Social Media 101: Instagram as an author tool

Instagram LogoIs your New Year’s Resolution to use a different form of social media other than Facebook or Twitter? Instagram is one of the best social media platforms out there, and one of the most popular among 18-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds, according to Social Media Week. If those age groups are your main audience, then utilizing Instagram is an app you should seriously consider. It’s fun, easy to use, and unless you’re Justin Bieber, less likely to be spammed or “trolled” than outlets like Twitter.

For those who aren’t familiar, Instagram is an app that allows you to post photos and graphics with (or without) a caption. It’s different from sites like Facebook and Twitter because you can only post to it if you have a picture to upload.

If you’re an author, how can you use Instagram to your maximum potential?

Use those hashtags. Like Twitter, Instagram allows you to use hashtags so you can search for terms like #ThrowbackThursday with ease. Participate in trending hashtags to insert yourself into the conversation.

Show us what you’re reading. Why not show your audience what books you enjoy or are currently reading? The hashtag #bookstagram is popular, and if you have a bookshelf that’s as grand as the one in Beauty and the Beast, you can even get involved in the #bookshelfporn tag.

Give us a glimpse of your life. Your readers may love your books, but we want to know who you are, too. If there’s anything going on in your life you’d like to share, like showing off your new lightsaber while in line for the new Star Wars movie, your audience will love you the more for it.

Cats, cats, cats! Since the dawn of time, photos of pets are proven to receive the most likes, hearts, and favorites across all social media. It’s okay to upload a photo of your kitty making an angry face worthy of Grumpy Cat, or your dog trying to lick peanut butter off his nose.

Quote your own stuff. Do you have some lines in your new book that you seriously love? Post them on Instagram as a pretty graphic! You never know who will find your book quote inspirational enough to repost.

What social media platform do you find is the best to use as an author? Tweet us your thoughts @mckinneypr!

 

Social Media 101: Tips for Efficiently Using Twitter

Twitter logoTwitter is a social media website that can be used for more than just chatting with friend—it can be a marketing power tool. In our short-attention span generation, Twitter is perfect for getting your message out in small doses. With a 140 character limit, Twitter forces you to get to the point quickly, which in turn, pushes a user to be more creative in their approach.

Whether you’re a brand, author, musician, etc., Twitter is extremely valuable in sharing your vision, goals, and project samples. The following are some tips to effectively use Twitter to get the word out about your product, services, and message.

  1. Send informative and/or entertaining tweets. Unless the tweet teaches, notifies, or amuses a reader, they probably won’t be back to see what else you’re saying.
  2. Save some room for a hashtag. Twitter says: “People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword. Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end. Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.”
  3. Be current. Topics of tweets can be tied into holidays and current news. (Example: Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to express gratitude in children, etc.)
  4. Announce an important event. Tweets can be used to announce upcoming interviews, lectures, appearances, etc. Do you have a book signing coming up? Maybe a radio interview in the next few weeks? Use Twitter to let people know about your schedule.
  5. Share the wealth (or an article)! It’s a good idea to frequently repost or retweet articles, essays, tweets, etc. that fall in the topics of things you write about. This will provide a greater chance of people in your field to want to follow you on Twitter and also spreads the word much better about whatever topic/subject is being discussed. In addition, the more you retweet & repost, the better the chance that person may do the same for you.
  6. Use it as a writing tool. If you’re an author, posting short sentences from your book is a good way to tease interest from readers. If you have some really strong blurbs, those too should also be tweeted.
  7. Reach out to others. Commenting on others’ tweets is another way to build rapport with people who write about subjects in your field. This is also another way to possibly get more followers. So join in on the conversation and start meeting people!
  8. Show the love! Everyone enjoys seeing a tweet of theirs get a favorite, and people will be more than willing to reciprocate.

These are just some quick tips for effectively using the social media tool. Practice makes perfect, so be sure to apply these tips whenever you use Twitter.

Have your own tips to share? Tweet us at @McKinneyPR!

