Monday, August 20, 2018

Is Building a Social Media Platform Worth the Effort?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Social media. Often just the mention of this subject conjures up hours of time. First there’s the time it takes to hang out online, then the time it takes to figure out what to say, who to LIKE and which updates to comment on, share and even retweet.

All for what?

The chance that someone out there in cyberspace might actually—either now or sometime in the future—buy a book?

Or the fact that some editor and/or agent is going to judge the number of friends, followers and likes I have on my social media network?

After all—I signed up to be a writer—not a sales person and/or marketer.

I’m sure you’re hoping I can either justify your opinion or make a legitimate case to change your mind and show you how easy and how much fun it is.

The truth is this: 
Social media is hard work. It takes being intentional and keeping your goal in mind.

I think most people approach social media with the wrong goal in mind and that leads to frustration.

Social media isn’t advertising and, although we do have the possibility of reaching millions, it’s not mass marketing.

Social media is a way of connecting with people online—in this day and time, it’s a large part of building meaningful relationships and making lasting connections.

Beyond that, for writers, social media is a tool. It’s an important tool, but it’s one of many we use when we’re professional writers.

So what should our goals be when it comes to social media?  
1. We want to connect with others online in a way that has meaning. It doesn’t have to become a deep friendship, but it should be a way to enrich one another’s lives.

2. We want to add value to the lives of those we connect with. This means we don’t want to just be part of the online noise, but actually make a contribution.

3. We want to find people we can encourage and who can (and will) encourage us. These people will help share your excitement when a book comes out, and they’ll also be there when things don’t go as planned.

4. We want to be authentic online. We want people to recognize us face-to-face, not just because our image looks like us, but because our updates and online interactions sound like us.

5. We want to have a positive impact on the world—online and offline. To do that, we need to be visible and able to be found. 

6. We want to always put others ahead of ourselves. We do this because it’s the right thing to do, and because it helps prove that we’re not just here to get what we can from people and move on.

None of these 6 goals is directly related to selling books—but they can all impact our book sales. If all we’re trying to do is be online to garner huge numbers and sell a product, we’d be better off spending the money on direct advertising.

So what do I share online to accomplish these 6 goals? I have four specific types of updates I share.
  • An inspiring and/or thought provoking quote or a Bible verse.
  • Something humorous (because laughter is the best medicine and we really can’t have too many funny cat videos!)
  • A question, usually thought provoking, but sometimes related to something I need an answer to.
  • A link to something I’ve found valuable or interesting somewhere online.
I definitely think social media is worthy it.

By being interested in the people I encounter through social media, I’ve managed to make lots of new friends and fun connections. I've also been blessed by the way those online support me and encourage me. I know I’d have missed out on so much, if all I’d been interested in was selling books or using those online to pad the numbers part of my platform.

Now it’s your time. What valuable connections and relationships have you found through social media. Or, if you disagree, I’d love to hear why. We can all learn from each other.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. Thanks for another great post Ms. Edie. I must admit, I've received more from social media than I've given back I think. The blessing I receive most is knowing that I am not alone in this journey to be a Christian writer. I am definitely blessed more than I bless others I think. Thank You for being such an encouraging friend to so many here. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. Thanks for the reminder, Edie. What's the old saying, people don't care how much you know, until you show them you care. And I think readers today want to make a connection. Which is why God sends us.

  3. Another post full of wisdom by a teacher who's been there and done it.
    Thank you, Edie.
    Love the goals list.
    Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine wrote in their book about Social Media for Writers, and I am paraphrasing, "the best promotion is promoting the work of others."

  4. I like the list as well, Edie. I'm a 'list' maker, but awful awful at a list accomplisher. In all of my social stuff I do try to reach out and be helpful. I can't do a lot more than that, but it is what it is.

  5. I believe readers want a connection with authors. Social media provides a great place for connection. I am only active on Facebook and Pinterest so far.