Tweet chat 23rd January 2021 Networking and social media with guest Lizzie Chantree

Participants: Sandy Stuckless, Gerald Hornsby, Elizabeth Holland, Maria Johnson, Anita Belli, Bradley Galimore, Kathleen Marple Kalb, Nathan James, Mole Chapman, Julie Mayerson Brown, Deborah Klée

What you are hoping to get help with today?

The responses were in the main, how to use social media to market books effectively and to make the best use of time so it does not eat into writing time.

Lizzie: Networking is also about word of mouth but we can’t meet up in groups right now. Online groups in your genre are a good place to chat. If you join too many groups, you don’t have time to participate fully and people can’t get to know you or your work

My advice would be to keep branding the same across all social media and it helps if it reflects your genre. 

Deborah:  It is interesting that you say in your genre. I think some writers try to grow lots of followers but do not focus on their genre

Lizzie: There is no point having loads of followers who aren’t at all interested in your topic. Build a following of people who have similar interests to you or your genre. It’s about mutual support too. Take time to share other people’s work.

Elizabeth: Thank you! I’ve joined a few groups but not any specific to my genre. I shall give this a go

Nathan: To succeed on Twitter: 

  • Search/use relevant hashtags to engage in conversations
  • Like/comment/retweet Use twitter handles of media outlets/reviewers to get noticed 
  • Use links/photos/gifs to illustrate your tweets Ask questions, set quizes 
  • Be yourself

Lizzie: Building a follower base by interacting often is a really good start. Social media is about being social, but keeping it to set times so that it doesn’t crowd your writing time. 

Anita: I find it time consuming and it takes me away from my writing! Any tips for making it more efficient?

Lizzie: Building a follower base by interacting often is a really good start. Social media is about being social, but keeping it to set times so that it doesn’t crowd your writing time. 

Gerald: Thanks, Lizzie. I do have a schedule worked out, but I just need to get onto it!

Sandy: Scheduling is my nemesis. I definitely need to do a better job of it.

Maria: Always looking for ways to network! In particular looking for any ways to connect with potential readers/how to find them.

Lizzie: A good way to connect through networking is to chat to readers regularly on social media and when you are out and about after lockdown, always carry a business card with your book cover and web links on. They are small enough to post on notice boards in cafes.

Deborah : Great idea. I have seen bookmarks with book info too.

Lizzie: Joining book groups on Facebook is a good place to start. Only a few though, so you can interact regularly.

Where do you currently network and with what success?

Gerald: Mainly through Twitter and Facebook. Looking to improve my reach with a monthly newsletter and more YouTube videos during 2021. Success? Moderate, I think

Lizzie: Moderate success is a good success Gerald! Social media needs planning to not eat into writing time. There are some great planners on the market to help schedule timings.

Gerald: Gerald: Really? I hadn’t looked into that. Do you mean things to schedule posts and Tweets? Or something to help you plan what to do and when?

Maria: I am on social media quite a bit, especially Twitter but I also have a Facebook Page and Instagram. I connect mostly with writers on here which is lovely but sales can be hit & miss. Sometimes connect with readers through Facebook but not online so much.

Anita: Facebook page and account. Relatively new to Twitter and still building following. Planning to re-engage with the LinkedIn account I abandoned a while back along with Pinterest. Very inactive on Instagram. Easily overwhelmed by all the noise.

Kathleen: I spend a good bit of time on Twitter, and I’m an admin on a genre group on Facebook. I think both have been helpful to a degree.

Elizabeth: Most of my time is put into Twitter and I’ve found that the most successful. I sometimes schedule Facebook posts but have limited engagement on them.

Lizzie: I find Twitter a great place to interact with other book lovers. Facebook is wonderful for groups.

Sandy: I spend a lot of my time on Twitter and in a couple select groups on Facebook. Success is cool so far. I have received some interest in people beta reading for me, so it’s a bit of a start

Lizzie: For me, I run a book group and interact there daily. Joining book groups is a great way to meet other book lovers. #FriSalon Feel free to join my book group anyone! Lizzie’s Book Group on Facebook.