Public Relations 101: Why are bloggers important for PR outreach?

bloggers and blogging

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that there are a lot of bloggers. Google the term “book bloggers” and you’ll ping a million results. Google “book review bloggers” and you’ll ping a million more search results. Researching and sifting through blogs and their contact information is a time consuming process, but they are an important part of a PR campaign.

Why are bloggers so necessary to publicists as part of their outreach? More importantly, why are they so necessary for an an author looking to establish their brand?

They have their own fan base. Each blog has a built-in audience that comes with it, whether it is five people or five thousand. If you’re looking to have your chick lit novel reviewed, you’ll want to check out some chick lit reviewers—their fans may be your future fans, too.

They may review indie or self published authors. As an indie author, it’s difficult to get yourself reviewed in newspapers like the New York Times. Book review bloggers can give you the support you need, especially if they decide to favorably review your novel. Always respect a blog’s review policy—many clearly state that they do not review independently published titles. You will find bloggers that are open to reviewing indie authors, but you must ensure that the book is professionally edited before deciding to contact a reviewer—you don’t want to find a scathing review of your novel’s numerous spelling and grammatical errors.

They provide you with an online presence. A social media presence is one thing, but a presence on the rest of the web is just as important. Because blogging equals SEO, tagging, categories, and all that great online marketing jargon, reviews of your book online will make you a more searchable term—and people Googling your name will see that you and your book exist.

They have their own networks. More than ever, bloggers are an important tool for publishers. This summer, Book Expo America even had a networking conference for bloggers with several seminars related to the profession. Attending a blogger networking event in your area could lead to a relationship with someone who could have interest in your future career as a writer!

They’re a supportive medium. A blogger who has their own book review site is going to be someone who supports books. Why wouldn’t you want to be friendly with a crowd that loves reading just as much as you do?

Are you an author who utilizes bloggers and blog tours, and do you find those parts of your campaign successful? Tweet us your insight at @MCKINNEYPR!

Language is important: Don’t call me “stupid”!

2016 Presidential Election
Image via someecards.com

As a PR person I am trained to manipulate the English language to express what I need  to, at any given moment.  As a kid I was pushed by parents who spoke foreign languages and insisted on proper verb agreement and other basic grammatical sentence structures. Since I spend so much time glued to the words I hear, it’s very depressing to find nearly every newscaster and public speaker having trouble with “there is” and “there are”.  For all of you out there who know what I mean, thank you!  For everyone else, “there is” is to be used when speaking of a single item; “there are” is for more than one.  There is a storm brewing.  There are a lot of storms in the Midwest at this time of year.  Slurring the words together in a slack form of “there’s” is not acceptable and does not excuse anyone from knowing that “is” relates to one thing.

It has been particularly interesting to watch the Presidential races of the past decade.  First Obama’s team put together a brilliant campaign aimed at those people who are heard less in this country.  Many of them are on the internet, and between using social media well, and papering low-income neighborhoods, Obama was able to win the election…twice.

2016 is shaping up to be a different animal altogether.  This is the age of referring to the words of co-candidates as “stupid” and telling your constituents to “sit down and shut up”.  If I thought our problems rested in the way we put together sentences, I was so wrong.  We seem to have fallen into a schoolyard, junior-high world where sounding like you just came out of the local pub on the corner and you are yelling at a guy who ran the stop sign, is the way to express yourself.

Who cares if your suit costs $5000? If you comb your hair or even take a shower?  Gee whiz, how debasing it is to watch potential world leaders practically pull out “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, naaahhhh” (again, schoolyard).

And even funnier is to hear them actually put each other down.  A newscaster recently pointed out that “sit down and shut up” didn’t think  “stupid” has the proper “temperament” for the presidency.  Meanwhile another candidate from the other party decided to go all out and label a domestic terrorist a religious zealot commonly found in occupied territories in the Middle East.

Have these public figures spent too much time on Instagram and Snapchat?  Or have they made too many appearances on late night television? I’m not sure what’s happening, but it is sad to watch “stupid”, “sit down and shut up” and “religious zealot” standing at their podiums trying to tell us that they are going to take the country in a direction that will provide for the common welfare and keep us safe.  I mean, really, it isn’t proper for us to be pointing and laughing behind our hands when our national leaders are trying to be serious.