For this week’s episode, Briana Morgan joined me to talk about social media! Heads up: we focussed on Instagram and Twitter, but TikTok and Facebook also got a few mentions.
We’re tackling questions like:
How much time should we spend on social media, and how often should we post?
How can we please the Instagram algorithm?
What counts as engagement on Instagram, and how can we boost our engagement?
How can you use social media to get beta readers?
And many more!
Listen to the Episode
Read the Transcript
Sarina Langer 00:08
Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!
Sarina Langer 00:24
Hello again, friends and sparrows, and welcome back. It’s the 11th of January 2021, and this is Episode 17. Today, I’ve got horror author and editor extraordinaire Briana Morgan with me. Briana has been my editor since my first book. She’s a fantastic horror and urban fantasy author, and she knows a thing or two about social media as well, which is what we’ll be discussing today. Welcome to the Writing Sparrow, Bri!
Briana Morgan 00:53
Thank you so much for having me.
Sarina Langer 00:55
Oh, happily, anytime. So I’ve already talked a little bit about social media for marketing specifically with Elisha Belden in last week’s episode. You’re both women who do extremely well with this, I think.
Briana Morgan 01:12
Sarina Langer 01:12
Oh, I can’t think of- oh, you’re welcome. I can’t think of anyone better to learn this from than you. And Elisha, clearly, but that was more incidental because you were genuinely just talking about setting goals anyway. And social media, I think is just in everything these days?
Briana Morgan 01:29
Oh, it is.
Sarina Langer 01:30
So it just, it just happened. But also, you’re an author yourself. So I think your experience will be very valuable indeed to our listeners.
Briana Morgan 01:40
I certainly hope so.
Sarina Langer 01:43
Shall we, um, well, obviously, normally, I have a few questions prepared anyway, but today, I’ve also got a few questions from our listeners on Twitter that we will also get to, and I’m hoping I can still keep this to half an hour. I don’t trust my ability right now. We’ll see.
Sarina Langer 02:00
So let’s dive in with maybe the most common question amongst writers. How much time should we be spending on social media and how often should we post? And speaking of Twitter, Villimey has also seconded this question. So no pressure, but we’re all wondering,
Briana Morgan 02:17
it’s a popular question. So what I usually tell people when it comes to social media is it should serve to augment and enhance your existing writing and your existing book marketing efforts. You should not be spending more time on social media than you spend writing or doing anything else relating to publishing. If you’re a writer, you should write, you shouldn’t just be on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter or Instagram all the time, which it is hard not to get sucked in. But it should only be a small, a small part of your routine as a writer. And as for how often you would post, it’s gonna vary by network, obviously. Twitter, there are probably rules, but I don’t follow them. I’m on Twitter just whenever.
Sarina Langer 03:08
I mean, Twitter always feels so lenient to me, especially coming from Instagram. Twitter is just so relaxed.
Briana Morgan 03:14
Yes, and Twitter moves pretty fast. So I would keep that in mind when you’re posting there that some people might not see it just due to the nature of the platform. Whereas some place like Instagram, if you post, you can get away with posting once a day, or even a few times a week. If, if you post at the same time and you’re consistent, Instagram will boost your content, and the people who engage with it the most will see it, so you can at least rest easy there that it will be seen by some people.
Sarina Langer 03:45
Briana Morgan 03:46
Sarina Langer 03:47
Hopefully. But the algorithm is something we can come back to later.
Briana Morgan 03:51
Sarina Langer 03:52
So you’ve said that we shouldn’t be spending too much time on social media because obviously the writing and the world building and the editing and all that should still take centre stage. But especially with Instagram, I always feel like I need to spend quite a lot of time there to really get the most out of it. Because as you’ve just said, Twitter’s quite forgiving really and quite relaxed. But Instagram to me is the very opposite. Instagram to me has no chill.
Briana Morgan 04:20
Sarina Langer 04:21
I always feel like if I go on Instagram to just quickly look something up, then it will probably punish me for that.
Yeah. So the thing with Instagram is, obviously all of these are social networks, but Instagram is probably the one that thrives the most from engagement. So unfortunately, that does mean that the more time you spend on the network, the more it boosts your content. The more you engage with people, the more people engage with your content. And you know, like you were saying, you might just go to check one thing, but then Instagram will notice that you’re not spending as much time on the app, so next time you post it won’t show it to as many people. Whereas, if you’re on there for an hour, an hour and a half, liking and commenting and all that, it’ll boost you. But again, it’s like, do you want to, do you want to spend your time on Instagram making all that happen? Or do you want to spend that time finishing a scene in your work in progress?
