Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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August 10, 2012

8 Easy Ways To Grow Your Social Media Footprint

Photo by Elizabeth Cooper ~ WANA Commons

by Jenny Hansen

A while back, I attended a free two-hour seminar on social media provided by Constant Contact (my new BFF). While it’s true that I attended for my day job, writers are their own small business so YOU get to benefit as well.

Look at this article from Business Week back in 2008 – Social Media Will Change Your Business. Look at how far things have come since 2005. (Light years!)

Now compare it to this L.A. Times article from last Fall, Social Media Giving Small Firms A Boost, which cites social media as a portal to success for small businesses.

Again, all us writers, particularly those who self-publish are a small business in charge of billing, marketing, quality assurance and - yes - social media.

Here are eight low-cost tips to help you expand your social media footprint:

  1. Voicemail If you haven’t added your Facebook address and Twitter username to your voicemail, you are missing out on some cheap easy marketing. Hundreds of people hear your voicemail each year and it could be the push they need to connect with you online.
  2. Your website Does your website have clear links to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn page? What about to your blog? If someone finds your website, you want to make it easy for them to find the rest.
  3. Printed materials Do you have your social media information printed at the bottom of each letter and brochure you put out? What about on your business cards? It’s easy to make room in the address block for something so important. Try including this the next time you print any materials.
  4. Email Signature Do you have all your social media info in the signature blog on your email? It’s amazing how many people will click that link if you make it easy.
  5. Email marketing It’s a good idea to build an email list and use it for some email marketing. I didn’t say spamming. Once a month is fine for connecting. Once a day is not. Be sure to include all your links as well as a periodic promotion. You’ll be surprised at the results. Tools like Constant Contact can track this for you.
  6. Signage Do you have a sign up at bookstores or tradeshow events telling your customers readers how to connect with you via social media? It’s likely you’re missing out on some contacts you could have made. When people are browsing these places, you’ve got a pretty captive audience. I’m discussing QR codes next week to expand this idea.
  7. Business presentations Do you do any public speaking? Your social media contact information should be on each slide, in any handouts you provide and should also be verbalized at the beginning and end of the presenation.
  8. Cross-promotion between platforms It’s a very good idea to be sure that your  customers readers can find you anywhere. The easiest way to do this is to list your social media information on each platform – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and your blog.

Remember, “Content is King” – nothing will replace good content (i.e. great books). But Social Media is Queen these days and small businesses writers should cast their social media net as widely as they can.

Are there any social media marketing tips you’ve found helpful? Which social media platform has worked best for you? What part of social media do you like or dislike the most? (p.s. I'm happy to answer questions down in the comments!)


About Jenny Hansen

Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after her toddler Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.

When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites or here at Writers In The Storm. Every Saturday, she writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

0 comments on “8 Easy Ways To Grow Your Social Media Footprint”

  1. Oh, Jenny, thanks for this - just when you think you know it all . . .I found two Doh! tips here that I'd overlooked! Going to remedy that now!

  2. Thanks, Jenny, those are great tips! What percentage of potential customers are on social media? I know many people who do not use FB or Twitter or LinkedIn or read blogs. Yet they devour books. How do I reach those readers? Suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Betty, in my business live, we've gotten the most play between our blog and our website. Our website has links to all our social media, including our blog, plus a place to sign up for an email mailing. We send out an email about once a month - the email will reach the people who aren't on social media.

      The biggest thing is to be sure you update your blog at least once a week with interesting content and that you post at least one tidbit a day on your Facebook page. We have Feedburner hooked up at work so that our Facebook update also tweets.

      Last but not least, I'm not above bribery to help get the ball rolling. People will kill themselves over a $5 Starbucks card so we did a FB "Like" campaign that entered them into a drawing for a Starbucks card that month, as well as a quarterly prize for $20. Our outlay was minimal and the return was great. We do it for three months every year.

  3. Putting fliers or signs at local businesses sounds like a good idea. I succeeded in that twice (a flyer with a QR code and the book/contact info), but it isn't as easy as you think. My sister works in a coffees hop and the owner won't allow business cards on her bulletin board. My sister, mind you. The ones that did allow it, I think they did it because it was a charity piece. Don't know what the ratio to sales was on it.

    1. It never hurts to ask, but keep in mind that as an author, your equivalent to that is to make an author sign that goes with you to any events (signings, readings, speaking engagements) so that people have your contact info and a QR code right there at there fingertips. Wherever you and your books are is your "storefront."

