Social media for writers – play to your strengths

Allison Tait blog
Posted on December 6, 2012

There’s no doubt that there’s a push for writers to promote themselves online. To create a ‘presence’, to build a ‘profile’.

But if you dip your toes in all the options available, you end up with no actual time to write.

You’re so busy chasing hither and thither, chatting here, pinning there, that what used to be ‘procrastination’ becomes your job.

This is not always for the best.

I think the key is to find the social media channels that work best for you, and stick with those. I should know. I’ve tried just about all of them.

When I first began blogging, I jumped headfirst into Twitter because a) it would help to get my blog ‘out there’ and b) it’s a great place for smart alecs like me to have fun. If you like words and you like smarts, Twitter can be like the best party you’ve ever been to.

After Twitter, however, came Facebook – first a Life In A Pink Fibro blog page, then an Allison Tait page, then, after I decided that two pages was ridiculous, just the Allison Tait page.

Then I was told I really should get on Pinterest. So I did. And it’s a lovely place to while away a few hours sorting through soothing pictures of bathrooms.

I can see how it works for some blogs as a traffic driver, but I’ve slowly realised over three years of blogging that I’m not really in this for spikes in traffic. I’m looking for readers, for writers, for community. When my most popular pin became an image of a DIY Christmas Tree created with photo frames, I began to wonder…

I’ve also tried Instagram. I very much enjoyed taking images of my garden for the #yearinmygarden meme, and I do like the insight into other people’s lives that it shows, but I don’t really want to share any more of mine than I already do. [EDIT 2020: I use Instagram regularly and happily now and have worked out my boundaries of what to share and what to keep to myself]

Which leaves me, where?

I dabble in Pinterest occasionally and have grown to love Instagram stories (so ephemeral!). But, mostly, I’m a words girl.

I need to play to my strengths.

So, you’ll find me here on Twitter. And here on Facebook.

But mostly at my desk. Writing.

Which social media channels are your favourites – and why?


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  2. Shelly - Tropical Mum

    You missed Google+, because that’s how I found my way to this post!

    I’ve had a Twitter account for a couple of years now with a healthy following, but I am still inept at it. I do better on Facebook, and Pinterest is a time waster with no real interaction, but I do like the purdy pictures. Instagram was interesting to have a glimpse at other people’s lives, but I’m not committed enough to take photos every day.

    So that leaves me feeling like I could just give the whole thing away and only blog, but I know I won’t, because sometimes I enjoy going to those places, if only to waste some time.

  3. mother rucker

    Ive just found you tonight via Eden Riley. I have blogged for the last 6 months about My Life Backstage. I never told a soul except for my husband. I did not use any other forms of social media to promote my blog. If my content was good – readers would return. They are! I have only just started a FB page this month. It’s a controlled affair with social media. I like it this way. Its growing! Thankyou for this post. You have confirmed my thinking on how not to waste time. I’ve added you to my reading list. Thank you!

  4. airstreamfamily

    I agree whole heartedly. I’m breaking up with social media in 2013 too. I barely have enough time to write (juggling 3 kids under 3) so I also plan to spend my spare time writing. Fingers crossed my community tracks me down. I look forward to reading more of your fabulous writing in 2013. airstreamfamily.com.au

  5. Gabrielle Tozer

    Love this, Al. I’m addicted to Twitter and my author/journalist Facebook page because it connects me to other writers (and hopefully readers!). Instagram is a little bit of fun every now and then, but I have no idea how to pin on Pinterest and I’m going to keep it that way. (Sometimes I think I should have Pinterest – I currently email myself pics of things I like so my poor Gmail is overflowing.) Tweet/FB you soon, I’m sure!

  6. Sarah Ayoub @ Chasing Aphrodite

    I have it on my blog contact page that I am still “figuring out how the hell to use instagram”. I use pinterest to collate pictures of what I want in my dream house and little quotes to put on my facebook page. The two don’t help with my promotion, and I don’t check instagram as much. I like it because it makes my pictures prettier. I think I am going to make like you and play to my strengths, and just use twitter and facebook. I too am a words girl. My pictures on instagram suck anyway. Plus then there’s evernote to worry about, which helps me take care of the mess inside my head and on my desk. That really is more than I bargained for, and I am gen Y. I just feel like an old loser but you made me feel a little better and see the point in refining. Thanks!

