I thought I’d share something simple and easy that I do weekly to share content, entice readers (hopefully) and have something fresh to post on my various social media. There are specific hashtags on twitter that I’ve found particularly helpful. Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of a hashtag: “a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).”
The beauty of a hashtag is that many people use them and will search on them to find content. A hashtag can relate to virtually anything, like a TV show, politics, or themes like the ones I’m going to share.
First on the short list of the ones I employ is the venerable #1linewed, established by the Kiss of Death Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Frankly, this one is the least useful to me, although I do it faithfully on Wednesdays to be supportive. They publish a weekly theme and you’re supposed to find one line or sentence in your current WIP using that word and put it in a tweet. No buy links, no book title, no pretty cover art. So if someone really likes your one sentence, that’s a positive, but then there’s nowhere for them to go from there.
Contrast that with #bookqw (‘book quote Wednesday’), established by author Mindy Klasky. She also suggests a one word theme for the week but then pretty much anything goes, as far as content. What I do is include the hashtag and the theme word in my tweet and then attach my actual quote in a graphic format, with the cover art and a buy link. I go to Canva, a free tool for creating visual content, and make my graphic in about five minutes, cutting and pasting the selected sentences from my book into their template and adding my cover art. I’m sure there are many great tools for creating simple graphics but Canva is my go-to tool.
Sometimes I use a stock photo as well (which I purchase from DepositPhoto, which has great once a year deals on stock photo packages – merely one resource – there are many other stock photo sites) to further illustrate my quote. I definitely want the eye appeal factor to draw the reader in. I have a tendency to want to pick too long a snippet and adding the cover and/or a photo forces me to be more concise.
The nice thing is, I also post this #bookqw item on my author Facebook page, my Instagram, and Share it on Facebook with several groups and pages in my scifi romance genre where snippets of this type are allowed. Other people often share it from there, or retweet it on twitter, if my quote and graphic has caught their fancy, so there’s potential for a nice signal boost.
A similar hashtag that really works for me is #SciFiFri. Again, they do suggest a theme weekly, but don’t insist you have to stick to it. Since I write science fiction romance, I can pretty much always find appropriate content in one of my books and it’s a nice way to draw a little attention to some of my backlist. They also do a #SciFiSat, with no theme other than science fiction-related. I don’t do that one as often because I’m in a weekend snippet hop and I don’t want to give my social media audience too many snippets or excerpts all at one time.
On occasion, I’ve bundled up a few of my hashtag graphics, and combined them into one post for my blog.
Even if a hashtag doesn’t work for you personally as a contributor, there may be cool content you can retweet or share. My favorite was #MerMay where people worldwide shared all kinds of mermaid and other fishfolk drawings, some of which were amazing or funny or colorful and I shared and retweeted the most eyecatching twice a day. I didn’t retweet so many as to make my followers block me (hopefully!) but I curated the best that I saw. There was also #inktober in October but that one wasn’t as much to my taste. Everyone likes different things!
You can find hashtags by googling and you can also find the definitions for the hastags. Some which you think are for one subject were snagged by someone else and might not be what you were anticipating. I found a good post on Author Media.com entitled “44 Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know” by Caitlin Muir. I’m not sure how old that post is but there are some nice lists there, slightly off the topic that I’m covering, which was how I use the weekly hashtags to generate social media content.
I will say, another hashtag I love is #rwchat, which the creators define as “ …a weekly chat for Romance & Women's Fiction Writers every Sunday at 4pm PST | 7pm EST.” I try not to ever miss it – there’s a specific topic every week and the discussion is fast and lively. People are very generous about sharing their innermost thoughts on the topic at hand. We’ve had threads on everything ranging from creativity, marketing tactics, being introverted, tricks of characterization, doing pitches and blurbs, to stealing time to write. The participants include published and unpublished authors, so the contributions from people cover a lot of ground and are of interest no matter what level of publishing you may be at. Everyone is welcome, even if you just want to lurk. The organizers typically post 6-8 questions during the hour and then the participants comment and interact, using the hashtag.
So you don’t have to be a social media expert to make use of hashtags and even just dipping your toe into the pool may bring some good results, in terms of your social media reach.
What are your favorite hashtags?