Friday, February 17, 2012

Great Social Media Sites For Author Platform

I remember when I joined Twitter. I'd already taken the plunge with blogging, and I enjoyed the interaction on Facebook, but here was a new, hot, social media site and I reluctantly decided to at least check it out. For months, I barely used it because I really didn't understand it. But then something clicked, and Twitter quickly became a favorite site.

Group Hug
Photo by carbonnyc

Shortly after, I kept hearing about Goodreads, so I signed up, telling myself if it became too time consuming or if I just didn't like it, I could quit. Goodreads made sense to me from day one, but I use it less for networking and more as a reader to keep track of the books I've read.

Enter Google+. This site was different from the start because you needed an invitation to join. I kept wanting to try it but couldn't since no one had invited me. Lucky for me one of my local writer friends did have an account and she promptly sent me an invitation. Did I see what all the buzz about Google+ was? Not really. It seemed a mix between Twitter and Facebook to me, but I figured I'd give it a try.

The latest craze to hit social media is Pinterest. I joined a few months ago--again, I needed an invitation to join--and wondered how it would differ from the other sites I already frequented. Pinterest proved unique. It's basically a place to keep virtual bulletin boards. The only things we're sharing there are pictures (or "pins"), boards, and the occasional comment on a pin.

I often get asked which social media sites provide the best bang for an aspiring author trying to build a platform. We all are crunched for time, and we don't want to spend a drop of it on a social media site that we don't "get" or that proves ineffective at getting our name out there.

Personally, I still think Facebook is a great place for authors. If you understand Twitter and are willing to check in once or twice a day, do that too. And there's no question if you are published, you need a Goodreads account right away. But if you're on the fence about Pinterest or Google+, here's my take on them.

Google+ has a more uppity feel to it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's full of snobs! It simply doesn't have the comfort level Facebook does. Maybe it should encourage conversations, but for some reason, it doesn't. It feels more intimidating, less "friend"ly, if you know what I mean. And Google+ lacks the punchy feel of Twitter. I like Google+ enough to stay on it, but I'm not raving about it to my friends.

Pinterest, on the other hand, is perfect for writers. We can create inspiration boards for our current projects, hobby boards to appeal to fellow hobbyists, and any other type of board we feel like. Since Pinterest can be linked through our Facebook or Twitter accounts, it makes it easy to connect with contacts we already know on other sites. I haven't connected my Pinterest account to either, but I always follow back when someone follows me.

What I like the most about Pinterest is how non-threatening it is. We don't have to think up something witty to say. We don't have to worry about linking our blog to it. We can just pick pretty pictures out and put them on one of our boards. And other people get a good idea of what we're all about when they view our boards. Since so much of author platform is getting our name out in a variety of places, this is a great way to get our name out without much trauma.

If you'd like to see my boards, head to http://pinterest.com/jillkemerer/. If you haven't joined Pinterest and would like an invitation, put your e-mail into the comments section, and I'll invite you!

What social media sites do you like best?

Have a fabulous weekend!

36 comments:

  1. I'm still thinking about it. I think it would be fun to create collages of settings or characters. Or even my dream kitchen. :) But it looks like you can just click on the Join Pinterest today. Do you still need an invite?

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  2. Now that I can actually pin more stuff, I'm enjoying it! I couldn't believe how fast people follow and re-pin your stuff and my thoughts on that were, "Why are they re-pinning that? I know why I pinned it...why did they?" LOL I find people fascinating and what they pin only intrigues me more,especially when it's a re-pin of Cheryl Ladd from my board! Glad you're pinning!

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  3. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Love Pinterest & the rest you mentioned. Signed on & then off Google+ w/in about 2 weeks. Had little to no appeal.

    Great rundown!
    ~ Wendy

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  4. Laura: Oh, good! I'm glad you can just get on Pinterest now. I never understood the "invitation" thing with these sites!

    Jessica: Same here. It's fun finding pins and seeing which pins of mine people repin! Pinterest is fun! Thanks for getting me on!

    Wendy: Yep! Pinterest--I get the appeal; Google+--not so much!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  5. I just joined Pinterest this week & felt as you did. I was more reluctant to join than other social media sites b/c I don't craft, decorate, or cook much & my friends who love it said it's a time sucker. Time sucking websites are my worst enemy. When someone said it was good for writers & decided to plunge it without really understanding it.