  7. Seana Smith

    Interesting and I feel as others do. I do Instagram for me really, and have decided to only follow a few people so I can look at most of their their photos. I really ought to remember to pin to Pinterest as I use so many photos, but I don’t repin other peoples’ stuff, I am still hung up on copyright issues I think. My resolution should be to pin better in 2013. I like being an inconsistent Tweeter, only tweet when I fancy, also good to introduce oneself. I love my personal Facebook for gabbing with old pals esp in Scotland and the blog page is now like advertising… a real pity!

    My best socialising is definitely still done at the pub and in cafes… actually mostly at the school gate.

  8. Helene Young

    Love to procrastinate on FB, occasionally tweet, and love, love, love blogging 🙂 And with all that going on I still need to make time to write!

  9. PlanningQueen

    Really love this post Al. Pinterest is my favourite, I do facebook because so much of my audience is there./ I have to force myself to go on Twitter, Google + and I am so/so about instagram.

    Over the break I intend to do lots of thinking about how I am going to work social media in 2013.

    • PlanningQueen

      And I should say, like Claire I like Pinterest for me! Not really for the traffic. I find lots of things I like on there. I like collecting!

  10. ClaireyHewitt

    I am considering breaking up with Facebook, I can’t stand the way fb decides what I see, for instance I havent seen your stuff in a very very long time. It also only sends my stuff tomaround10% of my readers.

    Instagram is a bit like twitter, you need to find the right people to follow.

    I use Pinterest for personal things but not really to increase traffic to the blog. More for ideas.

    But more and more I am using bloglovin, getting my favourite blogs listed and reading the posts when I get a chance.

  11. Kirsty

    I’ve thought about twitter, but decided to resist. My phone is generally lost or lacking charge so instagram’s problematic, but I love pinterest. I don’t use it for traffic – pinterest generates about the same amount as my online writing group – next to zero. I love it for doing story boards and researching times and places. It’s been brilliant for researching Georgian costume!

  12. Rae Hilhorst

    I agree with everything you said, I to have given FBI the flick, too much advertising,also I am fed up with the notifications of what I have missed xx Rae

  13. littlebitofthyme.com

    I’ve given away fb, tried twitter for about a week and hated it. I don’t go on Pinterest anymore – only if someone mentions me in a comment. I love Instagram. Allows me to photograph and record life around here instantly, or whenever I want to.

    I’m getting better at not getting too hooked on things.
    All the best for 2013.
    Love your blog.

  14. Michelle

    Thank god! I was afraid you were going to leave Twitter. I recently quit FB because I am never there and have no idea how to use it with my blog, I use Instagram in a non-compulsive way so consider it to be a little bit of fun but not dangerous, and *cough* have an entirely unhealthy obsession with twitter.

  15. Maxabella

    I could honestly give them all away in a heartbeat and just blog. x

    • PlanningQueen

      I am really feeling that way at the moment too Maxabella. x

  16. Carli

    I’m with Kelly, Twitter is my first love 🙂

  17. NessofBoganville

    I’m a complete technophobe and hopeless at taking photos so I’d never get the hang of instagram or pinterest. I mainly facebook and am still intimidated by Twitter, even though I have an account. I can’t think of witty things to say in 140 characters or less approximately every 17 minutes.

    Anyway, love your words, Allison. 🙂

  18. Emily

    I have avoided Pinterest and Instagram for those very reasons. I’d just waste time.

    That said, I don’t even have a twitter account or blog facebook page yet! But plans are afoot. Plans, redesigns and relaunches. Fingers crossed it works.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what works!

  19. Catherine Rodie Blagg (Cup of Tea and a Blog)

    I joined Twitter in June this year, it took me a while to get the hang of it, but now I prefer it to Facebook (especially since all the advertising and FB only showing my posts for 35 of my 500 odd likers… grr). I’m totally addicted to IG, but not as a way of sharing my blog, I just like taking photos!

  20. Sam Stone

    For me, Twitter and FaceBook. I am in the process of setting up a FB page.
    I tried Instagram and just didn’t have the time for all of them.

  21. Kelly Exeter

    Twitter for me! Everything is a distant second.

    It pains me that as a designer I am not more active on Pinterest and Instagram, but maybe that also shows me where my true true love lies. In the wonderful world of words 🙂

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