Expanding My Platform: My Thoughts

Expanding My Platform: My Thoughts

BeFunky Collage
I even attempted Pinterest, but I could never get into it.

As some of you know or don’t know, I’ve joined Instagram, so that’s another thumb tack to add to my ever-widening travels around the social media sphere. Throughout my three years of being an author on social media, I’ve come to develop favorite platforms that I prefer to use much more than others. Even though I’ve just started Instagram, I can tell it’s probably going to be among my favorites. So here are my thoughts on the ones I’ve used so far:

  1. Facebook. I actually have a short post about Facebook here, but it is my least favorite platform to use. I like platforms that are easy to maintain and don’t require pulling teeth, but this platform does. You have to work unreasonably hard to receive views from your primary followers. Never mind that FB WANTS you to spend money so that way you can up your views–and it’s not even going to be from people who follow you but glorified spam bots. So I simply keep all of my social media connected to it and let that do the updating for me.
  2. Twitter. Though I try to regularly attract more followers, I can’t get into this platform. I understand there is so much you can do with it, like joining chats being hosted and being able to host one of your own, but Twitter isn’t exciting enough for me. I’ll manually update it–unlike my Facebook–but when 99% of Twitter consists of spam, it’s hard to develop any zest for it. Plus, I don’t like the sparse interactions. I don’t like being limited to a certain amount of words, though, as an author, this is advantageous, as it forces me to compress what my book is about into a few bite-sized words. I also dont like how spiteful followers can be. If you unfollow them for whatever reason, than they’re as likely to unfollow you back. But as far as interacting with others, I can think of better ways to establish a much deeper connection than what 140 characters allows. This isn’t to say I won’t start a Twitter chat of my own, though.
  3. WordPress. Obviously I love this platform, or else I wouldn’t keep it updated and would probably just spend most of my time re-blogging others’ posts. I love that you can connect this to your other platforms to receive more views. I love the SEO function since you can tag it with keywords so that others can find your posts through search engines. I used to spend a lot of my time gathering followers, but I realize followers don’t matter, insofar as your posts popping up in their inboxes. What matters to me, more than anything else, are the views and unique views my blog receives. You can have thousands of followers, but if you can’t even manage to scrape 50 unique views daily or have more than 30 re-blogs or even likes, what are those followers doing for your blog?
  4. Tumblr. This is my number one favorite platform and my most popular. Just about every post I write now goes viral and collects me an ample amount of followers. However, what’s interesting is that the posts I write are seen more by non-followers than my actual followers! One post I have has over 7,000 notes, and I don’t even have that many followers. More like 5,000. I also love the fact that Tumblr is very, very simple. You actually want to explore the different tags since Tumblr makes it so easy to do. And because followers are far more willing to explore tags versus other platforms, your posts can be seen more often by people who aren’t following you. I take loads of pride in my Tumblr and all of my super-supportive followers.
  5. Youtube. I love, love, love this platform, but it is so time consuming and very high maintenance. Yeah, you can just use your webcam, record something, and immediately pop it into Youtube, but if you’re like me, you’ll actually want to edit your videos. For this reason, I haven’t updated my Youtube in forever. With wanting to keep up with my other platforms and the fact that being a writer isn’t my only job, it’s rough. I would love to jump back into it, but doing so isn’t feasible at this moment.
  6. MailChimp. I love this platform for creating newsletters. It’s super easy to use. I didn’t even require a tutorial to jump in and start using it. It’s also super easy for people to sign up and receive your newsletters. I want to get back into sending a monthly one now that I have a job again as an author. It’s really hard to keep it updated when you have no news about your writing life.
  7. Instagram. Though it’s new for me, I’m super loving it. It’s simple to use and requires the least exertion among any social media platform. It’s fun to use since you can think of exciting, creative ways of presenting the pic you want to post. Just snap a pic, add a caption, throw in some tags, and there you go! I also love how easy it is to find book bloggers and establish connections with them.

If you don’t use any of the platforms I’ve listed, you’ve at least got to use Instagram.

Writers: How to Use Tumblr Effectively

Writers: How to Use Tumblr Effectively

Recently I have been re-vamping how I use my social media platforms, WordPress being one. I have Heather Hebert of AEC Stellar Publishing to thank for this. I have been doing informative posts on WordPress lately, and I am seeing the benefits of doing so, as well as using generic tags that register me in the WordPress reader and tags that will make my posts appear in people’s search engines. Because it’s difficult to interact with other people’s blogs on WordPress, all of my posts on here will be about providing a service to you.

In any case, I have noticed that generic writing advice on Tumblr receives the most attention for my blog. I never did generic writing advice on WordPress, as I know WordPress is used by more adults than teens, so I wanted to go beyond generic writing advice in terms of my audience. Teens, however, spend a great deal of time on Tumblr, and teen writers are no exception; therefore, I want to help out teen writers in any way I can. They pretty much treat Tumblr as the entire internet itself, and Tumblr might as well be–you can find ANYTHING on there. I can type in any anime, and I guarantee you that a lot of the pics that pop up in the images on Google will all be from Tumblr.

While we writers are expected to have platforms now, and we are overwhelmed by the various social media options out there, I argue that Tumblr is one social media site you cannot ignore. And I am going to tell you how to effectively use it.