    While it did suck a bunch of my time :), it is nice to do a social media without much writing & it's great for inspiration boards. That was my huge discovery. I've been pinning photos and pictures that I can see helping me set scenes or imagine characters like mad.

    Thanks for the post! I always enjoy them.

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  6. I just started last night. I like it. I can see why it would be addicting! I'm still trying to figure out how I want to use it!

    I'm so with you on Google+. I'm just not feeling it. And if I'm 100% honest, I get on there maybe once every other month.

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  7. Yours is the fifth blog in 10 days I've read about Pinterest. I've been reluctant simply because of the lack of time to devote to it. But after your post, I believe I need to give it a whirl. Could you send me an invitation? Time to take the plunge, me thinks. dpyle@artesianministries.org. Blessings!

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  8. I think FB and Twitter are "givens" for writers, but limiting our time is key. I'd heard the disatisfaction with Google+--I don't use it. Pinterest? I'm still weighing it and on the fence about it. Jenny B. Jones recently had a thought-provoking post on the subject.

    Thanks for the insight, Jill! I like hearing your thoughts. (You're one of the best "go to" social media gurus around! :) I so appreciate your helpful nature and your sharing spirit.)

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  9. It took me a long time to give in to Twitter, too! :) I still prefer Facebook, but I've found a way to make both work. (Buffer App saved me - Michael Hyatt always recommends it on his blog and I've found it's the easiest way for me to keep track of FB/Twitter.)

    I've got about a dozen invites to Google+ in my Inbox, but I just can't make myself do it. Pinterest sounds like a blast, but I'm worried about becoming addicted. The "I like pretty things" side of me, though, pines for it. We'll see if I give in.

    Oh, I read the same post from Jenny B. Jones which Cynthia mentioned above. Loved it!

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  10. I think the best social media sites for writers are the ones they actually enjoy using. If we don't actually enjoy the way they let us communicate, we probably won't stick with them. I also use pinterest to organize research and inspiration photos for my novels. Fun stuff!

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  11. I'm thinking about joining Pinterest. It's just so hard to keep up with all of them. Right now my biggest issue is Goodreads and trying to figure out how to use it effectively.

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  12. I'm on all the sites you mentioned, Jill, except for Pinterest. I have an invitation in my inbox but have held off because I don't really "get" it. Since you're a knowledgeable friend who does a great job at explaining things and won't laugh at me for asking a basic question, here's mine:
    How does one go about getting the images they pin without violating copyrights? The obedient, rule-following oldest sibling in me feels a need to understand this before joining.

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  13. Yes! I love pinterest for that exact reason - it is such a great place to organize my visual inspiration for what I'm writing about. Of course all the other pin boards about food, and crafts, and beautiful homes, etc. are fun - but what made me fall in love with the site was how I could pin all the pictures I want for my novel in one place. It's brilliant!

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  14. I like Twitter. Facebook is more for family and friends I know. Also a lot of my colleagues are on FB. Tried Google+ but none of my friends or contacts were on it. I spend enough time talking to myself, I don't need to do it virtually. Io love Pinterest, a happy little time waster, but also chock full of inspiration and creative ideas.

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  15. I haven't joined Pinterest yet. I have an invite hanging there from my friend at work. It does look fun. I think she gets tons of great recipes. I may just have to try it. Love your boards.

    Still love Twitter and Facebook the most.

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  16. Hi Jill! Thanks for connecting via Twitter. It's ironic that that's what you're discussing today. :P

    I'm only on Facebook and Twitter, but I'm not published yet, so I figure that's good enough for now. I started a Facebook Writer page recently, and have a few "likes" not from friends, so that's encouraging. I really only tweet about 2-3 times per day, and some of those are retweets. I work full time so this isn't a huge priority for me. But I get about one follow a day, so I'm steadily building. And I'm OK with that. Oh, and I blog too.

    Haven't tried Pinterest for fear that my already-full schedule will get even fuller. I've heard of its addictive capabilities! I think I'd like to get on Goodreads just to keep track of what I'm reading...maybe I will soon.

