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The basics of social media

The basics of social media

 

The basics of social media fluctuate around the edges. Use your real voice, be useful and go heavy on images when you can.  But if you look at the list below you’ll see some essentials that are harder to spot.

The basics of social media: Facebook

* Consider making a Fan page for your work. This means you can keep your personal separate from your professional connections. Yes, you can still promote your work from your personal page once in awhile (just don’t make a daily habit out of it).

* Put up a great pic in the header with the following specs: 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on PCs. Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file less than 100 kilobytes. If it’s more than 100k it will get pixelated!

* Share other posts and Like other pages. This will help people see your taste and influences.

* Post every blog post on Facebook as well. You can link to the post or post it in its entirety, depending on what you want to get out of the post.

* Add pictures whenever possible. Generally, people prefer images to text.

* Use Facebook Insights! This is available only to Facebook fan pages, not personal profiles. The insights will tell you what’s working and what is not.

* Contests are a wonderful way to get new followers. Use Giveaway Tools at http://giveawaytools.com/ and enable their Facebook tab feature, which will place the contest on your Facebook page.

* Post often about what’s going on, but don’t forget to ask questions, too.

 

The basics of social media: Twitter

* You get 140 characters for your bio. Use it well. Engage, amuse and throw in one or two hashtags to show what you’re all about.

* Snag a Twitter handle that resembles your brand/story. This will make it more memorable.

* Post a large-rez image for the twitter profile page. Use a great profile pic. Here are the dimensions:

Profile pic: 400 x 400 px

Cover photo: 1500 x 500 px

Twitter will continue to drive people to use their profile pages so be ready if they flick the switch and make it a primary destination!

* Be nice. You can challenge people, but be respectful too. Same rules that apply to a party, apply here.

* Pin your best tweet to the top of the profile page. Here’s how:

Go to your profile page.

Find the Tweet you’d like to pin and click the ellipsis icon (•••).

Select Pin to your profile page.

Click Pin.

* Use hashtags for your events and deals. This will help you track interest.

* Use Hootsuite! It’s a great app that lets you schedule tweets ahead of time. It also lets you follow “conversations” in their own tab. So you can follow the hashtag #infographics (for example) to see what people are saying about that subject in real time.

* Use a link shortener. These are the shortened urls that you see sometimes that “hide” the long string url. Hootsuite uses its own shortener AND it gives you access to the metrics behind that short link.

* Retweet often. You’ll find buddies this way.

* Always give credit by mentioning “via @[Twitter Name]”

* If the person who follows you shares your interests then follow back.

* Twitter is getting more visual so feel free to share images of your own and others’

 

The basics of social media: Blogging

* What do you bring to the table? Focus on posting about your interests, NOT what you think people are interested in reading. If you just focus on what other people are looking for then you’ll run out of inspiration after a week.

* Plan your posts a full month to one year ahead of time. By doing so, you remove the arduous task of deciding what to write about! Use a calendar to track your content plan.

* Be genuine. Your voice must be your own for it to stand out. People can spot fakery and casual-contrarians from a mile away.

* Post regularly! The kiss of death is silence. Yes, the pressure is on. You can do it.

* Don’t put Share buttons everywhere, just put them in one or two obvious places.

* Use your blog as a tool to grow your fanbase by offering the option to subscribe to your blog. This way people will get an email whenever you update the site. You can put the subscribe button in an obvious place. Every blogging platform offers a version of this feature.

* Every post must have a large title (H1), a smaller sub-title (H2) underneath and preferably some bullet points within the post. This is how people browse a post AND it’s how Google scans your page.

* Guest bloggers are waiting to post on your blog. Ask around. They’ll bring their fans with them, too.

* Guest post yourself. Find new fans by sharing your work with new people on other blogs.

* Pay attention to comments! Answer quickly and give it some thought so people know there’s a real person on the other end of the keyboard.

* Pictures, illustrations, animations. VISUALS! VISUALS! VISUALS!

Social media tactics: Avoid the Twitter time-suck

Social media tactics: Avoid the Twitter time-suck

My goal with this post:

To give you clear tips on how to arrange your Twitter activity. The tips will be practical and will help you manage your personal and professional sharing. Let me know how I did in the comments!

