Social Media Explained

Have you ever thought of using #Caturday for your business. Or #throwbackthursdays?

"If content is the king of Social Media, consistency is the queen. It's about showing up when you say you will. It is a challenge when life intrudes, but there are ways to make it easier for you. Planning your posts a week or a month ahead helps. Categories and themes are all great ways to simplify your content." ~Mia Botha, How to plan your blogging week in less than 15 minutes

Source for Image

Writing for social media is all about engaging your audience, and showing your personality. It is a fun and effective way to talk about your business on your blog. If you communicate well on your networks, you will be successful.

Writers Write has more than 300 000 followers on social media. More than 80% of our business is generated via these platforms. If you want to find out more, join us for The Social Brand, our social media workshop.

News Alert Writers Write has been announced as one of the Top 50 Writing Blogs of 2015. We were also named one of the 13 Great Facebook Pages for Writers

(If you liked this post, you'll love 30 (or so) Famous Fictional Cats and  20 Literary Quotes About Cats)

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Join us on Facebook 

and Twitter

Follow @Writers_Write

and Pinterest

Pinterest

and LinkedIn

LinkedIn

and Google+

Google+

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,   Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter.  

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Throwback Thursdays Mean Business

Thursdays are interesting. Not only because they give hope that the end of the week is in sight, but because I get to stare at people who willingly posts pics of themselves with big hairspray hair and leg warmers. Yes, Throwback Thursday is a highly anticipated event. 

But how can I embrace this trend for my business? 

Posting a pic of your CEO with the aforementioned leg warmers might not get the response that you are looking for, although it might help to remind us that the powerful boardroom samurai is a person too. (Which we can argue is the point of building relationships on social media.) But, I digress…

Think about what your business has to offer. It has been around for years. You have a ton of experience between yourself and your employees. You have hundreds of magazine articles and lots of data. Social Media is about sharing that knowledge.

Three Tips for Making Throwback Thursday Work for You
  1. Trends. If you are writing a post predicting a trend, go back and look at previous articles about similar trends. Use the old information by comparing it to the new. 
  2. Data. If you release data on a monthly basis, look at the same month last year and the same month three years before that. Compare and re-interpret. 
  3. Predictions. When you analyse data or release new figures go back into your archives and find similarities to help you predict trends. Comment on old predictions.
Capturing human capital is one of the greatest challenges. Share tips that seem obvious to you. They could be invaluable to a new employee or a young person starting out in their career.

#ThrowbackThursday can be a wonderful tool to reflect on years gone by, and it can be a showcase for your experience. You already have the content. Rework it into a web-friendly format. Don’t just upload everything verbatim. Some of it is old and out-dated. Like hairspray and leg warmers.

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I am probably going to get lynched by the hard-core Throwback Thursday enthusiasts for suggesting this, but I am willing to take the risk. I might even start brainstorming ideas of How to use Saturday is #Caturday for your business. Yes, it does exist.

If you enjoyed this post, read How to plan your blogging week in less than 15 minutes. If you want to find out more about Social Media, join us for The Social Brand, our social media workshop.

 by Mia Botha

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There

Social Media is not a real conversation, but it is a way to interact in real time with your customers. Everything you do should be aimed at giving as much as you can to get what you need.

Being There

You have to be committed and that means you have to post content regularly on your major social media platforms. Consistency is crucial. Even if your clients choose to miss a post, you cannot choose not to post one. People get used to you. They trust you and come to you for information, guidance, ideas, and assistance.  

Yes, people come to you. This happens because you have earned their attention. It does not take a genius to understand that this reward is the most valuable pay-off for a business.
Do not ask: ‘What’s in it for us?’ You will fail. People join Social Media platforms to be part of a community. You have to offer something, and wait for a response. 

Rather ask: ‘How can we help our customers?’ By providing valuable content, you create a customer base. These people need to get to know you and trust you before they will buy your product.
Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Writing for Social Media—Not Any Old Tweet Can Do It

Press Release
Source for Comic: Sarah Lesson

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing and enterprise tools at a company’s disposal in an increasingly digital world. It is the new word of mouth, according to Amanda Patterson, CEO of Writers Write. 

“However, the second biggest mistake companies make is to assign a technical employee or an overburdened webmaster responsibility for the company’s social media marketing,” she says. “The biggest mistake it to outsource the role to agencies or experts who don’t understand your brand. Social media must have a personal, informal touch.”

The right voice

Although most companies are using social media, many are not exploring these platforms to their full potential. “To write effectively for social media, you first need to investigate which channels are going to work for your brand,” Patterson says. “You also need a writer who understands that social media is about PR and not shout marketing—they have to be creative, agile, and on trend.”

