by Katelyn S. Irons
Building a platform (people that are interested in what you say and write) is key for writers. Editors and publishers want to publish material from writers who will be read. If you can bring a following to them already, they will be more likely to publish your work. Sites like Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, and LinkedIn up your professionalism and optimize your online presence.
Even though I am just a college junior, I’ve had success with building my platform. These tips will help you build one.
Twitter is an easy way to get in contact with people. You have 140 characters to draw a reader’s attention. The building block of a good tweet is good content. Never try to make up for content with optimizer tools, i.e., hashtags. These tags are searchable links that group your tweet with every other tweet with the same hashtag. Popular writer hashtags are #AmWriting, #WriterWednesday, and #WriterTips. You might be surprised who will retweet (RT) you!
The next thing that you can do to optimize your Twitter is to send your tweets to specific people. When you write a review of a book, connect with the author by tagging them with their username (Ex: @KatelynSIrons). You will be surprised how many authors are happy to hear you engaging with their writing.
You might even see your tweets being posted by people you don’t even know!
First, put up a headshot that shows your face and upper body in a professional outfit. Follow these guidelines on the perfect headshot. Then, put up a cover photo that shows what you do. I chose an open book (The Count of Monte Cristo) to express my love of words.
The easiest way to gain likes on Facebook is to invite all your friends and families to your page. Just remember, don’t send invites to anyone more than once. That can be impolite and aggressive. Most people will like you if they want to know about your writing, not just if they like you. Don’t take it personally.
The most important social networking site to get on while in college is LinkedIn. Even after college, connect to the people you know or work with. This site allows you to link up with all of the people you know, post your resume, show off portfolio projects, and gain recommendations that reflect on your performance.
Go through your email contacts and connect with all of them. After you do this, there will be suggestions of people you know. LinkedIn has a great tutorial which will walk you through pretty much everything that you should put on your account. Once you have optimized your online resume and portfolio, you can quickly identify people who would be able to recommend you for a job you did or a project you worked on.