To start, here is a picture of a post I did on Writing Effective Action Scenes that has received a sudden influx of attention. I posted this two days ago. When I last checked it, it had about 45 notes. Now it has over 200 and is still receiving attention as I write this very post, so the picture I’m showing you is actually outdated, even though I took it several minutes ago (also notice how short it is):

action scenesLook at the very bottom. Notice that little heart and the number before it? That heart is your notes indicator, which includes re-blogs and likes. The number before it indicates my total notes, which is 274. The great thing about Tumblr is that people do not like and re-blog to like and re-blog. Their likes and re-blogs are genuine. I wrote a post before this with generic writing advice that received over 400 notes. I didn’t know this until I checked the post a week later. Needless to say, I was completely astonished. So how did my post receive this much attention?

  • Tags. You cannot underestimate the importance of tags on Tumblr. The good thing about Tumblr is that everything you need is right on your dashboard. If you want to know what popular tags are, type in a certain word into your search bar, and you can go through that tag and see how popular it is. With WordPress, you have to go to the reader to see what your followers are doing. Not with Tumblr. Now the screen capture above is via thewritingcafe, so thewritingcafe only tagged it as #fightscenes. However, when I tagged it, I used writing, writers, writing advice, writing tips, revising, editing, editing tips, revising tips, authors, teen writers, and so on and so forth. Tumblr does not limit tags like WordPress does. When you’re typing in a tag, Tumblr will recommend a popular tag to you as well, but make sure that tag is relevant to your post. Don’t try to use Google search SEO tags, because Tumblr isn’t about that. A good post on Tumblr has the chance to receive more notes than the followers you have, so it’s unnecessary to try to use Google SEO tags, not when generic tags can carry you far enough. Plus, when the right person spots your post, that person can create an SEO tag for you, if that person so desires, which brings me to my next point.
Tumblr photo
Thank goodness there wasn’t anything inappropriate when I screen captured this. Users don’t always censor themselves. But this is what a Tumblr dashboard looks like.
  • Getting the right person to re-blog your post. thewritingcafe is the reason why my post has received a sudden influx of attention, as this blog likely has many, many followers. All it takes is that one person to find your post, and your post can become a sudden hit on Tumblr. Feel free to re-blog your own post, too, tagging it with the same tags you used so that it gets right back into the tag. If you provide something awesome, that one right person WILL find your post and give you the attention your hard work deserves. At the same time, I think I MAY have followed this person on the writing tag before it received all these notes. Even so, if you write a quality post, regardless of whether or not you followed that person that made you a hit, that post is receiving much-deserved attention, so don’t think your hard work is riding on the back of someone else.
  • Creating content that provides a service. Many of my followers tend to re-blog a lot of pictures posts, but these are followers who are in it for the content and aren’t necessarily about creating content themselves. This is not a bad thing. This is a great thing. They are actively seeking content that appeals to them, so if you can provide that content, you are guaranteed re-blogs by these people who want others to see what you’ve created. As I am still an unknown writer, I have to create content that appeals to them. Someone like John Green can post whatever he wants and receive attention; he already has a massive fanbase from his books alone. Not me. So I have to work at creating content. As a writer, you need your Tumblr to be different from your other social media sites, so you want your Tumblr to be something that will gain popularity on this website. Peruse it and see what’s generally popular among writers and readers. You do not have to post generic writing advice like I do. I am a YA writer, so it makes sense for me to post generic writing advice to aspiring teen authors. If you write adult fantasy, for example, you need to tailor your blog around this and create content that will be popular.
  • Re-blog others’ posts that are relevant to your blog. I love going through my Tumblr feed. My followers post such interesting things, like gifs, text posts, videos, among other things. However, I generally only like these posts. I do not re-blog, because most of them are not relevant to the content I create. Even so, if a popular post shows up in my feed that is social justice in nature, I will re-blog it and add my own commentary that will boost the conversation and, subsequently, have my followers interacting with it as well. So when you do re-blog something, add text relevant to the conversation. This will give your followers a taste of who you are as a person based on what you re-blog. Try not be controversial, though. I made that mistake in the beginning, and it earned me some trolls.
  • Follow everyone back who likes and re-blogs your ORIGINAL content. Not only will this give YOU more attention, but once you post something, all those followers are going to be able to see what you post, granted their feed isn’t cluttered, which is the only downside of Tumblr I can think of. Then again, any social media site has the potential to be cluttered–Wordpress isn’t innocent in this, especially if people subscribe to mass amounts of blogs. Even so, Tumblr users will scroll and scroll and scroll through their feeds since Tumblr is so user friendly. *Note: You cannot individually thank all those who follow back; more likely than not, a mass amount of people will do so. 32 people have followed my Tumblr today, so I wrote a post thanking them.
  • Utilize your ask box. All you have to do is create a post encouraging people to ask you questions that are relevant to the content of your blog. Sometimes you don’t even have to do this. People will eventually start asking you questions of their own volition. Try to answer their questions. However, once your blog picks up in popularity, you may not be able to answer all questions. John Green certainly can’t, but he will still answer questions anyway.

That’s my advice on using Tumblr effectively. You can feel free to follow me on Tumblr if you are seeking writing advice. My Tumblr post tomorrow will be tips on brevity–cutting the fat, basically. My WordPress post on Wednesday will be updates on my author life, plus a picture quote from When Stars Die. Can’t wait to see you all then!