Those who succeed in social media understand that it is multi-directional conversation and not a static monologue. Only in this way can you create an authentic and emotional connection with the audience. “It is a way to engage their customers in a digital world where they already feel comfortable,” she says. “Your online representative must become a consistent voice and create a credible online personality for your brand at all times. They need to be curious, passionate and able to reinvent themselves to adapt to new opportunities.”

Unpredictable outcomes

Social media communication must always complement other brand-building, advertising and PR strategies. In all communication, the writer should strive to provide information and build awareness, as well create excitement around the brand. “Of course, you cannot predict social media outcomes,” Patterson says. “That is why you need a writer who understands your brand, in order to respond to a change in trend or deal with an online crisis.”

Social success
After developing a social media strategy in 2008, Amanda Patterson and Writers Write have enjoyed growing success in this space. “We recognised that the world was moving away from traditional advertising and PR and embraced the interaction social media offered,” she says. “We realised people wanted more information more frequently.”

At present, Writers Write has a social media following of more than 200 000, while Amanda Patterson has a following of more than 240 000. “We’ve taken all we’ve learned over the last six years and distilled this into an interactive, informative and fun workshop,” she says.

The Social Brand is a one-day workshop on 31 July 2014 that shows individuals and companies how to find the right strategy and structure for social media, as well as a practical guide to setting up a blog. “Social media is a great way to humanise your company, to show a side of the brand people won’t see in your company report or website,” Patterson says. If you want more information on this workshop, please email news@writerswrite.co.za

Ends

If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  2. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There
  3. Three Top Tips for Writing for Social Media
  4. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers
  5. 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
  6. Seven ways to make the most of social media
  7. Six reasons social media matters to your company
  8. Effective Internet Writing
  9. Throwback Thursdays Mean Business

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Do You Need An Author Platform?

Is it important to have a platform?

An author needs an author platform. It generates sales, it creates awareness, and it builds relationships for future sales. It also gives you credibility and establishes you as a serious writer.

It is not only for authors who wish to self-publish. Authors who publish traditionally are also required to have an online presence. Social media interaction and blogging are large parts of the publicity strategy for the publisher. eBooks and eReaders have played a huge role in this. 

For any aspiring author it is something you need to establish as soon as possible. Your online presence is where you will direct publishers in your query letters and how you will reach readers if you wish to self-publish. Basically you want to build your following before you publish.

How do you start?

Your blog is your base; which other sites you choose to use is up to you. Spend some time on each one before you decide. You use your social media pages to direct your readers to your blog or website. You can set up a blog using any of the sites. It is free and easy. So easy even I could do it. I got stuck at stages, but Google, or a friend, could always help me out. For your author platform you should think carefully about the topic of your blog or website. You can use it as a showcase, as an informative site for other writers, as a place to express your creativity, or as a window into a writer’s life.

Authors who blog

There are so many, but I’ll mention a few, and what they do, here. What they do is as varied as the books they write.
  1. Janet Fitch publishes a short story. 
  2. Jane Porter gives us a glimpse into her writing life. 
  3. Julia Quinn and Mary Balogh post encouragement and jokes and share their writing experiences with their followers. 
  4. Michael RobothamAndrea CremerGeorge RR MartinJodi PicoultMargaret AtwoodCory DoctorowJackie Collins,Veronica Roth and Neil Gaiman interact with fans and share news of publications, book reviews and recommendations. 
  5. John Green is a blogging legend. 
  6. Paulo Coelho shares his life with his fans. 
  7. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner blog about anything that interests them and suits their Freakanomics brand.

Which of these seven platforms is right for you?

Social media can be daunting, but by spending time online you will soon be able to find a place where you are comfortable. Start by lurking on these platforms:

  1. Facebook is a good first stop. Most people are on this already. It is almost non-negotiable because it is so big. Facebook is no longer organic. It is a money game and you have to pay to get your posts noticed in feeds.
  2. Google+ is important because Google+ is Google and Google is the internet. Google+ is more organic, and you don’t have to pay to get your posts noticed in feeds.
  3. Twitter also drives traffic to your blog, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea. You either love Twitter or you hate it. 
  4. Pinterest is my personal favourite, just because I like pretty pictures. I use it more as a creative base, writing being only one of the elements. 
  5. Instagram is fun and a must if your writing has anything to do with fashion or if your work is very image driven like travel or photography.
  6. LinkedIn is good to keep your CV up to date. It is crucial if you write for payment, as in copy writing or ghost writing and for non-fiction writers who wish to establish their credentials on their topic. 
  7. I believe every writer should have a Goodreads profile. Update books you have read, review books you’ve read and add books you’d like to read.

And then...

Regardless of which platforms you choose, find authors who also use them and follow them. Follow publishers and agents and booksellers. It will give you a good idea of what is going on in the industry. There is no one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to social media. It’s up to you to find your fit. 

