines (and others) better identify who you are and understand what work you produce.
  • You don’t have to be active on the social network in order to reap the above benefits.

What are the drawbacks to this process? You’ve got an account out there that may be largely inactive. Some people advocate against this for security reasons, but based on my experience, there’s little to no repercussion. Use a strong and unique password, sign up for weekly email alerts to inform you of any account activity, and generally you’ll be fine.

When I signed up for Facebook (in 2006) and Twitter (in 2008), I didn’t find much to do (or much activity overall). Not enough people were there, neither were yet seen as professional marketing channels, and you couldn’t even advertise. But I still signed up, created a page, and every once in a while returned. Eventually, I started using both networks when they became interesting to me, and my friends and colleagues were there.

Right now, I have accounts at many social media networks, including Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, Peach, and the List App. But I’m not very active on any of them. Maybe one day I will be, and if so, my account is ready and waiting, with a baseline of followers and friends I can build from.

Related: SEO and Fiction Writers—check out some excellent advice from marketer Pete McCarthy.

The social media advice I’m about to offer may feel objectionable and time-wasting at first, but if you stay with me until the end, you may find wisdom in what I’m advocating.

Posted in Social Media and tagged , , , , .
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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23 Comments on "Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks"

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[…] I recommend that as soon as you find out about a new social media service, join it.  […]

Radu

Yes, this is correct, plus on top of everything you have another link to your website which as we all know links are really important for SEO.

Rachel Thompson
Hi Jane and great advice. Here’s some true evidence of that: when Medium.com started, I created an account and then promptly forgot about it. We’re talking, a few years back. I went back in about 3-4 month ago to find out that somehow, I have several thousand followers! (just checked: 4.8K.) I’m not quite sure how that happened, as I don’t have more than 160K on Twitter, but I’m not complaining! My platform is quite robust overall, so maybe that somehow works in my favor, I’m not sure. It’s one channel I’m still learning. Anyway, I’m much more active now… Read more »
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[…] Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks (Jane Friedman) I think it’s fair to say that most of us are not looking to add more social media activity to our lives. In fact, we prefer to trim online activity or drop entire networks if possible. So the advice I’m about to offer may feel objectionable and time-wasting at first, but if you stay with me until the end, you may find wisdom in what I’m advocating. I recommend that as soon as you find out about a new social media service, join it. […]

Mark Williams - the International Indie Author
Agree totally, Jane. Several so-called social media experts still seem to think there are only two social media shows in town. Yet already Instagram is bigger than twitter. Pinterest now has one 100 million monthly active users. Instagram has 400 million. Messaging apps like Telegram have just announced the 100 million milestone, while more established apps like WeChat and WhatsApp are racing up the billion mark and Facebook messenger is already there. Many authors are shifting millions of books through sites like Instagram and Tumble while the majority of us chase our tails on twitter and Facebook and convince ourselves… Read more »
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[…] Then I read this blog post from Jane Friedman, “Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks.” […]

LindaMK

Jane, I write for both children and adults. My website currently reflects that. But I’m working on a memoir that addresses certain religious attitudes and could be controversial. I’m thinking it might be wise to split my web presence, one for adults and one for children, using two different variations of my name, domain names, web sites, etc. But contemplating joining all these social media sites twice makes my head spin. How would you suggest I handle this?

Rachel

Hi Jane. I was reluctant to join more social media networks as I thought I would have to constantly be updating and working on them. I already struggle to find time to update the ones I am already on, as well as find enough time to actually spend on my writing projects. But you make a great point that just having the account can help get your name/product out there and recognised. I am off to look into what other social media networks I can join! Thank you.

Jay Lemming
I’m afraid I’m going to be the spoiler but I probably would disagree. One of the first bits of advice that newbie social media users received from experts back in the days of yore (pre-2010) was to have a plan of action–a strategy, if you will, for HOW you intend to use and what you want to accomplish with it. There needs to be a strategy behind each network and each network is just a tool. We’re past those days now; I think most people (or at least many more than were in the past) “get” what social networks are… Read more »
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[…] Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks […]

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[…] Source: Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks […]

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[…] Expert advice from Jane Friedman. […]

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[…] Airman 1st Class Devin N. Boyer [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsJane Friedman recommends joining all social media platforms, even if you don’t intend on using it right […]

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[…] Jane Friedman recommends joining all social media platforms, even if you don’t intend on using it right away (hint: you want to have a good username for if you do decide to use that platform). […]

Jessi Rita Hoffman

A great suggestion, Jane. I never saw the value in signing up with the new networks, but what you said makes sense. Thanks for the tip!

Joseph Michael Dollison

Here is a question for everyone that I have and struggle with. I am a REALTOR and find that some agents make a FB business page for themselves and then some use their personal pages to promote homes and themselves. Does anyone have an opinion. I just started as a realtor and was searching around for ideas. I created a business page but not apposed to deleting it.

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