The number of people riding the technological tide of social media is growing every day. Remember when push-button phones, electric typewriters, even floppy disks were the next big thing? Nowadays cell phones have practically replaced landlines, and more and more people communicate by posting, tweeting, pinning, and texting.
While tech-savvy youngsters undeniably play a big part in this communication revolution, you may be surprised by how many of the people tweeting and posting updates are sporting more than a little gray hair. According to a recent Pew Research Center Study, 60% of Internet users age 50+ use social networking sites!
Still think you’re too “grown up” for Facebook? The truth is, Facebook is currently most popular with users over the age of 50; and participation by adults 65 and older has more than tripled since 2009. Convinced you’ll never get the hang of Twitter? Well, the fastest growing demographic for Twitter is adults 55 to 64 years old.
What does all this mean to a mature writer? Simply this: Editors, agents, and readers of all ages are turning to the Internet and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest to learn more about authors they’re interested in. If you have no digital footprint—that is, no social media presence—potential visitors will pass you by and move on to writers that do.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to get started with social media, and there’s never been a better time than right now! While the idea of diving right in may make you nervous, don’t worry—here are some hints that are sure to help as you test the social media waters.
Social Media Pointers For The 55 And Up Crowd
Watch and learn from others. Ask a friend or family member who’s already using the social media network you’re interested in to show you how it’s done. Your eagerness to learn can provide an opportunity to bond with your children or grandchildren!
You can also look into social media workshops: For example, AARP hosts TEK workshops in several major cities, and offers social media pointers on its website as well. In addition to searching for information online, you may find classes you can attend at your local library, community college, or continuing education center.
And don’t forget that trusty standby: a how-to book! You’ll be grateful for the tips and shortcuts found in Pinterest for Dummies (and other how-to books in this well-known series).
Start with people you know. Connect with family and friends first while you’re learning the ins and outs of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and such. Then, as you grow more confident in your ability to successfully interact on social media, reach out to organizations and individuals you admire—especially other writers. You’ll be friending, following, and networking like a pro sooner than you think!
Focus on sharing relevant news and photos. Once you’re in the swim of things, remember to use smart social media etiquette (Yes, there actually is a code of conduct!). Don’t inundate your followers with repeated sales pitches or embarrassing family pictures. Instead, use social media to offer news about your latest publication credit, a quote that offers writing inspiration, or perhaps a photo of your book’s new cover. You want people to enjoy and look forward to your updates.
Have fun! This is the most important aspect of trying anything new. Using social media to update or keep up with the latest news—whether it’s with family, friends, readers, or publishing industry insiders—should be an easy and fun experience.
Just follow these hints, take your time, and go at your own pace. Remember, you’re never too old to learn something new, or to make a big splash with social media!
Still not sure about taking the plunge? If you’re concerned about all the time and effort that’s required to have a well-run Facebook Author Page, our professional Social Media Team is ready to help! Writer’s Relief has a Facebook Virtual Assistant Program that will create, maintain, and update your Facebook Author Page for you. You can save your free time for writing—we’ll make sure your Author Page is current, exciting, and engaging!
QUESTION: Have you tried any social media? What other tips can you offer our readers?