Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 8, 2010

25 Ways to Make Social Media Work For You

Here is the handout from the Social Media talk I gave at the New Jersey SCBWI Conference last weekend.  One of the things we discussed was  being realistic about blogging. 

Everyone who is a writer does not have to have a blog about writing.  While you are figuring out #1, consider things you are good at doing.  Maybe you are a great shopper.  Somehow you can always find the best deals, while your friend are always spending more money for the same things.  Maybe you go out to eat a lot and know the restaurants with the best food or maybe you could evaluate the food you order and report on that.  It could be knitting.  It could be about swimming, ice skating, running, helping the needy. 

We all have our strong points and expertise.  So what if you attract swim team parents, or people just interested in food?  They all buy books and when your book comes out they will be there to help spread the word.

With that in mind, here are my 25 tips:

1. Identify Your Strategy – This is number one, because it is the more important thing you can do before online marketing. If you do not have a strategy in place to lead the charge into social media you will be at a lost and things will become overwhelming.  A strategy allows you to measure success points in your social media journey.

2. Start a blog – This seems like an obvious one. This should be one of the first things you think about doing when contemplating using social media as a marketing tool. There should always be a hub where your contacts can interact and having a blog makes a great “hub.”  WordPress is a great tool to start blogging. Get on it!  It’s free.

3. Give More than You Receive – If you want to receive attention from others online, you have to be willing to give it first. It’s the old “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” routine. You can’t bust onto a social media site with a sense of entitlement thinking you should be a top user immediately. You have to earn respect from others. How do you do this? By giving more than you receive.

4. Add Value to the Site – At the end of the day, the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community.  This means not submitting content that nobody cares about and not constantly promoting yourself or product. Before you ever submit anything to a social media site, ask yourself “Does this article really add value to the community?” If not, reconsider submitting it.

5. Build Quality Relationships – People are more willing to help those who they really know. By building quality relationships with other users, you’ll always have someone in your corner to back you up. Remember, relationships require the participation of both parties; so, always be a good participant in your social media relationship.

6. Stop Pushing – One of the fastest ways to alienate people online is to constantly flood them with requests for helping you out. Whether you’re constantly shouting your content or always Tweeting asking people to comment on your blog, eventually, everyone will lose their patience with you.

7. Respect the Community – This might be the most important rule of social media etiquette. Show respect to the community. It’s not that hard to do. Just make sure you don’t step out of line, and always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. These are simple social skills you should already be following in real life; now, you just have to follow them online too.

8. Listen to Others – Your first reaction whenever someone disagrees with you online is probably to tell them how wrong they are. Instead of constantly fighting back, take the time to listen to what they’re really saying. Listen to the people commenting on your blog or tweeting about you. Understand where they’re coming from. You don’t know everything, and you can learn from others if you take the time to listen.

9. Be Nice – All of these points add up to one thing—just be nice. Is it really too much to ask for people to be kind to one another? Call me old-fashioned if you like, but there’s nothing wrong with being nice to others online.  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Never put anything in digital form (email, wall post, tweet, whatever) that you are not comfortable sharing with the whole world for eternity.  Once you put something in digital form, it can potentially reach every person on earth until the end of time.  They don’t call it viral for nothing.  You have no control over the reach of your postings, so keep control over your content.

10. Visit your visitors blogs.  Visit blogs you never visited and people you don’t know.  Leave comments on other peoples blogs.

11.  Ask a question at the end of your post.  Develop a conversation. Ask to hear other peoples thoughts.

12. But don’t share too much. Though shalt not over tweet, or over post.  When people post too often, say six posts in a row on Twitter, it is oh-so-easy to just roll right through them.  Over-posters become like white noise.  So what is the right amount of posting?  Listen twice as much as you speak.

13. Content is King. Ok, so maybe you didn’t learn this one in pre-school but you should have because it is true.  Do not use Social Media tools to only promote whatever it is you may be selling.  To get people to pay attention to you and to keep them interested, you have to add value.  Your social media strategy should be to become an interesting and relevant voice in the conversation. When that is your focus, you are more likely to be successful so carefully consider the ratio of non-promotional content to promotional content in your postings.

14. Use Twitter on a Daily Basis. Now this might be a little overwhelming to the young at heart in social media but Twitter is fast becoming the ideal means of online communication. For a detailed explanation of Twitter check out’s videoTwitter will drive traffic to your blog.  Re-tweet other peoples tweets or tweet about other people’s blog posts.

15.  Always try to add some type of visual with your post.  The Internet is very visual, so if you can add a picture, graphic or video, that will add interest to y our blog.  Consider making a video and putting it on your blog.  Also, share other peoples videos.