    Thanks for the tips! Man, I was wordy today.

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  17. I love Facebook and Twitter, am a member of Google+ but don't really use it much. I also like LinkedIn, but don't use it as much as I should. I will definitely check out Pinterest. Thanks for the info.

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  18. Hi Jill, I just saw this link on Twitter and wanted to check it out. I've been seeing Pinterest frequently lately and had no idea what is was. I'm glad I followed my hunch and clicked on your link. lol

    I'm currently 'on the waiting list'. I'll have to check it out, but since I'm not a big photographer, I wonder how much use of it I'd have.

    As for the others, I actually lke G+ more than Facebook, but since all of my family and friends aren't on it, I don't necessarily use it more. I prefer being able to follow anyone I want without their consent or the need to send pesky requests. And I adore their circles much more than FB's annoying lists.

    But like a previous commenter said, the best social media is the one you'll actually use.
    Thanks again for the great post! :)

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  19. I agree with absolutely everything you said.

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  20. Hi Jill .. I'm not sure if anyone else has said this .. but by putting a link to your Pinterest site - I had a quick look and can see the marketing value in that ...

    I don't really do social media - not being published or (for now) in that market place, but I love learning about them ..

    Cheers - have a great weekend .. Hilary

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  21. Larissa: We sound a lot alike! I actually don't find Pinterest to be very time consuming. I guess it depends on the individual!

    Katie: Pinterest, for me, is like everything else. Sometimes I'm in the mood and spend time there, other times it's just a quickie. :)

    Donna: Pinterest is really low key. If you want to create a board and put one pin on it, no one is complaining! We don't have to spend hours there if we don't want. I really like it! You'll be getting an invite!

    Cynthia: Oh, I love Jenny B. Jones! I'll check out her post later. Since I know you like crafts/cooking, I think you'd really like Pinterest. It's just a nice, easy way to share interests. :)

    Melissa: You might find it addicting at first, but I didn't. It's more relaxing than anything for me!

    Julie: Great point. Pinterest offers the user a valuable tool--not just as a way to connect with others. I love that it serves a function.

    Stacy: I think it's smart to do one thing at a time. If the thought of Pinterest stresses you out, don't do it! :)

    Keli: That's a GREAT question, and one I worried about too. When I read through Pinterest, I found there's a "Pin It" button you can add to your favorites bar. If you find an image, you can Pin It to your boards. Pinterest automatically links back to the original site. That being said, I am careful to pin things I know won't get me in trouble--my own photos, photos already pinned by someone else on Pinterest, or photos I find through Flickr's Creative Commons (I include a credit in my comments). As with any picture we use, it IS up to us to not use copyrighted material. Many magazines have their own Pinterest boards now, too, so they are a great source of finding pins. Hope that helps!

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  22. Heidi: You summed it up perfectly--yes!!

    CJ: You're the perfect Pinterest person. You can share pictures of all your art projects! Love it!

    Loree: I haven't found recipes...must look them up!

    Lindsay: You too! You have a great approach. It's ridiculous to stress out about all these sites. I add them as I feel like it, and I devote less time to ones I don't care for. It works for me!

    Lynda: I'm on LinkedIn but rarely go there! Still, I get regular join my network requests, so I'm not complaining!

    Jennifer: Well, I'm so glad you DID stop by! Thanks! You don't have to be a photographer to use Pinterest. You can "repin" pictures others have already put up. You'd be amazed at the diversity--it's like a smorgasboard!

    Heather: Ha! Thank you. ;)

    Hilary: Cheers to you, too! You might like Pinterest just for the fun value. I use Goodreads more for my own personal use. Pinterest can be the same way. That's why they're so nice!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  23. I hear Pinterest is very addicting! I didn't like Google+ at first, but it's growing on me. :)

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  24. Great post, Jill! And I was especially interested to hear your take on Google+ and Pinterest since I haven't jumped into them yet. Pinterest looks like a lot of fun...I'm just not quite ready to take the plunge. I'm sure I'll be convinced soon though. ;)

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  25. Pinterest looks like fun! Oh, yes, please invite me, Jill - thanks!

    ko221b(at)verizon(dot)net

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  26. Elizabeth: I check in on Google+ every weekday but don't post much; if I put more effort into it, I probably would like it more. :) You always share great links on it, and I appreciate that!

