In today’s world, every aspiring writer needs to work with social media. Whether it be perfecting their WordPress blog, advertising their latest posts to Facebook and Twitter, or struggling to understand the complication that is Instagram Ads, (I’m still working on this one….) writers must learn how to use these platforms and they must also decide which ones can be most useful to them and their work.
In today’s post, we are going to the top five social media platforms in today’s world for writers, and list a few pros and cons of each one. Hopefully you find this to be helpful in your search to optimize your writing.
1. WordPress Sites and Blogs
I figured we might as well start with the obvious: WordPress. Clearly, I support WordPress as I am writing this post on my WordPress sponsored blog, and I know many of you also are familiar with WordPress, as you are reading this post because it popped up in your reader.
So let’s analyze a few pros of WordPress shall we? First things first, I think it is essential for any writer to have either a blog or a site of some type because they need to have a space to write, and the typical picture and one-lined caption on Instagram and Facebook is just not going to cut it. What makes WordPress blogs and sites so great is that is is very easy to use for both the reader and the blogger, and WordPress is also responsible for powersing 29% of the internet (that doesn’t sound like much, but I mean when you add Google into the mix, let’s be honest 29% is really a lot). Another few things I really enjoy about WordPress is the ability to schedule your posts to auto-publish in advance, the access to over 45,000 plugins to improve your site, and easy customization features. It is also extremely easy to build a following and to interact with other bloggers on WordPress thanks to the convenient reader and following notifications.
However, WordPress is, of course not perfect, and there are a few cons that I would like to mention. First of all, speaking from a college student’s perspective, I think WordPress could do a better job at making their plans and payment methods more diverse. While their actual costs are not the spendy (most expensive plan is $25 per month), they do no give you the option to pay month by month, and, instead, bill you yearly (this now makes the most expensive plan $300 up front). I personally would have upgraded to the Business plan on WordPress long ago if I had the option of paying month by month. But, having to pay it all at once is just too much. Another thing that I’m not a fan of on WordPress is that oftentimes the stats shown for a specific day are incorrect or show from a previous day. I have tried refreshing and that rarely works, so you do sometimes have to just get what you get. Otherwise, expect for these few issues, I have not had a problem with WordPress so far.
It kinda seems to me that Facebook has been around forever. However, I realize that I am technically a millennial and that Facebook has actually only been a thing since 2004.
Let’s discuss a few pros of Facebook really quickly. I am currently using Facebook as part of my blog promotion, because I think that informing your Facebook friends of your recent posts on WordPress is a helpful tool. I really like how WordPress and Facebook work together and I use the auto-Wordpress to Facebook post feature daily. Facebook is also a really widely used platform that is great if you want a varied audience. While younger people may be more geared towards Twitter or Instagram, the majority of them still have a Facebook and will at least check it for notifications. Another pro of Facebook is that you can create a page specifically for your blog or book so that you’re writing life does not conflict with your social life on this platform. Starting a page also makes it easier to run ads for your posts, boost them for more views, or see stats on how they were viewed.
Facebook, of course, does have its cons. As mentioned above, Facebook has lost its appeal to the younger generation, and they are definitely not as drawn to it as they are other social media platforms. Facebook also does run quite a few of its own ads, and it does allow several outside ads to show up on everyone’s news feed. This is not so with many other social media platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) because they are more topic or picture focused. Because of this, you may find that ads for your site are like white noise or that they don’t show the success rate you are hoping for. Also, if you are looking to skip the blog or site altogether and solely write on Facebook (I would not recommend this), then you should know that Facebook does have an eventual character limit and that only part of your writing will typically be seen in the excerpt.
If you’re looking for a way to grasp your audience with captivating images and short captions, then this is the way to go. Posting excellent photos, or maybe the featured image of a recent post is a great way to advertise the content you share on your blog, and you can even add in a creative, and short caption below it to introduce your post. Instagram is very user friendly, and attracts a large audience, including those in the younger generation. Ads are limited in your followers feed so if you do advertise, your followers will be more likely to see it. Instagram also has a great (and free!) bussiness account option that allows you to see the demographics of your account and of your posts.
However, Instagram does have a few more downfalls than some of the other social media options. While it is great to advertise with pictures, you cannot conveniently link to your blog post unless you constantly put it in your bio (this gets old very quickly if you post often). This social media platform also is not very easy to set up with WordPress auto-share, and actually blocks several of the outside software and share programs that try to work around the app’s security. Therefore, if you want to advertise your blog posts on Instagram, you may end up sharing each one manually (very time consuming…). If you are one of the few that plans to only write on Instagram, good luck. Most readers skip past long captions because they are not the norm, and you actually cannot post from your laptop without a jailbreak app or something similar.
Twitter has grown immensely in the last few years, with a target audience of millennial and celebrities. Believe it or not, Twitter is actually one of the more useful tools for writers, especially if they have a strong blog or website that they would like to promote. The social media platform works well with WordPress’s auto-share and it can be linked directly to your blog through the social media plugin. In addition to auto-tweeting new blog posts, Twitter is also convenient for reviving old blog posts in order to add depth to your writer’s platform. The social media platform has the capability to “revive tweets,” which allows for easy access and advertising. There are several other pros to using Twitter alongside a blog as well, such as the ability to integrate tweets into your blog posts, and to use the Twitter widget on your blog in order to display a live Twitter feed.
The downsides to using Twitter are actually very minimal. Twitter has been shown to work very well with WordPress, and that makes it a great advertisement tool. However, if you plan on not having Twitter as a side tool, and intend to make it your main page without a blog to back you up, you may not find success. Also, if you are not familiar with Twitter, you should be warned that it is not the most simple social media platform to figure out, and you should definitely spend some time learning its functions before you integrate it with your blog.
Pinterest is designed for sharing, blogging, and lists. This makes it a great tool to add alongside a blog or website, and it actually works very well with WordPress’s auto-share. If you have a following on Pinterest, auto-sharing and auto-pinning your blog posts to Pinterest and to your board can be a great way to monetize both accounts and your writing. Pinterest can also be integrated into your blog using three different plugins (with a business plan) and doesn’t seem to collide with any WordPress features.
The downside of using Pinterest is that you are limiting your audience. Statistics show that Pinterest is mostly used by women between the ages of 13 and 40, and this may not be a great way to advertise your blog if you like to write about power tools or football (of course these are both stereotypes and if you love Pinterest go for it!) Pinterest is also not a super fast way to get a following because so many people use it strictly to read and not follow or interact. So, if you are starting fresh with your account, be prepared that it will take you awhile to achieve a fan base.
***That’s it! Thanks so much for reading guys! I hope you found this post useful for your writing and blog. Also please share in the comments what social media platforms you use for writing and/or alongside your blog. I am looking to expand in this area, and I would love advice!***