Deborah: This is where I found Lizzie and it introduced me to her books – so it works. Do you think running a Facebook group is the best way to use it Lizzie? And/or having a regular live event?

Elizabeth: I’m very intrigued by live events and wonder how beneficial they can be.

Deborah: I follow two live Facegroup groups every week Kim Nash’s author interviews @KimTheBookwormRomCom genre 8pm GMT Mons and @gabrielablandy writing coach on a Wed at 5pm GMT

Maria: most networking is done through Twitter. I’ve connected with lots of writers online. Some of them have also become readers. I also have a Facebook page and Instagram. Connected with some people especially in real life through these platforms. Still looking to find and connect with readers. I have thought about scheduling my tweets but most of them are replies to people. I post a couple of ‘original’ tweets a day.

Deborah: I use Buffer to schedule about 18 tweets every week. Others are as and when but the important ones where I target potential readers are scheduled.

Maria: what tweets do you schedule? Are they all links to your books or does it also include this chat? 

Deborah: I take inspirational quotes from my weekly blog which is about the inner journey of the creative. Every now and again I drop in a tweet about my books.

Maria: Ooh quotes from the blog is an interesting idea! My original content tweets are either linking to my blog or having a couple of tweets per day about my books.

Deborah: I also learnt a trick from @gabrielablandy. I keep a table with all of the tweets I send out for my blog each week. I reuse these to direct people to archive blogs. This has increased the views of blogs and continues to do so long after they went live

Sandy: Interesting! I may have to give this a shot. I don’t usually Tweet unless I’m actually online. Back to the scheduling thing. I need to do this more. 

Lizzie: Buffer is a great scheduling tool. So is Hootsuite. #FriSalon I don’t schedule much as I like to interact with my timeline followers.

Maria: do have a Facebook group connected with my Facebook page, a mix of in real life and online people. However, I barely get any engagement. I mainly just share my blog posts on there. I’ve tried asking questions etc but nobody answers Had a live book launch on my page which went well.

Bradley: I currently network via Twitter mainly and I’ve gotten moderate success. The key is finding the right people who reciprocate the support that you provide to them.

Sandy: Maybe at the end we can all share our Facebook pages, if we have one. I know I’d like to get a little more traffic on mine

Kathleen: I spend a good bit of time on Twitter, and I’m an admin on a genre group on Facebook. Cozy Mystery Village page. I think both have been helpful to a degree.

Sandy: Same here. I’m an admin for #10MinuteNovelists on Facebook with over 15k members. Not exaggerating when I saw that group changed my writing life. I’m published today because of them and a few have become some of my best friends.

Lizzie: Groups are great places to meet likeminded people. The key is to not join too many.

Lizzie: Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to blog posts old and new alike

DK: Can you tell us how you use Pinterest to promote your books Lizzie?

Sandy: Side note: One of my favorite hashtags is the #StoryDam one. We hold a chat every Thursday evening at 8pm EST with so many great friends and writers. Highly recommend participating, if you’re able.

Mole: I used to do a lot of networking stuff, but my writing is professional, Training handbooks etc, so few people were interested and I found it depressing in terms of reward.

Is there a network where you would like to be more active but have difficulty engaging? Perhaps Lizzie could share some tips.

Elizabeth: Lots of people have success on Instagram but I find it difficult as an author to find my niche.

Sandy: Same. I tend to share more pictures of my dinner and my cats than writing stuff!

Sandy: I forgot about Pinterest. I actually find this one more useless than Instagram. I have it, but I’m rarely ever on it.

Maria: Same here. Not sure I’ve ever properly figured out how to use it.

Lizzie: It’s really good if you want to drive traffic to your website. Old blog posts can be brought back to life and it can bring many views to your books. #FriSalon My Pinterest is:… if you want to see how it can work.

Lizzie: Instagram is full of book bloggers and other readers. Does your page reflect your genre? 

Elizabeth: No, I’m just not sure what to post other than pictures of my own books

Anita: Me too and I am not sure why I should engage. What does it do that the other sites don’t already offer?

