5 Simple But Smart Strategies to Fully Utilize Social Media as a Writer
My 5 strategies for 5 platforms you can copy
I know you are just as tired as I am. Tired of all these articles about how to make it on some social media site as a writer. I’ve been through all of it.
For me, there are two problems with these articles: First, they are way too comprehensive. I know the basics of social media. They literally apply everywhere. You don’t need to explain to me what a hashtag is or what the algorithm does.
Second, these articles convey a false image: You will find the presented platform to be an absolute gamechanger — but actually, this is mostly not the case.
This is not the fault of the writers. It’s the fault of our cognition.
We often fall victim to the shiny-object syndrome when only presented with one option. In case you never heard of it, trust me, you experienced it before. The shiny-object syndrome can be defined as the following:
It’s called shiny object syndrome because it’s the entrepreneurial equivalent of a small child chasing after shiny objects. Once they get there and see what the object is, they immediately lose interest and start chasing the next thing.
Both problems combined lead to us writers wasting too much time on strategies for single social media platforms. The truth is hard: You will never achieve with Pinterest what you can achieve with Twitter — and vice versa.
Different social media platforms have different strengths.
Therefore, I took a while for every platform to analyze how I, as a writer, could use it the best.
Here are the 5 strategies for 5 different social media platforms I plan on using, quick and dirty. Let’s go.
Tim Denning is right — most writers are using Twitter completely wrong.
All my writing friends use Twitter to promote their content. There’s just one problem with that: they link to the article directly in the tweet, like so:
Yeah, the preview of your content looks great, but there is a problem with it. The problem is a not-so-secret secret: Twitter has no interest in its users leaving the site.
When you post links, your goal is to bring users to another page. For Twitter, that means less revenue.
To make sure they don’t lose so many users, Twitter uses a nasty trick: they limit the reach of tweets with links. If you’re upset about them now, don’t worry, it’s not the only social media site that does this.
Ask someone who knows about LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook.
It’s the same everywhere.
External links are never a sustainable way for growth.
To confirm the assumption, I experimented.
I compared all my tweets without hashtags & without an external link with my tweets that also do not contain hashtags but an external link.
The result shocked me: The tweets with an external link have, on average, two-thirds less reach.
Stop posting that many links on Twitter. The platform is not made for it, and there is a way to do better.
Twitter is for short ideas, opinions, and updates. You can attach several statements in a Twitter thread and post short versions of your content. If it gains reach through retweets and shares, you can later add an external link to the end.
The benefit of it: You can test your content ideas and gain reach at the same time. Quick but useful information — that’s why people are opening up their Twitter.
Since Tim Denning inspired me to try this strategy, you can find what he wrote about it here.
Yes, converting your content to short-form for Twitter is a lot of work. But even if you just want to share your existing work, I think you can do better.
If you want to draw attention to your latest piece, link to it in your bio.
In a tweet, you can then say, “New post, link in my bio.”, or use a teaser like an image, the headline, or the first sentences.
Since you don’t use an external link in your tweet, this shouldn’t limit your reach.
Even if this way is more cumbersome for your readers, it’s worth a quick try. In my experience, it will lead to fewer views but more views from people who really have an interest in my pieces.
Conclusion: Twitter can help you to test ideas & keep your fans up to date. It is not for promoting your content directly.
Additional tip: Keep an eye on your Twitter analytics. Sometimes, you might be able to find the best time to post. Thanks to the option for scheduling a tweet for later, you can take advantage of it.
Many writers like
How they did it? It’s simple: they answered lots and lots of questions, built up followers, and turned those followers into readers.
I’ll break it down if you don’t know Quora yet.
The platform is all about asking and answering questions. Everybody can do both of them. Quora doesn’t have a general topic. Therefore, you can write content on any topic there.
Good answers get shown to thousands of people through the algorithm.
My content received 2.2 Million views summed up. So yeah, Quora is a place where you can be showered with reach.
Reach is great — but without converting it to readers on your platform of choice, it is worth nothing.
There are two ways to convert Quora fans into readers:
First, you can add more general external links to your answer that get a lot of views. For example, a link like “I write more on xyz.com” (Niklas Göke does this sometimes).
Alternatively, you can add an external link to your answer, the direct links to a blog post you have written — obviously, relevant to your answer.
I remember Neil Patel doing this quite often — for example, he wrote a good answer about SEO and linked to the full blog post, relevant to it at the bottom.
Both are legitimate options, but you should watch out.
Quora doesn’t like it when you self-promote in answers.
What you write on Quora should be good, helpful, and interesting, even without a link to your blog. It’s not a place to tease, but to answer questions fully (which might be the reason why Neil Patel got banned so often).
But apart from linking to your content, there is another option for gaining readers from Quora. Trust me, this option won’t ever get you banned but is a little bit more cumbersome.
Quora offers a feature called Spaces.
A Space is like a small blog on the platform. You can create questions, post answers, write a biography and publish entire posts there. In your Space, you can easily post links to your content.
Gaining followers for your Space is not that difficult: if you post content like questions and answers regularly, it will grow automatically. My favorite feature is that you can invite your profile followers to follow your space.