Sarina Langer 05:20
That depends entirely on how much tea I’ve had that day. So I think I read somewhere a while ago, and probably you know, this is probably some years ago, to be honest, but roughly the right amount to paste on Twitter or something like six to eight things yourself, like of your own posts, and then have the rest just be comments on other people’s posts and just engaging that way. Would you say that’s roughly a good ratio?
Yes, it’s a, it’s called the, I think it’s the perrito or the Pareto principle, it’s 80, the 80-20 rule. So 80% of the content you post and share should be about other people, and then the 20% should be about you. I would say regardless of how much you are posting on social media, you should try to make sure that you are not only talking about yourself, because nobody likes that.
Sarina Langer 06:18
No, definitely not. I mean, we’ve, we always see some of that, don’t we?
Briana Morgan 06:23
Sarina Langer 06:23
Where authors might just post buy my book, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book, did you know I have a book, go buy my book.
It’s okay to do some of that. But you, if it’s all the time, people will just tune you out or mute you or unfollow you.
Sarina Langer 06:40
So on Instagram, for example, I’ve noticed that some people post once a week, and other people might post five times a day, so which to me is completely incomprehensible and I have no idea how they do that. I do not have the energy for that. But how often would you say is a good amount to post on Instagram? How often should we be there? Because I think most writers these days are on Instagram.
So there’s what I believe. And then there’s like the popular advice. So I will, I will give both sides of that. So the popular advice says you should post one to two times per day and around the same times, just for consistency. My advice is you could post maybe one or two times a week if you’re doing it consistently, same days, same time, and if you are providing good content that’s worth waiting for. So if you just take a picture of your food, and then you upload that, and then the next day, you upload a picture of a plastic bag you see out in the road, no one’s, no one’s going to come back for that, no one’s going to want to wait another week for more pictures like that. So if you’re writing, if you’re taking really nice photos and writing long form captions that are thoughtful and creative, and I say you could probably go longer. But it’s kind of up to whatever works for you and whatever you feel like you can maintain.
Sarina Langer 08:13
How long should our captions be on Instagram? Because, you know, some people will say he only use one word, and then the rest is hashtags. And some people write tiny essays, basically. So what’s a good amount to write there?
I would say it comes down to knowing your audience. If you found through checking your analytics, which you can only do if you have the business account, so if you don’t have a business account, consider getting one so you can get the analytics.
Sarina Langer 08:43
It’s very easy to set up as well. So, it takes maybe two seconds. They don’t need to check anything. It’s literally just one click.
Briana Morgan 08:50
Sarina Langer 08:50
And it’s, it’s very easy to do.
If you check your analytics and you see that your audience is responding better to what seems to be longer more personal captions, like my audience does, then you know that that’s a safe bet.
Briana Morgan 09:05
I will say what tends to not go well that people think will go well, is posting just like a song lyric or a deep quote that they found somewhere with no context and no further, no call to action or anything. Because, you know, people don’t really have a reason to engage with that.
Briana Morgan 09:24
I say the longer the better, as long as you can make it coherent, because you want people to stop and take in your content. And Instagram will see that people are staying on your content for longer, which is wonderful. And the algorithm loves that. So it’s good to do more things that the algorithm loves.
Sarina Langer 09:41
Yeah, the algorithm on Instagram is an interesting beast, isn’t it?
Briana Morgan 09:46
Sarina Langer 09:46
So um, oh, well, we can come back to that in a second. But for now, you’ve just used the word that I wanted to come back to, the magic word, which is engagement on Instagram. So not gonna lie, the engagement– what exactly counts as engagement on Instagram? I found it a little bit confusing. And I think some other writers have done as well. So what counts as engagement on Instagram? And how can we boost our engagement?
So Instagram used to be all about likes. It used to be whoever could get the most likes won, basically. And it’s now changed to where you are more favoured by the algorithm – I hate to keep saying that – ut you’re more favoured by the algorithm if people are commenting, if they’re saving and if they’re sharing your, your photos and your content. So it’s kind of changed. I would say my approach to social media and a lot of other people’s has changed, because now you want to create content that is a lot more useful and more likely to get shared, and more likely for people to come back to later.