  4. Jenny,
    Wonderful tips. I am loving this blog. You guys are great. So glad I got to meet all of you in person at RWA-WF.

  5. I already have an e-mail signature in place, although I'm debating about whatever it should be colored or not.

    While I'm encouraging more people to subscribe my e-mail, I have no idea how to do (free) newsletters or even vanilla e-mails through the (free) service.

    1. Constant Contact offers a 30 day free trial if you want to try it. There's templates you can use, along with amazing help tutorials and free live seminars throughout the U.S. 🙂

  6. Awesome list, Jenny. I have been already implemented some of it. The newsletter is my next step, after publishing Forged by Greed. Well, maybe I will start on the newsletter in January.

    Number two is essential. Yet, I see so many author websites or/and blogs that don't have the social media buttons easily displayed. Digging around the website for that contact info is not the best option.

    I'm wondering about number one on your list. I'm not sure if anyone would scramble for a pen and paper, while my voicemail is playing, to get my Twitter or FB address. I think the easiest - and thus the best - way is to have those links digitally available. People are busy, so if something is just a click away, it makes most sense for them 🙂

    1. Agreed! And I can't wait until your book comes out. 🙂

      On #1, I think it's as much about the idea of thinking about your and social media as anything else. If your website name is easy (i.e. your name) they will remember it. Since everything is hooked up to your website and clearly visible, they can still find you in all your places.

  7. Great post as always, Jenny!
    Also, authors should make sure that all their social media links are listed with their bio information in the book. This way, if a new reader has enjoyed your book they can find out more about you and/or when the next book is to release. 🙂

  8. Great job Jenny, it's a good time to mention a great way to keep new content on your blog is to use the "schedule" feature. You showed me that one and it's turned out to be a life saver. I can schedule the blog in time for all me east coast peeps to see the new posting, while I am still a snooze out her. Thanking you for all you do.

  9. I'm making notes and notes and notes ... Okay, you caught me, I just printed it off with the click of one button. 🙂

    Great tips, Jenny. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Thank you, Jenny. You know,I need all the help I can in this area. Hold my hand please? LOL. But seriously, I have been on the fence about linking my facebook page since I haven't set up an author page yet and plan to wait on that for the time being. My existing page, as you know, doesn't match in name to everything else. It could get confusing. Do you have any thoughts on that?

    1. You can change the name of your Facebook page in your options. I think you should. 🙂 And link up as soon as you finish your author page. What do you think?

      1. It was suggested that I wait on the author page by our resident FB expert until I am closer to having something in print. I thought about changing my regular FB page, but that might really confuse everyone who knows me from my personal life. See the mess?

        1. Ahhh, I do see. I use separate FB pages for personal and writing, which I highly recommend. Either person is welcome in either place, but the content is different.

    1. It doesn't mean you're slow on the uptake! I shook my head at myself over several when I took the course. They were so EASY...and I hadn't even considered them. Good for you for wanting to learn and implement.

  11. Hmmm... Well I don't get hundreds of calls in a month, probably 😉 but geesh. What a cool idea! Love this post, Jenny. Refreshing tips that really sound useful.

    1. Yes, but you can still do some of the tips. You can have links at the bottom of article proposals you write, and have QR codes in the backs of your books. You can also include them here and there on your web/blog sites to get to your other online spots.

  12. There are some really great ideas there. I have wanted to do the email signature thing for awhile. Right now all I have is my website, and honestly, I could barely figure out how to add that! I'm a little bit slow on certain aspects of technology. 🙂 But, I love the idea of adding my facebook page and Twitter handle to my signature. Would that be a copy and paste thing? Or Do I just type in my Twitter handle and a link automatically pops up? (See what I mean? Technoidiot!) I have links to my FB and Twitter on the blog page of my website, but do you think we should have it somewhere else? Like on our main page? I don't think VM would work for me because the only one who calls me is my step-mom. I'm more of a texter and so are most everyone I know. I also think cards are such a must! There have been several times where I've met a random person shopping or at a Starbucks and having calling cards, as I like to call them, came in handy. Thanks for the great list! You've given me a lot to think about.

    1. Thanks, Jamie! I hear what you're saying - it kind of depends on what your voicemail focuses on. If it's just for your writing, I can totally see including it. If you use it for personal as well, it would feel weird. 🙂

  13. Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  14. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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