I did it. I finally did it.

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, which means, well, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about tweeting since 2007. Oh, I have a lot to say. I have a lot to share. I always spot interesting conversations. The problem for me has never been finding things to disperse. The problem has been The Twitter Time Suck.

The Twitter Time Suck is:

  1. The black hole of starting to tweet interesting material and not being able to stop.
  2. The anxiety around whether my tweets are having maximum impact, which leads to more tweeting.

I’ve spent the last several years trying to find a way to make posting take less time but be more rewarding. What do I mean by rewarding?

  • Just as every conversation I have with a person is part of the fabric of my life, I want my posts (on every platform) to reflect who I am (NO PRESSURE!)
  • I enjoy connecting with someone.
  • I like to get traffic to my site.
  • I like to sell books.

If those four points sound familiar, and you also fret about The Twitter Time Suck, then I may have some good news. I’ve found a perfectly reasonable system to keep my tweeting to 15 minutes per day.

Last year I started to manage social media for The School of Visual Arts’ MFA Visual Narrative program in NYC. It’s a fantastic low-residency Masters degree with faculty like Benjamin Marra, Joe Kelly and Edward Hemingway. Because the focus of the degree is on visual storytelling you can imagine how daunting the task of sharing information via Twitter was to me. Remember, I still had to manage my own social media efforts. Having so much to dig through easily led to brain-hurt.

So I started to try a few things to help me juggle it all. I’ll spare you the trial and error.

This is where I landed

1) Use your morning activities:

We have coffee, we shower, we brush our teeth, we read the news. Morning routines (even busy ones) are where many of us quietly review our priorities and our dreams/wishes/aspirations for the day. There’s a lot to find in that mental landscape. Be mindful of your thoughts. Don’t just think them and let them go. If the warm water on your head makes you think of something funny, say it out loud. That will help make it real and memorable. If you want to share it with the world, well, then you have your daily observational tweet!

If you come up with more than one thought, jot it down in a txt file asap. You can tweet it later using…

2)  Hootsuite. Use it.

Hootsuite allows you to queue up your tweets. This is the critical task in any effort to simplify tweeting. You can also use Hootsuite to post to Facebook and LinkedIn. Yes, I’ve used Buffer and Klout. Hootsuite is the best.

3) Set your tweet limit for the day.

My limit is six tweets. For some, that’s low. For some, that’s high. Find your limit and stick to it. But don’t worry about it if you go over or under your number. Worrying wastes time ;-) If you have an account that bridges both personal and professional, then break it down like this at first. Adjust as needed:

50% content tweets (cool articles, helpful posts, beautiful images, quotes)

25% professional tweets (book excerpts, deals, product images)

25% personal tweets (jokes, observations)

4) Tweet your best stuff again. And again.

Be sure to tweet your good stuff often. Don’t worry about it being seen by everyone every time. It won’t be. To stand out in the noise you need to put your best foot forward, and sometimes that best foot is wearing an old shoe. Yeah, my metaphors suck today, but I’m still right.

Tip: If you sign up for Twitter ads you can get incredible insights into what tweets get the most engagement.

Twitter-analytics-to-avoid-

Track this data and retweet the posts that have legs to them. Logically, you wouldn’t lean on tweets that are based on breaking news too many times. But if you make a funny observation about life, really it’ll never get old!

Sticking to these rules for my Twitter-life has cleared up my head so I can pay attention to work and family and Angry Birds Star Wars.

What do you do to maximize your time-spent:impact ratio?

What is chivalry? How writing The Camelot Kids provided the answer.

What is chivalry? How writing The Camelot Kids provided the answer.

 Chivalry is the act of defending those who cannot defend themselves.

That’s a simplification, but I’m going with it (for now), and you can’t stop me.

The same way magic is the code that holds Harry Potter’s world together, chivalry is the code, the foundation and the social dynamic of Camelot.