Sarina Langer 10:51
I think, especially this year, how we use Instagram has changed quite a lot. So it used to be just all about just posting a picture, but now you can also do short videos, you can upload gifs and stats, and you know, you can upload multiple pictures in just one post. And I think I’ve seen somewhere that videos especially get more, get more engagement or get favoured by Instagram or something like that.
Briana Morgan 11:17
Yes. And then like my, all my book releases this year have been, I’ve done an Instagram Live kind of release party, but I’m going to keep doing that. Because it’s been a lot of fun. I obviously, I couldn’t have done one in person this year, but – or last year, I should say – but it’s, I don’t know. I would say Instagram feels like the most social social media to me, if that makes sense. I don’t know if you would agree with that.
Sarina Langer 11:45
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think part of that might just because on Instagram, the social aspect is perhaps the most important out of all the social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook don’t take it anywhere near seriously or as far as Instagram does. So the more social you are over there, the better things will work out for you.
Briana Morgan 12:05
Sarina Langer 12:05
The more it’ll like you. But um, yeah, that probably has something to do with it. But there are also so many different ways I think of engaging with people on there, because they’ve also got Instagram TV, they’ve got reels now, and obviously stories are a thing. So there’s just so many different things you could do.
Briana Morgan 12:24
Sarina Langer 12:26
Which brings me back to the word that you’ve just said, that you said you hate saying, the dreaded words: the the algorithm.
Briana Morgan 12:35
Sarina Langer 12:35
Let’s talk about the algorithm. Because that thing is confusing, I think. I mean, I have created, erm, what do you call them, collections, groups, on Instagram of people who I want to stay caught up with, because if I don’t, I have no guarantee, I feel, that I’ll actually see what they’re posting.
Briana Morgan 12:57
Right. And it used to be, it used to be that everything on Instagram was just chronological. It was just you would go, you’d log on, and you’d see the oldest to the newest and it was normal, but now…
Sarina Langer 13:11
See, that way around makes perfect sense to me. That will be if I could just see all the things I haven’t seen already. That would be great. That would make it so easy.
Briana Morgan 13:19
But now you might see a post from like October at the top of your feed, and you’ll like it and comment on it and then realise that no one’s off to comment for months. I feel like a creep. That’s what happens to me anyway.
Sarina Langer 13:33
I think what mine does is that it’s more likely to show me the post by people who I engage with more.
Briana Morgan 13:39
Sarina Langer 13:40
Which is great. But then it also means that the posts by people who have only just started following or haven’t engaged massively yet, I don’t really get to see, unless I make a note somewhere else who I’ve just followed so that I can then start engaging with those people. Because if I don’t make that effort myself, Instagram may just never show me and I’ll completely forget, which is nothing personal. It’s just people get lost so easily on there.
And it’s hard because I have a lot of people ask me, How can I get more engagement? And the only thing I can tell you is, you have to give engagement to get engagement. So you have to be reaching out to people and commenting and sharing their posts and things like that if you want them to do that with yours because otherwise the I, the idea of someone finding you organically on Instagram is not very realistic anymore, unfortunately.
Sarina Langer 14:32
No, I mean, I’m not sure really how you go about searching for things on Instagram, but I actually very rarely search for a specific hashtag unless I’m trying to see how well it’s doing or if it’s actually been banned. Sort of. I don’t I don’t tend to search for hashtags specifically at Instagram. I don’t tend to find people that way. Not anymore anyway. So you know I don’t think… I don’t know, maybe it’s just not that realistic now to think that people are going to find you because of your hashtags specifically, unless you get really lucky.
Yeah, I don’t think it’s as important because like I said, Instagram is more… So the hashtags were more favourable back when you wanted to get as many likes as possible. But now that it’s more, you know, you want more shares and more saves. It’s, you kind of find other people’s content through people sharing them. I feel like I do anyway, like, I’ll tap through someone’s story, and I’ll see a cute post, and then I’ll check out that person’s profile. I never would have seen them if someone else hadn’t shared it.
Sarina Langer 15:42
No, I do quite a lot of that. Now, I feel like I’ve shared some things that are first seen on your stories, for example, or someone else’s story. So I’m gonna go Oh, that looks cute. Oh, that’s funny, and I want to have a look, well see what that is about. And then I might share that as well. And I’ve now made collections as well for various posts that I might want to save. So I’ve got one collection for comic relief that I can come back to the one on a dark, dark day when my work in progress is not playing with me. Or, and I’ve got, you know, I’ve got a collection for pictures of my books specifically that people have shared. So I’ve got lots of little collections going on. Which I think it likes.
