8 Reasons to get started with social media

social networksEngaging in social media can be an effective strategy for authors to share details about their work and build relationships with their readers. However, many authors feel overwhelmed by the range of social media platforms available and may not know how to get started. During the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, Katie Linder shared ideas for those “Getting Started with Social Media”.

More important than the platform you use, the content you post, or even the technical “how tos” of working with social media, however, are the goals you have for being on social media, Linder says. To help you identify your goals for using social media, consider these eight common goals Linder shared during the session.

Goal #1 – Connecting with others

Social media is intended to be social. Connecting with others – whether colleagues, family, friends, or strangers with similar interests – is a primary reason people choose to get started on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Social networks allow you to maintain a connection beyond the limited times of face-to-face interaction and to develop a better understanding of the interests of those with whom you connect.

Goal #2 – Promoting your work

As a contributor, social media provides you a platform to share your research, your writing, and your professional accomplishments. Social media provides a central location for sharing your work with those already in your network of friends and colleagues, as well as opportunities to expand your reach to members of their social networks.

Goal #3 – Building expertise

By sharing unique aspects of your work on social media, especially in groups related to your discipline, you can quickly establish yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field. Active participation and leading of the conversations help build expertise beyond your local circle. “Tell people about yourself and your interests,” says Linder. By identifying yourself and your interests in your profile, you can control how others see you and encourage the right people to connect with you online.

Goal #4 – Sharing resources

Sharing resources is another way to build greater respect and connection with others. Whether the resources are developed by you or curated through your research efforts, sharing them on social media strengthens your reputation as a knowledgeable expert in the field.

Goal #5 – Learning from others

Social media is equally effective in gaining knowledge as it is in sharing knowledge. If you don’t feel as though you have much to share, you may consider this goal as one that can help your personal and professional development. In addition to learning from the resources shared by others in your discipline, you can learn how to better manage and participate in social networks by following and observing others.

Goal #6 – Promoting others’ work

By sharing the work of others, not only are you helping them build their presence, but you are able to share content that you didn’t have to create. You can use this strategy to promote a larger body of work as well. Linder suggests things like “sharing articles from a journal you work with to grow an audience for the journal” or “sharing chapters from a book” as a way of marketing.

Goal #7 – Building community

Many opportunities exist in social media to build a community around your work as well. Joining existing groups, using specific hashtags, and participating in Tweetchats are effective ways to connect with communities already established on social media networks. If the group, hashtag, or Tweetchat event don’t exist for your interests, you can always create it and invite others to participate with you.

Goal #8 – Sharing ideas

The conversational element of social media allows for sharing ideas in addition to resources. Linder says, “Talk about the things you are passionate about, ask questions, and answer other people’s questions.” By doing so, you will be part of the conversation, grow a following, and see additional benefits through the connections you make.

No matter the goal you set for getting started with social media, Linder advises that you consider five time-saving tips for greater success: get consistent, get automated, get organized, get others to post about you, and get curious. Now it’s time to get started.  

The complete webinar recording is available in TAA’s Presentations on Demand library.


Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.