Maria: I have noticed more engagement than on Twitter for example. E.g. two people might like something I put on Twitter, but if I put essentially the same thing on Instagram with the picture added then there might be ten times more likes etc. Not that it’s all about likes but it can be more effective at getting exposure and visibility. Also, people seem to look more at previous posts on Instagram, a new follower might look through your posts/ like or comment on something from a couple of weeks ago, unlike tweets.

Nathan: Yes Instagram, being far less conversational than Twitter, is trickier. Though with eye-catching visuals it can attract followers who are readers.

Anita: #goodreads because writers need to connect with readers as well as other authors.

Lizzzie: Goodreads is tricky. A top tip is that there are hardly any spaces to show your work on Goodreads, so any real estate is valuable. If you add one of your own books to ‘currently reading’ it’s always visible.

Kathleen: Agree with the folks who are confounded by Insta! I do okay on Twitter and Facebook, but despite similar content, all I seem to get on Insta are DM’s from random men. Obviously I’m doing something wrong.

Lizzie: A good way to engage is to ask questions when you post images on Instagram. Also, to respond fairly quickly as this boosts the post in the algorithm.

Bradley: Surprisingly, Reddit. Their community has a following that reminds me of the loyalty people HAD to Tumblr. Reddit however, is a monster all its own and I’m still trying to figure out how to engage that market. 

Maria: Sometimes I run out of ideas on Instagram. There is the # #thewritercommunity which is a nice way to connect with writers. Again, would love to connect specifically with readers too! Would love any tips of using my dusty old Pinterest account effectively as an author.

Lizzie: Pinterest is great for bringing traffic to author websites, but you need to post content and label the images correctly. Or, not image 1091 1092 etc.

Lizzie: t’s really good if you want to drive traffic to your website. Old blog posts can be brought back to life and it can bring many views to your books. #FriSalon My Pinterest is:… if you want to see how it can work.

Gerald: I love your Pinterest! And what a great way of publicising blog posts!

Lizzie: Exactly! You can regenerate old posts and use all kinds of keywords. #FriSalon

Lizzie: There are lots of tips about Pinterest in my networking book. Networking for writers If you have kindle unlimited, then you can download it for free

Lizzie: Pinterest is so much fun, but once again can swallow hours. You really only need to post once a day and then pop back and save a few pins. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours scrolling through the amazing products and photos! #FriSalon Plus you can schedule via Pinterest itself.

Sandy: I don’t use Instagram as much as I probably should. I don’t know… Of the three big platforms, I find it the most unwieldy to use

Maria: One thing I’ve found really useful about Instagram is that it can sync with my Facebook page. I never used to put much on Facebook but have noticed an increase with exposure and engagement since sharing Instagram posts on there too.

Sandy: Yes! This cross-pollination is very helpful!

Deborah: How do you sync with your Facebook page? Buffer will not let me use Instagram because it doesn’t link with my Facebook. Never understood what it meant

Maria: There’s an option somewhere in the account settings that gives you the option to post on Facebook page too. So whenever I put anything on Instagram, I can choose whether to add it to my Facebook page (which I do most of the time). I’ll see if I can remember how to do it!

Lizzie: Facebook own Instagram. When you post to Instagram, you can set posts up to also post to your author page on Facebook. You have to link the accounts via Facebook.

Maria: how to sync- – Click on profile photo in bottom right-hand corner – click on the 3 lines in top righthand corner – click on settings at bottom righthand corner -click on account -click on syncing to other Just seen Twitter is another account to share to as well!

Which tools and resources have you found helpful in preparing and scheduling your posts/tweets etc?

Deborah: On scheduling I recommend Buffer. It makes a huge difference to my reach and how I manage my time.

Mole: I always go live, I was advised early on, to respond immediately and treat it as a conversation not a presentation. I find the more I share the more interest builds. But essentially, it’s about people, not marketing

Anita: interesting point. I agree that it is about engagement, although social media does play a big role in most author’s marketing schedule. Marketing is not the same as selling. Being visible is important

Sandy: I’ve always maintained that I’m on Twitter for the genuine interaction and not to have buy links shoved down by throat every day. Talk to me, get to know me, find out what I like. Then maybe recommend your book, if you think I’ll enjoy it. 