Briana Morgan 16:23
Sarina Langer 16:24
So maybe one of the more interesting things specifically to writers and authors is, what kind of things should we share on social media as writers? Because I see all kinds of different things. You know, I see some writers who pretty much only share memes. I see some writers who, as we said, literally only share this is my book, please go buy it, this is my book, go buy it. So what, what kinds of things should we share?
I have a lot to say about this. So I’m going to try not to go off on a tangent. When you are posting, please remember that your content is not for you. Your content is for other people. So every time you post something you should ask yourself, does this entertain? Does this educate? Does this uplift? Any of those? If it does any or all of those, that’s great. If it doesn’t do any of those, maybe consider, reconsider posting it. A common one is food. So many people who don’t write cookbooks, or don’t write anything that has to do with food, they will take pictures of what they had to eat. I don’t think I’ve ever cared what someone else had to eat. I feel really bad saying that. But I don’t look at those posts.
Sarina Langer 17:46
I get the feeling you feel strongly about this.
Yes. I can’t tell you how many, how many pictures of mediocre, like takeaway pizza I’ve seen in bad lighting. People are just like, here’s my pizza.
Sarina Langer 18:01
It’s, it’s bizarre, isn’t it? I mean, I think what I don’t mind as much where food is concerned as many pictures off, of a cupcake. Or a biscuit. Especially if it’s next to a book because then that’s still on topic?
Yes, exactly. If you can work it in, if the food is part of, you know, you’re greater niche or whatever, that’s great. But if you’re, if you’re just taking a picture of it just to document it, I don’t think it’s worth it. Especially because you know, you have to think about how can people really engage with that content? The most you can get from that is like a ‘nice pizza’ or like, ‘Hey, I had pizza tonight too’. But that’s not, it’s not gonna result in you getting readers.
Sarina Langer 18:44
No. It might give you a craving for pepperoni, though.
Yes. So that I would say no food unless you’re writing about, you write a series of cosy mysteries featuring a baker or chef, that would be cute. Or maybe you write cookbooks, that’s fine. But otherwise, maybe if you’re going to post about your meal, post it on your story so it goes away.
Sarina Langer 19:05
Briana Morgan 19:08
That sounds so mean.
Sarina Langer 19:10
No, I get it. I mean, it’s always great to have things that you really want to share with your followers, but that you don’t, you know, they’re not necessarily maybe fit in with your greater vision.
Briana Morgan 19:20
Yes. Some other, some other don’ts. Don’t… I wish I didn’t have to say this, but don’t post yourself making any obscene gestures or saying anything racist or transphobic or anything like that.
Sarina Langer 19:38
It should go without saying.
Briana Morgan 19:40
It should go without saying, but it doesn’t. I’m saying it. Don’t do that. Because even if you don’t think it will affect you, it might down the road. Or you know, you never know who might see that and be very hurt by it.
Sarina Langer 19:55
Yeah, even if you don’t necessarily mean to hurt someone with it, maybe just think before you post it. I mean, you might think that it’s funny in the moment, but nobody else might think it’s funny.
Yes. And let me think what else… Don’t just post about your book. Obviously post about other people’s books. Post about, I don’t know, movies based on books that you enjoy, post about behind the scenes of your writing process maybe or another writer you admire. You don’t just want to share book promos where the only exception–
Sarina Langer 20:27
Would you say–
Briana Morgan 20:27
Sarina Langer 20:28
No, you go.
Briana Morgan 20:30
I was gonna say the only exception would be if it’s your release day or your release week. Just go crazy. It’s fine.
Sarina Langer 20:38
Yeah, I think readers will understand that, because you are about to have a new book out in the world. So, if you can’t spam the internet with pictures of your book or character aesthetics or whatever it is that you’ve got to share, when can you?
Yes. And an unpopular one that I’m going to say not to post. I always say don’t post memes. Meme accounts by themselves tend to do really well on Instagram, just because people will share the content. But I know for me personally, I don’t like to follow meme accounts, because I can just google funny writing memes if I want them. I don’t want to commit to seeing someone else repost a meme that I could have found for myself. You know, it just feels, it feels almost lazy to me and inauthentic.
