Social Networking: Twitter and Facebook as Promotional Tools for Writers

If you are an online writer, you may have been fooled into thinking that becoming part of online social media communities like Facebook and Twitter is the key to your success. Posting links and promoting your work takes only moments and puts it in front of those countless millions in your friend’s list. You may even have fooled yourself into thinking your friends have nothing better to do than read your work and wait anxiously at the keyboard to click on your links. I’m sorry to break it to you, but it simply ain’t so, and here’s the proof

When I ask those who devote their time to promoting their work through social media how many links they click on every day, the result is always the same. “Well, I click on those that really interest me.” They often go on to explain that they are limited on time and that most of the links they see aren’t in their area of interest, but if they do see something interesting they will click. The assumption, of course, is that their links are interesting and that others have much more time than they do to explore links.

Newsflash folks! Your friends are saying the same thing. Oh, they aren’t going to admit it to you because they are living under the illusion that you are clicking on all their links, too. Telling you they don’t read yours sets the stage for you to withdraw your interest from them. It’s a big game, but no one is winning.

According to All Twitter, the average link posted on Twitter receives 4.9 clicks while Facebook links average slightly less at 4.3. Unless you are a marketing genius and exceed the average, that means your links are doomed to an average of fewer than 10 clicks, if you post them on both Twitter and Facebook.

Let’s suppose you go all out, post 100 links to your work to each, and gain 1000 views on that masterpiece you have just created. Factoring in the time for posting the links and building your online relationships (meaningful interactions with your “friends”) the return for your efforts isn’t exactly earth-shattering. The time invested in promoting your work with social media could have been used to create more content and likely garner a higher return for your efforts.

Social media may be the most popular game in town, but that doesn’t mean it works or that it’s worth your time. Some of you will argue that I am wrong. You’ll say that you build relationships with your “followers” and that you interact in meaningful ways with your online friends. You’ll say that you only post interesting and engaging material that others want to read. You may even believe it, but that doesn’t make it so.

Now, I’m not saying that your work is less than scintillating or that you shouldn’t use social media as a promotional tool. What I am saying is: “Keep it in perspective and recognize it for what it is.” Stop fooling yourself into thinking that your vast pool or followers are eager and waiting to see what you have to offer today. They aren’t. If they were really interested in every word that proceeded from your mouth (or exits the keyboard), they would follow you directly, soaking up your words of wisdom at the source.

I have no illusions of clamoring fans lining up to read my latest published piece. I don’t expect everyone I know to take the time to read about petunias or that cute little pumpkin craft for Halloween. What I do expect is that those who seek the information I share will find me whether I post links to social media networks or not. Sure, I post a link or two just to get my work out there, but beyond that, I have more meaningful things to do with my time — like writing engaging and informative content that is sure to knock your socks off.