16. Place a Poll on Your Blog or Website. There are plenty of tools available for polling on your website or blog. Wp-polls is a great resource if you are connected with WordPress. Ask a question to your audience. How can I make my content better? What are you wanting to read or learn about? This will help in engaging your more loyal readers and followers. Formstack also gives you the ability to create forms and polls for easy content access and building.

17. Ask a Loyal Reader to Guest Post. There is value in having your loyal readers do a guest post for your blog. They will feed your link to their subscribers and it also gives them a pride in ownership of your blog. This allows for the strengthening of a relationship in the long run.  It is also a win for the Guest Blogger – they get their name out there without the daily work of maintaining a blog.

18. Focus. Really Focus on Your About Page. What is the second most read page on a blog? The about page. People want to know who they are communicating with. The last thing you need to do is to create a boring about page. Spice it up. Add some details that will create the best about page you could possibly want! Also.. enable comments on your about page. Allow people to comment on yours likes and dislikes.

19. Start a Facebook Page and Add in Your Family Life. Facebook is an extremely personal tool that can be used to connect with individuals on an emotional basis using pictures. You have to be open in sharing some of your family life with the outside world. There is a reason why PR companies have used the idea of “family man” to save many tarnished CEOs.  Add pictures of your family, your dog, your vacation.  People will connect.  Just don’t go overboard and remember what you put up is for the whole world to see.

20. Pick 4 Social Sites and Maximize. You will become anti-social if you become overwhelmed with the multitude of different social media sites in which you are a member. Use the 4-touchpoint theory of choosing four social media sites to spend your time.

21. When someone comments on your blog email them a thank you. If someone is joining into the conversation on your blog and adding content make sure you thank them for your support. The people who show a vested interest are key to growing your readership. If you have an individual who has referred you or your business through the online environment, use the old method of a handwritten note to that person. You’ll be surprised how far a handwritten note will get you!

22. Weave in some personal experiences. People come to your site to read content that will benefit them.  Never forget that, but after you get a following, start weaving in things that are happening in your life.  Talk about how you are solving the problems on a daily basis. Use Twitter. Use Facebook. Tell stories on your blog. People engage in stories. They connect with stories.

23. Try to Keep Yourself Within 450 Words or Less on Your Blog. It is important to keep blog posts concise and to the point.  If you keep blog posts short it helps to keep readers and that is the goal. But as you can tell by this post, it is not essential to keep to450 words. If you have advice and knowledge that will help your readers then you can go over or break it up into two parts.

24. Remember Quality vs. Quantity. Quality is always better than Quantity. One hundred extremely engage readers are infinitely better than 4000 quasi engaged readers. Quality allows you to truly form relationships with the people you are dealing with on a daily basis. You can build your base anyway you like, but make sure you always come back to quality over quantity.

25. DO NOT HARD SELL! Repeat: Do Not Hard Sell. This means refrain from always talking about your book, selling your stuff. Listen to the people who are investing in your writing and social media presence. Nobody cares about your 30% off sale. They care about who will be greeting them at the door. Personality rules.

Illustrators Only:  Run! Don’t Walk! Get your illustrations up on a website – up on a blog – up on face book, etc.  The Internet is visual – Art is visual – Blogs are free – get your artwork up on the web with your own blog.  Then Twitter to drive traffic to your blog.

If you have anything you can write up about the conference, I would love to put it on my blog or if you have posted something about the conference, let me know and I can point people to what you put up.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the conference and helped to make Laurie and my life easier.  Thanks to all the editors and agents.  Everyone who has attended a conference knows how nice it is to have the faculty talk with them.  From what I was told and what I noticed, all of the faculty went out of their way to be friendly and talk with the attendees.  I think it is that aspect of the conference that really gets people excited.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Kathy,

    If anybody knows about this stuff—it’s you! Your presentation on this subject was great—very thorough and informative.

    You certainly drove home the importance of Social Media in today’s world and in this industry. Thank you!


  2. Great post, Kathy. I added to in marketing group and also linked to your blog. Thanks so much for sharing this great list. I appreciate the time it took you to develop. Also, love your blog. You do a great job with it. Blessings, Buffy


  3. This is great! I’m sorry I missed the conference this year–will definitely be attending next year (husband will have to do swim meet!). Question–does should a blog be centered around one topic only (not necessarily writing, but in my case, say just knitting, or just synchronized swimming)?


  4. Thanks Kathe. Networking has always been important to me, for I moved to an area where there wasn’t any groups on the subjects I was interested in. So, I had to create groups to bring people with the same interest to me. So, I founded two writers groups and I am very involved with our library. I try to check out your blog and David L Harrison as often as time permits and others to direct me. Thanks again for all your hard work. Mary Nida


  5. Cool read! Thanks


  6. I completely am in awe of this blog.totally gonna have to put this on my bookmarks.


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