Sarina Langer 21:25
Yeah, I know what… I get that. I mean, I think I follow maybe two or three, because we already were friends before their accounts kind of started going in that direction anyway. But I must admit that if someone else follows me, and I then go to see who they are, what kind of things they post, if I see that it’s just memes I’m very unlikely to follow them back based on that.
I mean, people, people want to see you. They don’t want to see other people’s content. Obviously, there are exceptions to that. Like if you’re reposting a photo that someone took of your book, but I say err on the side of posting little to no memes. Just because it does, it does look like, you know, look like you don’t know how to use the platform maybe.
Sarina Langer 22:14
Which is a shame, because you do want to give people the impression that you do know what you’re doing.
Briana Morgan 22:18
Yes. And I do like memes. I like fun. I’m not… I make it sound like I don’t like fun. But if you’re taking your Instagram seriously, as an author, you have to, you have to, these are the things you have to think about.
Sarina Langer 22:34
It’s basically your new marketing platform. So you’ve got to just treat it as a job basically because, you know, it is. You want to make money from it.
Yeah, it’s like your CV or resume almost, to potential readers.
Sarina Langer 22:46
Yeah. And to come back to what you said about obviously, you can post some things about your own books, but you should also post about other books, for example, or something else. Just to come back to that ratio, which you say is this 80-20 thing. So like 20% your own stuff, 80% other things?
Yes. Obviously, you don’t have to be super rigid with that. So you don’t have to count out like, right, okay, here’s my next 10 posts, these posts are going to be other people, these posts are going to be me, but I, if you feel like you’re being too much, you’re probably being too much. If you have to ask yourself if it’s too much, it is.
Sarina Langer 23:28
Probably. So for example, I am now posting about my own progress and generally my own books twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. And I’ve just recently started posting on Thursdays again. So on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I post about books I’m reading, books I’ve just bought, books by author friends, things like that. What do you say that’s roughly a good ratio?
Yes. I think that’s fine. I would say no more than, no more than two days a week of your own content.
Sarina Langer 23:58
I think it mostly started that way because on Mondays, I quite like to share my goals for the week, which to be fair can also include things like, I really want to finish reading this book and review it. So that’s not necessarily all about my books. But obviously I do set myself writing goals, so they will be in there as well. But it’s not necessarily entirely that. And on Fridays, I like to just sort of come back to that and point out what I have done that week and it holds me accountable, and quite a few people have told me that they find it really inspiring to see. So that makes me feel pretty good.
Briana Morgan 24:31
And that’s not, I wouldn’t say that’s not the same as being like buy my book.
Sarina Langer 24:36
Oh no, definitely not.
Briana Morgan 24:36
Because you never just post buy my book.
Sarina Langer 24:39
Yes, very rarely. I mean, you know, as you said, when there’s, when you’ve got a release day, then that’s a different thing, because you do need to make people aware that you have a new product out, but apart from that, you should probably limit it.
Sarina Langer 24:54
And speaking of what writers should be posting on social media, that brings me back to the other question that we’ve had on Twitter from @gambit190. He says ‘Beta-readers are crucial to have, so what’s the best way to go about acquiring them?’ Very specific for social media, but I’ve got all of my beta readers through social media. So I do think it fits perfectly.
That’s where all mine have come from too. It varies, unfortunately, depending on the size of your audience and what platforms they’re most interested in. I find most of my beta readers through Twitter, even though I would say that Instagram is my bigger platform now. So that’s kind of strange. But usually, I just post that I need beta readers, I talk a little bit about the manuscript, if I’ve posted about it before, at least a few times, people will usually comment like, hey, let me know, when you want betas for this. I have a form usually that I have people fill out just so they know what to expect. Trigger warnings and things like that. And then, if people fill out the form, I usually accept them.
Sarina Langer 26:05
There you go. I mean, I must say, that’s pretty much the only thing that I do. I’m afraid I haven’t got a super exciting way of doing it. So I tend to just say, as you said, on Twitter, for example, hey, I’m ready for beta readers for this book. It’s a dark fantasy book. It’s roughly this long, I need it back roughly at this time. If you think you can do it, send me a message, we can talk. And then I pretty much just do the same thing on Instagram as well. And possibly also in my reader group on Facebook. But you know, I don’t… I mean, I know there are various sites that you can go to to get beta readers, but I haven’t used any of them. So I’m afraid I can’t say if they are any good, or they work overly well.