An author platform is more important than ever before. If you want to create one, join us for The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course.

by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. A Writer's Friends - how to build an author platform
  2. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Three Top Tips for Writing for Social Media

Writing for social media is all about engaging your audience, and showing your personality. It is a fun and effective way to talk about your business. If you communicate well on your networks, you will be successful.

Here are three things you should remember before you write a word.

1. The shorter the better

Even if some platforms allow you to write a longer message, always share yours in the shortest, most effective length. Cut unnecessary padding words and phrases. Examples: nearly, very, really, almost, finally, in fact, I mean, what I wanted to say. Use sentence fragments. It adds a conversational tone and saves space.

2. Make a scene

Stand out. Get noticed. Offer something valuable. You could be sharing a link, giving advice, posting a quote, announcing an event, or asking a question. Whatever you do it must be of value to your audience. You also have to write that message in a way that makes your words sound exciting, intriguing, and irresistible.

3. Be friendly

Social media is about interacting. It is not necessarily about having a conversation, but you are sharing your product and your world with real people and you need to write conversationally. You need to be charming and you need to make friends. Do not use hype. Do not use jargon. Do not sound as if you are selling something. Do not lecture. Communicate. You would not use these tactics with real friends, why use them on social media?

What is the most important thing to remember?

You are not invisible. You are completely exposed on Social Media. So, look good, sound good, and be on your best behaviour. 

If you want some help with social media marketing, enrol on our one-day workshop, The Social Brand, to find out how we do it. 

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter. 

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post read:
  1. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  2. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There
  3. Social Media Explained
  4. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers
  5. 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
  6. Seven ways to make the most of social media
  7. Six reasons social media matters to your company
  8. Effective Internet Writing
  9. Throwback Thursdays Mean Business
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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Social Media – A Cautionary Tale

What do we do when Facebook changes the rules?

As a writer I am constantly reading and hearing about the importance of my author platform and my own brand. But Social Media does not come naturally to me. Not only am I late adopter, but I have sometimes felt like a forced adopter. 

I finished reading the The Circle by Dave Eggers this weekend. I enjoyed the book. It was chilling. It is a work of fiction, but it certainly struck a chord. It is all about transparency, communication and connecting, but when are we too connected? When should it stop? What are the boundaries? The Circle starts out as platform similar to Facebook but it allows no anonymity and only one online identity. That means no trolls, no nameless comments, and no hacks. Dave Eggers creates a world where nothing is hidden, nothing is deleted and everything is shared. Everything. Sounds good, right?

It is written as a first person account of a woman who sounded as if she were joining a cult. It was a scary balance between believable and ridiculous, but Mae, the protagonist is so convinced the company is right that you have to keep shaking your head to remind yourself that it is a bad idea.
Source for Comic

After I finished this book Amanda Patterson sent me a few links. We have been discussing the Writers Write views and likes and shares and tweets that these posts generate and how to improve them. We agree that we prefer organic growth and do not believe in paying to promote posts or paying for likes. Turns out we were right. Paying for likes doesn’t help, especially when that like is generated by a robot and not a person. You can read the full article here: The End of Facebook .There is also the problem of the filtered feed and how your reach decreases as your page size grows. Read the article here: Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing?

It seems we are stuck between two extremes. Knowing too much and not knowing enough. Who gets to decide what we are privy to and what remains a secret? What is real and what is not?

Should people be allowed to post anonymously? Should we have multiple identities and hide behind pictures instead of real profile pictures? One true identity means that Facebook won’t be able to generate fake likes, but anonymity is my privilege is it not?

It sure made me think. I understand that it is silly to base my fears on a work of fiction, but it gives me pause. I am probably naïve to believe this hasn’t been happening all along. But my question is: Should I be investing as much time as I am as a writer on any platform that can be manipulated in a world that isn’t physical? I am sure the other social media platforms will be doing this soon, if they aren’t already. And if we don’t use social media what do we use?

 by Mia Botha
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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Blogging For Writers

The right to write

Everyone has a story worth telling. Writing helps you tell it, and if you learn how to write properly, you could even become a successfully published author.

Everything begins with words. Words make sense of a senseless world. Psychologists agree that writing is one of the most therapeutic exercises for any human being. I believe writing every day is important because it unleashes your creativity, it shows your determination, and it keeps your sense of wonder alive. You will discover yourself through the power of words.

One of the easiest ways to keep track of your writing is by blogging.

What is a blog?

A blog is a ‘web log’ and it is, in essence, an online diary. Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can set one up. 

How do I set up a blog?