Sandy: I use Tweetdeck for my #StoryDam #StoryNag Tweets. I like it because you can organize topics in panes and see everything on one screen. #FriSalon

Elizabeth: I just use social media’s own platforms to schedule posts. I dabbled in Tailwind for Pinterest but they changed their algorithm and it was easier just to upload direct to the website. I schedule a month ahead and just jot it down in my diary.

Anita: I haven’t explored buffer despite meaning to! I use the schedule button on the tweet itself. Mostly though, it happened live

Elizabeth: I love Canva! So good for creating visuals.

Deborah: I use tweet deck when hosting the Friday salon. It is essential for when I am writing up the notes.

How does your social media activity impact on the sale of your books?

Elizabeth: I definitely see more sales with the more hours I put into social media!

Maria: I have a question, so @EHollandAuthor & I (a few others too) often use #writerlift posts to link books & hopefully connect with potential readers etc. Do we think these posts actually work? I think it’s helped with visibility but now my feed is mostly filled with them!

Elizabeth: I think it depends on the person’s intention who’s posting it. When I post them I always try to get at least one book and share everyone’s posts. If you encourage people to retweet it then your own links can get seen by a huge number of people.

Lizzie: I get sales from social media, but this does come back to social interaction. It’s usually when I’m chatting about something else and then someone might ask which book I’m writing etc

Maria: Yes, same here. Virtually (pardon the pun!) all of my sales through Twitter have come from genuine connection with people. Far rarer that someone comes across one tweet (eg on a #writerslift thread) and then checks out my books/buys them.

Lizzie: It’s great to chat to readers and find out what they think of your books or something they are reading. I’m a bit book obsessed and I like to chat, so I grab anyone I can to talk about it.

Anita: I haven’t really measured it, but engagement, profile and just being out there must have some effect. I don’t think any creative who wants to sell something can afford to hide away. Or rely on others, even a publisher, to do it all for them

Gerald: I think I get most of my social media sales through Facebook. People there know me in real life and will buy my books because of that.

Top tip you have learnt today or want to share?

Gerald: @Lizzie_Chantree‘s idea for using Pinterest was great. I’ve only used it for inspiration and cover reveals up to now. I think I’m going to use it a bit more now.

Lizzie: Wonderful! Canva is an easy way to make pins, or you can do it via adding photos directly to Pinterest.

Deborah: I will be linking my instagram to Facebook and having a go at Instagram or Pinterest in the coming weeks.

Mole: Another thing, I’ve really enjoyed sharing quotes and links to blogs and goodreads recently. It’s got people talking, and the conversation have been life affirming 

Anita: always makes me think about a topic more than I would. And hearing other people’s views is really helpful; especially as they all know more about social media than I do. 

Sandy: I think the biggest thing I took out of today was that you have to diversify your SM presence and make sure you’re reaching the widest audience without being too pushy. 

Lizzie: Tip. Label photos clearly + link to different pages on your website or blog with each pin, or your Amazon page. #FriSalon Pins need to be accurate, so make sure the photo expresses the content in the link you provide. It’s annoying when you click a pin and the content is different

Kathleen: I loved @Lizzie_Chantree‘s idea of using a question to drive engagement on Insta…I’ll be trying that!

Sandy: Don’t forget to drop you Facebook and Instagram handles here for others to find you! Mine are:

Lizzie: My page is… if anyone wants to link up there. #FriSalon

Maria: Thanks! My FB page is I also have a Facebook group ‘Rheged Readers’ on the community section of my page which people are more than welcome to join.

Deborah: My Facebook page is Deborah Klee Author where I am having a launch party for Just Bea on 4thFebruary at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. Would love you to join me. 

Many thanks to our guest this week, Lizzie Chantree international bestselling author of Networking for Writers.This book is crammed with ideas and tips for writers to network and build a following. Highly recommended.

Don’t forget to check out each other’s Facebook pages and groups. #Writerssupportingwriters. 

Next week’s chat is about blogging. Please invite other bloggers to join in, they don’t have to be authors. 

While you are here you might like to browse my blogs or find out about my books.