Using Social Media To Tell Your Story 

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In our modern-day world, social media has become an increasingly important medium to utilize in many ways. It’s a means to stay connected to people you care about but who are geographically far away from you. It’s a way to stay up to date with current trends and products. It’s even a way to get news updates quickly. Social media is a way for organizations and entrepreneurs to stay connected to their audiences and can be an effective means by which to develop their platforms. Ten years ago, being an entrepreneur or a small business meant that mainstream success was going to be an uphill battle, if not a pipedream altogether. However, social media platforms like Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram have created a way for them to connect directly with their audience without having to go through gate keepers like record companies, broadcasting stations, The Big 5 publishers, and more. It’s a way to increase exposure, communicate with your audience, and get feedback from all stakeholders so that you can tweak and improve your brand story into all that it can be. 

A brand is the entire package that an audience is exposed to when they come into contact with an organization or an individual, but it’s so much more than just color schemes and logos. It’s your reputation. What are you wearing? Where are you located? What are you creating? Why are you creating it? What do you stand for? All of that and more combines to convey a brand identity. Essentially, it’s what your audience can expect from you and why they should trust you to accomplish it. In her book Get Noticed. Be Remembered., Krista Clive-Smith defines branding as, “The entire set of perceptions, whether true or untrue, that a person holds about an individual, company, product or service” and it is “achieved through the consistent experienceconsumers have with” that individual or company (2018, p. 4). Therefore, branding can make the difference between success and failure. It allows an organization or an individual to connect with like-minded people so they can learn from each other and work toward similar goals. 

There are lots of options of platforms you can use when developing your social media presence and they all boast different tools you can utilize in your strategy. Instagram is image based, Twitter emphasizes brevity by only allowing 280 characters to be used per post (140 characters in the past), Tik Tok requires creativity to make short and engaging video content, while YouTube allows space for things like video tutorials, playthroughs, or short films. The sheer amount of options can definitely seem overwhelming at first, but you have to realize that you don’t have to use all of them in order to create an effective social media platform. You can choose to focus on a few or even just one that really speaks to you. Whatever you do, though, you need to choose a platform and create a strategy that you will be able to stay consistent with. 

In his book Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, Jeremy Harris Lipschultz states that “Trust is a relational dimension that may be connected with social interaction and shared values” and that, on social media, trust can be earned through “source and message credibility” (2021, p. 22-23). To establish that credibility you must be reliable and consistent. You need to show your audience that they can rely on you to be there, that you know what you’re talking about, and that your use of social media isn’t just something you check off on your to-do list. It must be something you’re actually passionate about. No one wants to follow spammy accounts that only try to push products or services on their audience. No one wants to see accounts that seem like half-hearted attempts at engagement. They also don’t want to follow an account that doesn’t ever post. Creating a social media account that lies dormant for months or even years on end helps no one. It’s entirely ineffective and simply gives you a bad reputation. 

If you are going to create a social media presence, you need to be willing to go all-in. However, what that looks like for you can vary. It’s there as a tool to communicate with your audience so if you post only every month or so, that’s probably just fine, as long as you stay consistent and creative with your content. On the other hand, if you have the bandwidth and the time to create content every week, that’s even better. 

As an author, I’ve seen plenty of others in the industry use social media as a way to connect with their audience, share reviews, and share their expertise. There’s a segment of YouTube, called BookTube, where authors—both traditionally published or not—can share tips and advice with one another. It’s a place for readers to post reviews and story analyses. Bookstagram, the nickname for the same segment on Instagram, is a great place to find reviews and book news. Whereas Twitter is an excellent platform to connect with agents and editors. Authors do so by participating in Twitter pitch events like #PitMad by sharing the hashtag along with their book pitch in a single tweet that editors can then request a manuscript read for by liking the tweet (Pitch Wars, 2021). These events allow the querying process to be sped up for lucky winners who catch agents’ attention. Instead of having to research to find agents and editors to pitch to individually through email or at writing conferences they can be seen by lots of agents and editors at once and have more of a chance to have a manuscript read requested, although, research is still needed in order to ensure that you aren’t sending your manuscript off to a scammer. 

Here are some examples of accounts in the publishing industry:

BookTube:

o   https://www.youtube.com/c/AlexaDonne

o   https://www.youtube.com/c/AbbieEmmons

Bookstagram:

o   https://www.instagram.com/paperfury/

o   https://www.instagram.com/authorbethanyatazadeh/

Twitter Example: 

o   https://twitter.com/PitchWars

These types of things are available in hundreds of fields all across different platforms. They come with great opportunities and challenges to navigate. Social media can often be addictive and overwhelming. It can be a place where trolls hang out and cruel things are said, because they’re not said in person, and anonymity can be a powerful force for bullies. But, if used well, it can be a safe space where audiences can find like-minded people, share, grow, and become better people together. It can be a positive place to grow your business and grow your brand. Social media can be a place to tell stories, share ideas, and allow voices that were once silenced a platform to be heard. 

References 

Atazadeh, Bethany. [@authorbethanyatazadeh]. (2021). Home. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/authorbethanyatazadeh/

Clive-Smith, Krista. (2018). Get Noticed. Be Remembered. Creating a Personal Brand Strategy for Success. Merack Publishing. 

Donne, Alexa. [@AlexaDonne]. (2021). Home. [Channel]. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/c/AlexaDonne

Drews, C. G. [@paperfury]. (2021). Home. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/paperfury/

Emmons, Abbie. [@AbbieEmmons]. (2021). Home. [Channel]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/c/AbbieEmmons

Lipschultz, J.H. (2020). Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, 3rd ed. Routledge.

Pitch Wars. (2021). #PitMadhttps://pitchwars.org/pitmad/

Till next time!

Nicole

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