Now that I’ve completed Book One, I understand that something in the core of the mythology was drawing my own sense of chivalry out of me. It was injecting these complex, flawed characters with a sense of doing the right thing, no matter the cost. Sure, the complex moments of bravery, stubbornness and kindness were emerging in a mystery/action/adventure yarn. But within the mask of story was a seed of humanity that I’d never considered deeply for my protagonists before.

An orphan helps an orphan.

A bullied student helps the new kid escape a gang.

Even those who live a life rife with heartache and hard knocks emerge chivalrous. No, especially those who live a life rife with heartache and hard knocks emerge chivalrous.

But why? How? Where does this instinct to protect those around us come from? What happens inside us when we drop our own interests and risk everything for other people?

The answer became clear as I wrote the book.

The dynamic of wanting to connect with people is the same dynamic that makes us risk everything to help them. In other words, our connection to each other, simply because we’re human, has costs as well as payoffs. For our humanity, we get friendship, love and support as a “payoff”. But does that mean that heartbreak, pain and rejection are the “cost”?

No. That was my revelation as I wrote The Camelot Kids.

 

Gwen-and-Excalibur-Facebook

The cost of this human experience isn’t heartache, pain and rejection. It’s chivalry.

Being loved, supported, hated, ignored creates an astonishing power to do the right thing for anyone — friend, foe, or stranger. That human connection is so complex that something in us is willing to give our lives for it in a split second.

For me, this revelation does something profound to my sense of modern life. Don’t we live in an insulated bubble? I’ve assumed that most of us reach a certain age of reason where we construct a world with as much love as possible, and avoid the most pain. It takes a while, but it seems to me to be a standard human thing to do. To the degree that we have control over our surroundings, don’t the vast majority of us expend a tremendous amount of energy on building comfort and avoiding discomfort?

While I still think the answer to these questions is yes, it’s clear that we have a Trojan horse of bravery, duty, kindness and chivalry in us. It’s rolled into our gut at around the same time we look at another human and realize we want to keep them close forever. And it’s solidified when we meet our first enemy.

I think it’s the most exquisite insight we could have today. I think mythology that reinforces this inherent power in each of us is what we all need right now.

Taking this idea further; our disillusionment with Arthurian lore is indicative of our disconnect with our own chivalry.

Prove it!

Okay. When was the last time we felt connected to the second most famous myth of our time? We get chance after chance in the Merlin or Camelot TV shows, the recent King Arthur movie — but they don’t resonate outside a small group of fans. It’s not because the efforts suck, necessarily (though some do). It’s that they’re stale. They treat chivalry like it’s a noble thing only, and not the complex force it is.

Chivalry is Gandhi.

Chivalry is Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chivalry is Malala Yousafzai.

The heroes of Camelot don’t need to tell the same thousand year story again.

The heroes need to be among us. More importantly, they need to be chivalrous among us.

So for all my humility and fear in tackling the lauded lore, my goal with my new book, The Camelot Kids, is to give the world a peek into Camelot in our time. I want to make Camelot fun again. And I want to do it in a way that’s respectful of the tales’ whimsy, boldness and deep conviction that to do right for others is to do right for everyone, including yourself.

After all, the more in touch we are with our inner Camelot, our sense of chivalry, the better off the world will be.

Add your book to Goodreads

Add your book to Goodreads

add my book to goodreads

I’m not sure why Goodreads hides their “Add a New Book” page from us. Are they afraid of some kind of literary hack? Or an avalanche of white papers? A storm of porn? Whatever the reason, just try to search for “add my book to goodreads” and you’ll find what you’re looking for waaaaaaay down on the search results page.

All you have to do is go to this url, and you’re set:

Add my book to Goodreads

Simple post for a simple process. Made hard by Goodreads.

Good luck!

The Camelot Kids’ Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Page

The Camelot Kids’ Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Page

Twitter

 

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Facebook

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Pinterest

The Camelot Kids Part One cover by Nathan Fox

Part2-New-Camelot-Square-(U

 

Final-Cover-Medium-Size

(Please pin this image to one of your Pinterest pages)

Follow Ben Zackheim’s board The Camelot Kids on Pinterest. [divider divider_type=”dark”][/divider]

Take the quiz and share your result!

 

(Which Camelot character are you? Please share your results on Facebook)