Sep 28, 2015

Online presence isn't about being everywhere. It's about making a mark.

Blogging is not just about what you write and talk in your blog. It's certainly not just about yourself. When you blog, you create a presence for yourself, you build a platform and you acquire an audience. But to do all of this, you also need a voice apart from your blog, a presence online, which invites readers and fans to your corner of the internet eventually. This presence plays a huge part in your blogging success, and here's some tidbits and secrets ( well, not exactly:)) that I've learned regarding making your mark online!

Before I start discussing, let me clear this. I am only going to tackle twitter and your presence as a blogger/reader/commenter. I have no idea about facebook, and I am an amateur pinner, so I can't be of help in that areas!:)

1. Learn to accept the fact that you can't be everywhere and be online all the time.

This is where all the stressing starts. When I was a newbie, I wanted to peek my nose into everything, I want to be in the middle of ALL THE THINGS and wanted to know every single happening that's being discussed currently in the blogosphere.

Let me tell you something. It's no use stressing about it! No matter how much time you spend online, you're always going to miss something. Missed a twitter chat? There will be another one! Missed a drama? Be thankful! You log on to twitter and find everyone talking about something and you're lost? Don't worry at all! Stay away and in a few days, there'll be some post about it for sure! 

Like I said in the title, ONLINE PRESENCE IS NOT ABOUT BEING EVERYWHERE. It's all about leaving an impact. Making people notice YOU! 

2. Timing is always important.

It is certainly the key. For example, even a really interesting thought you tweeted when you're up and everyone's sleeping can get ignored while a random tweet of yours which you put up at the busiest time of twitter gets so much replies! It's insane, but that's how twitter works. 

You have to understand the correct time to say things. This also goes to blog posts. Know your best time, and your best day and make your thoughts and words go live in the correct time.

But how do I know it?

Good question. Let me answer that!

To know your best time, you have to know your feed. And your audience. Research says that 12 pm to 6 pm EST is the right time to tweet while 5 pm is the peak. But if you ask me, it all depends on the people you follow and who follows you.

All you have to do is observe

Trust me, it's not at all easy. I observed for months before finding a pattern. Nowadays, I know exactly when most of my friends come online and when I should be online. I know my twitter feed and my followers like the back of my hand, and no I am not exaggerating. My knowledge here is actually a bit creepy and stalkerish. If I follow you in twitter, I most probably know roughly the time you are often online.

This helps me in deciding when to be online and when not to bother at all. I know what time I should schedule my posts and what time I should log on to twitter.

3. Master the art of timezones.

Timezones are frustrating. But they're also something you can master. Know what your time translates into EST and GMT. For example I go by the IST (Indian Standard Time). I am ahead of the US peeps by about half a day and behind Australia by 5 hours. This limits my ability to be online when everyone is, but at the same time, after I understood the right time translations, it became easy. And with a few sacrifices and change in routines, I managed to achieve the best out of timezones.

For example, my feed's traffic will be really high when it is early morning to me. Since I board the bus at 6 am to go to school , and I study in a stupid all girls' convent where phones are prohibited (gasp!) I have no way of being online then. But I being the dedicated blogger I am, wake up at 4.30 in the morning, spend exactly one hour online, then go get ready for school! That gives me time to do a lot of things, and make up for the fact that I won't be back online until I come back from school, 3 in the afternoon.

4. Be nice.

This actually should go without saying, but please, please, be nice to everyone and anyone who tweets to you. When I was a newbie - and who am I kidding, even now - when I tweeted to bloggers I admire or was in awe with, and they didn't respond or didn't even show any sign that they noticed my tweet, it hurts! It sucks so much.

This is why I take the time to reply to every single tweet that is directed to me. I know it's hard. Your notifications might be messy and flooded, twitter might be playing games with you hiding your notifications *glares at twitter* or you really don't have time to respond to every tweet. 

But also remember this. A single favourite or reply from your favourite author or blogger will make a fan's day! For a moment put yourself in their shoes and think. The moment I started to think that way, I started to make sure to respond to all my notifications. It's just a small thing that I can do, I guess.

5. Schedule

In case you didn't know already, you can actually schedule tweets in twitter just like you can schedule posts in your blog. I learned this really really late :D Apps like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are a great help in this department. I myself use Hootsuite, as I didn't get the hang of Tweet deck!

Also, keep #2 in mind when you schedule. Your timing is going to play a huge role in the response to your tweets and blog posts.

6. Follow the right people.

Keep your feed clean and organized. Follow the tweeters who are informative, fun, nice and friendly. Follow publishers, and handles like Epic Read and Fierce Reads. This will keep you updated with news and announcements regarding book releases and announcements. Follow the right set of bloggers who you actually think you connect with.

Do a bit of spring cleaning often both in your bloglovin and twitter feed. There's no point in a cluttered and messy feed which will make you miss the most exciting and interesting things. The more control you have over your feed, the more benefit you'll get from it.

7. Engage.

Strike up convos. A single " what are you reading" question can spark off a lot of responses and conversations. Go reply to tweets. Start up a conversation with other tweeters! Participate in twitter chats! They will definitely broaden your circle. Join in Nori's #RQWN, Penguin Australia's super informative PTA Chat, get introduced to newbie authors in #FAC16 etc. 

8. Be personal but safe.

There's a thin line between both of them, and you have to be careful there. Being personal is super important in developing a healthy relationship with your readers. When your friends and readers get to know the person behind the screen, they connect to you more. So make sure to include random tid bits about yourself, bookish or non bookish. Trust me, things get noticed. I am sure by now, half of my feed knows that I have an undying love Victoria Schwab and villains. 

But at the same time, it's very very important to be safe. I never knew how much exposed I am with my twitter profile, until I stupidly shared my skype address publicly in twitter while in a convo. The next moment I started getting request after request in skype, people I never know and profile pics which had quite ...... graphic images. *shudders* I was so scared! I immediatly deleted that tweet and in a while the requests stopped but that incident scared me for life. Just how much exposed am I to the world?

You need to find the perfect balance here. Let's start with your profile pics. I know it's ideal to have a picture of yourself - with a clear shot of your face - from what I have gathered through other posts like these and research. But at the same time, think twice whether you're okay with the fact that your pic is out there in the open. 

There are bloggers out there who maintain a perfect balance between both. I've never seen what Cait looks like unless you count those rare photos in her IG and her blog where no face is shown. As long as I remember Kelly's twitter DP has been Miss. Piggy. Many bloggers use pseudonyms. Some are even super careful with their email addresses. 

9. Talk about new things.

The original and thought provoking your content is, the more reception you get! It's a bit annoying when someone says a statement then everyone keeps saying the same thing again and again until it gets tiring. Talk about new things! Random things! Please don't try too hard to be smart and updated. It's annoying. #sorrynotsorry.

To summarise........
  • You don't even have to be online all the time. You just have to make it appear as if you are. It all works with some observation, a few sacrifices and a little bit of logic. You can certainly master the art of your online presence!

What's your views on "online presence"? Do you agree with me? Do you have anymore tips to share? Anything I missed?

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