There are many sites that offer free blogging. I would suggest Tumblr or WordPress for beginners. Both sites offer free templates and tutorials. You don’t need to know anything about writing code or designing a website. You will receive a free blog site with an address you’ve chosen. This is the address you will give to family, friends, customers – anyone who might want to take a look.

Once you’ve created your profile you’ll be asked to write your post and upload pictures. (Don’t panic! There are buttons for all of these. Follow the prompts.) There is a tag section for blogs. These are the words you most associate with your blog. Add these tags when prompted because they help people find your blog in searches. 

After you’ve checked the post all you have to do is click the publish button. Your post will be visible and you will have become a blogger. Remember that you are writing for an audience and you should write as clearly and as well as you possibly can. You don’t have to write something new every day. You can share another blogger’s post or simply add an inspiring quotation or picture.

What can I blog about?

You can blog about anything. You know what drives, motivates, inspires, and interests you. You might be passionate about cupcakes, or cats, or reality TV. You might want to blog about all three. Or you may want to write about something traumatic that’s happened to you or your family. Whatever it is, there’s a platform for you. I blog about writing every day on Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, Google+ and Posthaven. I post my book reviews on Goodreads. Once you find your passion you will find there are many communities you can join.

Why should I blog?

  1. It will encourage you to write every day.
  2. Your creativity and passion need an outlet.
  3. Your stories will help you discover who you really are.
  4. You will raise awareness for your personal or professional profile. 
  5. You can build up a following and create a community that supports your interests.

You don’t have to blog to write though. Using a diary, or paper, or simply writing on your PC is just as good. You need to create a writing routine and establish a habit. Take an hour every morning before everybody else wakes up or an hour late at night when everyone’s asleep. Writing every day will help you create a great story when you decide to eventually write a book. You will realise there is no muse. It is you and a blank screen, or a blank piece of paper. If you treat writing as a job, or a dedicated hobby, with deadlines and rules, you will succeed. If you treat it as an artistic experience you will not become published which is fine if you’re not interested in that aspect. But if you do want to publish, find out how to write, find time to write, and do it.

My Five Top Tips for Aspiring Writers

  1. Write every day. Read every day.
  2. Learn how to write a book. Go on a course or do some research.
  3. You need 10 000 hours practice before you’re good at anything. Start writing now.
  4. Brand yourself. Think about how you, and your writing, could become a product people want more of.
  5. Become ‘social media’ savvy. Spend two hours a day online as a ‘writer’. Join Tumblr, Goodreads, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Join us for The Social Brand

Amanda Patterson is the founder of Writers Write, a company which offers business and creative writing courses countrywide. She has written more than 20 courses on writing. She has a following of more than 300 000 people from her blogs and social media platforms. Her company’s motto is: Write to communicate. 

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter

If you enjoyed this post, read:

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Amanda Patterson Answers Five Questions On Writing

When she agreed to be a Destiny mentor, Amanda Patterson, answered five questions for readers.

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Amanda Patterson is the founder of Writers Write, a company which offers business and creative writing courses.

1.  What inspired you to start Writers Write? 

I started Writers Write accidentally. After I was rejected, I researched how to write a book. I had so many aspiring authors asking me for help, I decided to put together a part-time course. Within a year, we had a company that ran two courses a month. We now have a creative and a business writing division. We run courses countrywide and I have written 20 courses on writing. Our motto is: Write to communicate.

2.  What are some essential tips you would offer aspiring writers?

  • Learn how to write a book. Go on a creative writing course or do some research.
  • Become ‘social media’ savvy. Spend two hours a day online as a 'writer'.
  • Brand yourself now. It takes time to build an online presence. (If you're looking for more practical advice, and you live in Johannesburg, join us for The Social Brand.)
  • You need 10 000 hours practice before you’re good at anything. Start writing now.
  • Write every day. Read every day.

3.  How do you identify whether you have a story worth telling? 

Everyone has a story worth telling. If you learn how to write properly, you can become a successfully published author.

4.  How does one go about finding a publisher?

Finding a publisher is the least of your worries. Writing a great story which is properly paced, plotted and polished is more important. Once you have that in place, you have an Internet of possibility to explore. Mainstream publishers are chasing self-published success stories for their lists. Macmillan has signed Amanda Hocking who sold 1million books all by herself.

5.  How does one find the discipline to actually sit down and write a book?

By realising there is no muse. There is you and a blank screen, or a blank piece of paper. If you treat writing like a job, with deadlines and rules, you will succeed. If you treat it as an artistic experience you will be disappointed. Decide if you really want to write that book. Be honest. Then find out how to write. Work out a plot and write. For more information on Writers Write, click here

Socially speaking...

Circle Amanda on Google+

Follow @amandaonwriting 

Join Amanda on tumblr 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Join Amanda on Goodreads

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Writers Write - Write to communicate