The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Lousy Social Media Marketing

What I’m listening to: A Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy by The Kinks

A sucky week ahead of me. I have plenty of work, but I also have physical therapy for an exercise-induced foot injury. Plus, I have a good dose of personal junk to deal with that just sucks my energy by the end of a day.

I did hit Twitter yesterday to see what’s new in the freelance writing world. I’ll say this — there’s a lot of stuff out there. Lots and lots of people talking, but not too many who are communicating.

One writer tweets only about herself — her blog posts, her articles, her courses and books.

Too many writers are there only to ask for work.

One or two writers are promoting other writers so often you wonder how much they get out of doing so.

Then there are the promises:

  • Boost your freelance writing income in one step.
  • Earn $10,000 in your first month.
  • Where to find freelance writing jobs.
  • Free training (with the hook coming at the end of the freebie)

Social media — you’re doing it wrong.

So, please. Stop.

There’s a right way to do social media. In fact, there are several right ways. You just have to build a social media approach that works for both you and your audience.

That’s right — it has to work for your audience, too. No more of the sound-of-one-hand-clapping approach.

Start here:

Pay attention to the message. Half the battle in getting social media right is setting a consistent tone with your communication. Want to be known as the writer who makes provocative promises that you might not be able to deliver on, or do you want to be the writer who shares info without expecting payment up front? Also, are you friendly, authoritative, ironic, detached, engaged… figure out what image you’re projecting with your messaging.

Mix it up. It’s okay to tweet about yourself and the things you’re selling. Just don’t make that your entire focus. In fact, make it a smaller portion of your focus — ideally, an 80/20 mix in which 80 percent of your messages have nothing to do with you (other than you’re the person who consistently shares neat stuff). Take the focus off you, you, you.

Create relationships. I’ll say it right here:  I am sick of getting tweets and messages from people wanting something from me who haven’t bothered to build a relationship first. I’m tired of reading tweets that insist I part with my money — from people who haven’t bothered to prove to me why I should trust them. Your audience is much more likely to respond if you bother to get to know them. Business success -- even for freelancers -- is all about relationships. Click To Tweet

Shut up and listen. Don’t you get tired of hearing one person clogging the social media waves with their endless offers, opinions, rants… don’t be that person. Instead, retweet something. Share something or like something on LinkedIn. Congratulate someone. Make it about someone else, and promote their efforts freely without any expectations.

Schedule your own messaging. The best way to be consistent on social media is to show up when your audience is engaging. Research the best times for your particular hashtags to get traction, then schedule them. And don’t be that person who sends out 12 tweets in a two-minute span or litters five or more LinkedIn Groups with your blog link. Way to get yourself un-followed.

Take a break. Just like you should be consistent in when you show up, you might want to try being consistent in allowing yourself time away from social media. I won’t go near Twitter or LinkedIn on weekends. (I don’t go near my computer at all on weekends, actually.) Give yourself and the airwaves a break. Trying to push out messages every day can result in a dilution of what you’re trying to say.

Writers, what’s your current social media approach? Is it a plan or more of a loose guideline?

What social media messaging mix works best for you? Why?

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  • Anne Wayman September 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I need an overhaul in this area – currently working with LinkedIn… it all takes time.

  • Devon Ellington September 22, 2017 at 11:28 am

    When I see the same scheduled post over and over again, I lose interest. I like the idea that the person cares enough to create fresh posts, not just send the same “give me money” ones out all the time.

    • lwidmer September 22, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      EXACTLY, Devon! Drives me batty.