I used one I can’t remember the name. And I feel terrible because they gave me a free membership and exchange for promotion and I can’t even remember their name.
Sarina Langer 27:02
Was it a while ago?
Yes, I didn’t use it very much. I used it for the first draft of Unboxed for beta readers. So it’s been a while.
Sarina Langer 27:15
How come you decided not to use them in the end?
It was just cumbersome because it was another platform that someone else had to sign up for. And when it comes to beta readers, the easier you can make it the better because people are busy, and you don’t want to give them a reason not to read your book.
Sarina Langer 27:34
And I think as writers you’re already, you know, you are already likely to be on Twitter, on Instagram, maybe on one or two other platforms as well. So the easiest thing to do is to literally just say on there, I’m ready for betas, this is what I’m writing. Interested? Let’s talk.
Briana Morgan 27:50
No one wants to have to sign up for a whole new website just for you.
Sarina Langer 27:53
Especially not just to beta read your book. I mean, they already doing you one favour by beta reading your book, so they shouldn’t have to do another favour by signing up to then read your book, which at that point no longer has anything to do with the website they signed up on on the first place.
Briana Morgan 28:09
They might not want to read it at that point, they might be tired.
Sarina Langer 28:12
Yeah, actually, you know what, I can’t be bothered anymore. It’s too much pressure. I mean, yeah, I know, I probably wouldn’t bother signing up for another website, just to beta read someone’s book, but then I’m a slow reader anyway.
Briana Morgan 28:29
Yeah, I will also say, if someone beta reads for you, and then they ask you to beta read for them, do it. Don’t be rude. Again, should go without saying, but don’t be rude. Don’t be the person who is always asking for help and never giving any.
Sarina Langer 28:46
No, I mean, your beta readers have done you a favour, so it’s only fair if you do the same in return that they want it. I mean, not all of your beta readers might be writers as well. So this may well not be relevant for all of them. But if they are writers, and they have written a book, and they ask you specifically if you could beta read, it’s the nice thing to say yes. And to do it. Where are we? Okay, well, speaking of being on Twitter, and Instagram and Facebook, and God knows where, how many sites do you think should we be on as writers? And is there such a thing as a perfect social media site for writers?
Briana Morgan 29:25
Sarina Langer 29:27
All right, moving on.
No, it all depends on, it depends on your audience. It depends on their age, depends on their interests. You kind of have to know what you’re working with. So let’s say that you are writing young adult fiction, you might want to look into TikTok because that is very popular. And you might want to consider Facebook less because not, I don’t think any teenagers are using Facebook anymore. I don’t know.
Sarina Langer 29:56
I’m a little bit amazed that anyone’s still using Facebook. I mean I also feel a bit bad saying that, because I have my reader group on Facebook, but beyond that I’m not really using it a great deal.
Yeah, as many networks as you can manage, if you know for a fact that you can only keep up with one or two, and that works for you, stick with that. If you can only keep up with one, that’s fine. Don’t, definitely don’t feel the need to join every social media network, because you’ll burn out. And you also won’t be spending time writing. Consider that.
Sarina Langer 30:34
Yeah, the more time you’ll be spending on social media and not writing, which is the point to all this. So.
And I’m saying this, as someone with a lot of social media presence. I have to be very strict with myself.
Sarina Langer 30:48
I feel like you’re everywhere.
Briana Morgan 30:50
I am, and I shouldn’t be, but I am. It’s too late to go back and I’m stubborn.
Sarina Langer 30:56
I mean, I know my limits is two, two and a half. Say I’m on Instagram a lot, I’m on Twitter, more or less, a lot, a little less. Maybe they’re on Instagram. And I should be on Facebook a lot more because as I said, my reader group is there, but I’m not very good at being on Facebook consistently. It’s always a bit of an afterthought for me, but again, feel terrible about because my reader group is there and I want to do better. But it’s just, it’s, it’s my limit. I feel like once I’ve been on Instagram for about an hour I’ve, I’ve social-media’d myself out.
Yeah, and Facebook doesn’t, I mean, for what you use it for, it’s fine. But Facebook doesn’t like posting a lot of outside content. So if you have a Facebook page, and you’re using that to sell your books, it’s going to be a lot harder, because any length that takes people off Facebook, Facebook will drop way down.
Sarina Langer 31:52
Yeah, maybe it’s just me. But I always feel like when I’m on Facebook, and I do peak out of my reader group that most other writers mostly go on Facebook to complain, I feel.
