Writers have an almost golden opportunity to expand their outreach using social media. Why do I say that since social media isn’t the most reliable when it comes to building relationships or getting yourself noticed?

Social media has affected our in-person socialization. We don’t always know with whom we’re interacting, and we are not attuned to social cues and body language when blocked with a screen. And while people hide who they are behind a cartoon image or meme, and/or post whatever they wish regardless of the consequences, writers can choose to be different.

As writers, we want to build an audience. We’re trying to strengthen our brand and give our connections a place to read our work. Often, on some form of social media, we post our work or the links to where our work has been published.


A higher standard for writers

However, as writers, we’re usually held (or should hold ourselves) to a higher standard even when writing posts. Granted when we type posts on our phone the auto correct is less than accurate and we might have to edit that post later. But generally, when we post, we should have a methodology to it. Our posts should reflect polished writing. They should be professional. They should be positive. Really, we want them to appeal to our growing audience and attract potential readers.

With these suggestions, I’m referring to our professional author profiles as opposed to our personal ones we share with family and friends. But even then, what we post in our personal profiles could enhance our image or come back to bite us and alienate the readership we’ve been trying to build.

Another way we could distance our readers and appear rude is by ignoring them. By this I mean that while you have free rein to post whatever and whenever, you also need to make time for your readers. When people comment on your post, it would be a courtesy to reply, even if it’s simply to say, “thank you.” Many post articles, self-accolades, or other interesting tidbits, but they don’t acknowledge comments. It’s as if they post, expect others to “like” the post, read or share it, but then the author walks away and won’t respond when someone has a comment.

Think about it this way: if someone approached you face-to-face to say “congratulations” for something you’ve received or accomplished, wouldn’t you respond with a “thank you”? Even if you receive one hundred “congratulations” on your post, if you responded to them, you would stand out as approachable, human, and someone they want to support.

Social media may have trained people to forgo kindness, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.


Standing out on social media

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to stand out:

  • Check your posts before you hit “post.” Is the post positive?
  • Does it reflect you/your brand properly?
  • Is it going to appeal to your readers?
  • Does it reflect your writing prowess and skill with correct spelling and grammar?
  • Are you prepared and have made time to answer comments?
  • Are you able to manage negative comments with grace and professionalism?

Make sure most of your posts are about your reader and less about you. While it’s good to share with your readers your publications and awards, you also want them to see you as someone who cares about what interests them. This is often referred to as thought leadership when sharing your expertise. You want your audience to see themselves in your posts when you share your experience and wisdom.

Writers can stand out as professional and polished in their social media. To build a loyal audience, make sure your posts are positive, appeal to your readers, and displays the reputation you are trying to achieve. Take time for your commenters, even if it’s with a simple “thank you.” Remember, online comments and posts you make can always be located years down the road, so make sure they reflect you in a positive light.

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