The son of Quora himself, Sean Kernan, uses this strategy too. He owns a space called Sean Kernan’s Blog, where he posts his Tweets & Medium articles, sometimes.
Conclusion: With Quora, you can build up many fans and get them as permanent readers. At the same time, you can gain a ton of sudden traffic for your content.
Additional tip: Use fitting images at the top of your answer. Images get you more views, and it’s an option to field-test your cover image.
Pinterest is totally underrated.
In fact, it is one of the most relevant search engines and can help you get organic traffic.
Why? Because external links are not a sin on Pinterest.
Rather the opposite: external links are what makes Pinterest Pinterest.
Pinterest is like Google for its users. You don’t open up google.com to stay there — your goal is another website you find through Google. Pinterest works the same way.
People look for tutorials, inspiration & cooking recipes. They are fully aware of having to leave Pinterest to get what they are looking for. Pinterest’s users are literally searching for what content creators are offering.
It gets even better, though.
Pinterest’s users are predominantly female. However, the homogeneous user group has a great advantage: There are clearly topics that work well on the platform and topics that don’t work well.
Don’t try to turn all your content into pins — you’ll waste your time.
Topics that work well on Pinterest are the following: Wellness, Self-care, Love, Spirituality, Motivation & Food (My mom uses Pinterest literally as her cookbook).
But if Pinterest is so great for writers, why don’t all writers use it?
The answer is simple: Writers produce text. Pinterest is a platform for images. In contrast to Twitter or LinkedIn, you can only post images on Pinterest.
That’s the problem.
Your smartphone camera isn’t the solution to create image-based content. Instead, you need a tool for it. Thank god, Canva, for example, is a free and easy-to-use app for creating beautiful infographics, slideshows, and text cards.
Conclusion: Pinterest can bring you permanently organic traffic for the content of certain topics.
Additional tip(s): Pinterest experts swear by using warm colors and pastel colors for images. It captures the nice and relaxed vibe of the platform best. Also, like on Twitter, you can schedule posts — make sure to try out the best times for pinning and pin regularly.
Everyone should be familiar with Instagram — it’s one of the most popular social networks. In the app, one thing stands out: There are only two types of Instagram pages: Personal Instagram pages and the so-called theme pages.
Chances are you have a personal Instagram page (after all, Instagram is so popular). On this page, you post selfies, your food and repost content from pages you follow.
On the other hand, theme pages have a specific topic, and the person behind them is not in the foreground. Meme pages, for example, can be seen as theme pages — other examples are all these pages about food, beauty, and fitness.
I think you get the point.
But why does this matter for you? Well, because as a writer, you could use both types of Instagram pages. So let’s take a look at an example.
Zulie Rane uses Instagram to build her personal brand. On half of her posts is personal stuff. The other half is content, relevant to other content creators, with her face on it. Overall, her page is more a personal one which has some advantages but also disadvantages:
- Pro: You look much more serious as a visible personality. After all, your face stands for what you say.
- Pro: You already have a small audience, like your friends or grandma, who are already following you. This can help you grow further.
- Con: You can’t keep private what you are doing.
- Con: A personal page is not found as well as a general page.
It could be so simple, after all. But Instagram has the same problem as Pinterest — the platform only takes images as posts. No chance for the plain, written word to get seen. Canva is an option here again.
Especially theme pages need a lot of well-crafted content to post. Selfies aren’t an option there, so make sure you know how to design visual info content.
Additional tip: Instagram seems to promote Reels (short clips, like on TikTok) very much at the moment. This form of content might give you some bonus views.
If you want to survive on this platform, you need strong nerves.
By that, I mean you’ll have to put up with a lot of cringe stuff. It’s best not to go into your feed at all — remember, you’re a producer, not a consumer.
Thematically there are also a few restrictions.
It’s all about motivation, hustle, and made-up job titles.
Okay, jokes aside.
On LinkedIn, many make the same mistake as on Twitter — they just bluntly post their external links. Suprise — the limit of reach also applies to LinkedIn.
To make it short and sweet: 90% of your content has no place on LinkedIn.
It’s about what you do as a writer, not what you write as a writer.
LinkedIn is all about entrepreneurship, careers, and jobs. So if you write on those topics, you can promote your content there. However, your articles about your diet, sexual experiences, or morning routine have no place there.
As a writer, you might be interested in connecting with fellow writers. These fellow writers might be interested in expanding their knowledge. This is where all the write-about-writing stuff comes from — and LinkedIn might be a great place for it. (In case your contacts are mostly writers)
On the platform, people are looking for writers to write for them. So it’s best to position yourself on LinkedIn specifically as a writer, not just as a content creator.
I received my first offer to rewrite an existing blog just after signing up.
Apart from these opportunities, you can also use LinkedIn as a less diverse version of Twitter. Tim Denning uses this. He has an insane amount of postings on LinkedIn, with the mission to inspire. Even though it’s LinkedIn, not Twitter, it seems to work out for him — his profile has an insane amount of 286,000 followers. His short posts receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of reactions.
LinkedIn is a place for positioning yourself as a professional. To sum it up quickly, as a writer, you can be positioned as an expert. The other option is to appear as an expert in the niche you write about.
20 year old writer from Germany - Tech, Finance, Philosophy & Psychology