Briana Morgan 32:03
Sarina Langer 32:04
So it’s also not a very uplifting or positive environment, perhaps. So another reason for me to not leave my reader group and I am there.
Briana Morgan 32:14
Yeah, I think you’re better off. If there’s a network that you enjoy, you have a good audience with and you feel like you can be consistent, maintain your presence on that network, that’s great. Definitely don’t join things just because you think you have to. If you don’t want to make a TikTok, you do not have to. I, I’ve had a lot of people ask me that specifically. So if you’re not on Tick tock, you don’t have to be.
Sarina Langer 32:40
Well, there you go. And also, if you do try a new social media platform, thinking it’s going to be great and then it’s just not for you, it’s totally fine to stop using it and to leave it again. You know, no one’s gonna hold it against you. And actually, if someone is holding it against you, then you probably don’t really want them in your reader pool anyway.
Briana Morgan 33:00
Sarina Langer 33:01
I think we’ve already touched on this a little bit earlier, but is there a wrong way to use social media?
We’ve talked about it a little bit. The biggest thing, like I mentioned earlier, is to remember that your posts are not for you. So just because you like something doesn’t mean your audience will, just because you think something is neat or pretty or funny doesn’t mean your audience will. So they are coming to your content to get something you do, to make sure you are giving them what you want to give them.
Sarina Langer 33:35
So I think it really helps with that to have an ideal reader in mind so that when you think about what you may want to post next week, instead of trying to see it as sort of, on a bigger scale, or really just saying, What can I post? I don’t know, there’s a lot of choice. Maybe just ask yourself, what would my ideal reader like? What are they interested in? And then that’s a good starting point maybe.
Yes, I try to ask myself what I like about other people’s content, like if I see a post I really like I try to analyse why I like it. Is it the caption? Is it the photo itself? Is it both? And then I try to imitate that.
Sarina Langer 34:17
I think that’s also a good starting point. So you know, don’t, I mean, really just don’t overthink, and as we’ve already said, don’t be rude. Just be a good person. And don’t spam people constantly with please buy my book, please buy my book. So yeah, just you know, consider maybe what you like to see as a reader and don’t be rude. Please don’t be rude.
Sarina Langer 34:42
So, we’re nearly done. For the action step for this week, what can we do right now to get more out of social media?
Briana Morgan 34:53
So right now, you can pick one name that you want to use for your books, and make sure that all of your social networks have that name, and that they all match if possible. So for example, my name is Briana Morgan. My website is Briana Morgan Books, almost all of my handles are Briana Morgan books, except for Instagram, which is Bri Morgan Books because Briana wouldn’t fit. But it makes it really easy for people to find me and they know, right, when they look at the username, who it is, they don’t have to question if it’s me or not. Whereas if you have you know, your name on Twitter, and then you go on Instagram, and it’s like, cakelover77, I don’t know who that is.
Sarina Langer 35:42
Oh, that’s me.
I’m cakelover77 on the inside.
Sarina Langer 35:48
Aren’t we all?
Briana Morgan 35:49
Yeah. Consistency is key, though. You want to go ahead and make sure that your brand is consistent across whatever networks you choose to use. And I would say use the same profile picture too. It should be a picture of yourself even if you don’t like having your picture taken. People are more drawn to faces. Everyone would rather talk to a face than a brand. So I think using your own photo can yield some great results.
Sarina Langer 36:19
Yeah, I mean, your cat or your dog is really adorable and I do want to see pictures, but maybe not so much in your profile picture. You’re not fooling anyone. We know you’re a person.
Briana Morgan 36:30
Sarina Langer 36:32
We know you’re not your book’s cover. And I mean, I always feel more likely to follow someone if they have their profile picture in there… well in the profile picture, if it is their face. I can tell right away who they are or, you know, at least a little bit. There is some connection there that you just don’t get from a picture of some pretty stacked rocks for example. Or a lovely night sky. Which is beautiful, but not…
Briana Morgan 37:03
It doesn’t mean anything really.
Sarina Langer 37:05
No, no, exactly. Could be anything. All right, I think that’s it. Thank you very much. I’ve learned a lot, thank you so much, and I hope our listeners have as well. I always learned so much from you anyway.
Briana Morgan 37:22
Sarina Langer 37:23
And we shall have to do this again very soon.
Briana Morgan 37:26
Sarina Langer 37:30
If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!
Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).