    Sarah: I have a feeling you will love Pinterest! Try it!

    Kathy: Woo-hoo! Another convert! I'll get right on it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  27. Good info here, Jill. Thanks for sharing your opinions. I'm so bad at this social media thing and I know one day it's going to be important that I get on board :)

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  28. You know how the Twitter thing went for me, but I'll definitely have to check out Pinterest. I'm hearing nothing but great things about it. Thanks for reinforcing that with your own thoughts. :)

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  29. Great Post today, Jill.

    I'm with you on Pintrest, I'd heard about it before, but your post made me want to join, and I just joined today, so thanks for recommending it. Here's my page if anyone's interested-

    http://pinterest.com/taury

    I got a bit too into it, and didn't get as much offline writing done today, but like you said, it's not an intimidating or cumbersome site to use, and linking it to Facebook and Twitter is a nice touch for those who

    I get what you mean about Facebook vs. Google+. I find Google+ easier to use, and I personally didn't find it to be stuffy, but maybe I just lucked out in that respect.

    I also find Twitter a bit frustrating/overwhelming. The fact that you're limited to a strict number of words is already enough to estrange me, but it's like learning a new web language, but I think I'll use it more once I've played with it a little more.

    I like Goodreads for keeping track of books I've read/need to finish reading/etc. But I love how Shelfari displays my virtual bookshelf better. I'll just use both for different things.

    Take Care,
    Taurean

    P.S. You've been Tagged! (Not the B&N kind)-

    http://www.talkinganimaladdicts.com/2012/02/okay-im-tagging-myself.html

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  30. I like facebook,linedin, goodreads, twitter and blogging. I tried google+ but don't really care for it. When facebook allowed me to put people in "circles" it gave me the only thing I liked about google+. I haven't tried pinterest. I think my social media list is full?

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  31. Sharon, I seriously find Pinterest FAR more easier than Twitter, and it's not as hard to navigate as Facebook, which I find clunky in places, even though I love the concept and overall feature set, but I wish they'd just streamline the layout more so it's not so overly mosaic.

    At least in Google+ I don't have to navigate 8 1/2 menus just to make something public or not.

    At first, I thought people were just being melodramatic about that.

    But they're right, and if Facebook wants to get even bigger (I suspect they do) they need to remember their original mantra of simplifying sophistication and STREAMLINE the layout.

    I honestly think more writers will be less intimidated to use Facebook if they just simplify the layout, while still continuing to evolve the features and customization.

    It may not help quell the stigma with privacy and whatnot, but at least no one can witch about it being a convoluted nightmare....

    Anyway, you'll find Pinterest WAY easier to use and customize, it's essentially a bulletin board like we had in school, just online, and less kitschy.

    I love blogging, but Pintrest takes less of my time, and I can easily do it, and have fun with it, at least once a week, and I spent most of yesterday afternoon enthralled with it.

    Taurean

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  32. I love Twitter and FB - I'm still trying to get into G+ and Pinterest, although I'm on both. We'll see how those go!

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  33. Facebook! Twitter annoys me for some unknown reason. I'll go on occasionally, but it hasn't "clicked" for me yet.

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  34. Cindy: You would love Pinterest. I'm sure of it! It's so easy!

    Ayda: If you like pretty pictures, you'll love Pinterest!

    Taurean: Yay! You tried it! I'll go follow you in a minute. I agree with you on the technical aspects of the sites--Google+ is easy to use for the most part!

    Talli: You rock Facebook, woman! I think you'll like Pinterest. :)

    Susan: Yes, I like FB a lot too. It's a great hangout!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  35. I'm on Facebook and Twitter, but lately I've been so busy with edits that I haven't been on either. The book is finally gone to my editor so I need to get back in the groove. I've never heard of Pinterest. Thanks for the heads up on these sites. I need to get busy visiting friends I've missed.

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  36. Hi Jill!

    This is the first time I've heard of Pinterest, would you mind sending me an invite to join please? My email is natcrabb@gmail.com

    Thanks so much! Natalie

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