Why Writers Should Ditch Their Smartphones (Occasionally)

Originally posted on LeonardRaymundo.com

Smartphone addiction is a real and prevalent issue among many people today, myself included. In fact, of the 56% of Americans who own smartphones, many report feeling panicked and anxious when misplacing their mobile devices. This desperation to be connected at all times can be especially troubling for writers despite the vastness of the internet, and the overwhelming amount of information available at our fingertips.

It’s easy to get lost in your phone or tablet when browsing the web, reading online articles, and indulging in the endless world of social media. For many people, “taking a break” means surfing the internet and reading funny or interesting articles rather than checking their emails. However, you are still on your smartphone (or tablet) while doing this. Occupying your mind via technology at all times can be detrimental to your creative process, and thus your creative writing.

Today, it’s much easier to pick up your phone and go through the many applications you’ve downloaded when you become bored. By doing this, you are effectively preventing your mind from wandering, which is an essential activity for creative writers. A majority of writers credit their stories and ideas simply from their imaginations; something that can only be done when the mind is able to wander and reflect on the day, and the interactions that occurred throughout.

Have you noticed unique or eclectic ideas coming to mind more often while you are driving or in the shower? While you may not exactly be bored in these situations, your brain is receiving little stimulation, and thus begins to wander and reflect. Shoving your face into a smartphone when you are overcome with boredom does stimulate your brain, but in a way that prevents creative thought. A great way to conquer this is by forcing yourself to simply be bored. This may seem, well, boring, but make your smartphone technology unaccessible for a certain period of time, and get back to your roots of boredom. This can force you to think of a more creative outcome rather than simply grabbing the nearest mobile device or tablet.

What did you do as a child when you were bored before smart technology existed? Many people might answer playing outside, or just letting their mind wander in relaxing locations. Little did we know it, but these actions sparked our imaginations and creativity, and, depending on how long you’ve been writing, we may have written these experiences down in journals.

If you’re truly motivated to get some writing done, but know that your addiction is bad, there is software that can help you. Here are some apps that do this best, allowing you to free your mind and expand your creativity. Boredom is a small price to pay for productivity.
Pay attention to times in which you become bored while writing. If you aren’t inspired during a certain scene or piece of dialogue, there’s a good possibility your writers will feel that lack of inspiration. It’s times like this where most people will immediately feel compelled to grab their phones and spend hours on social media. Instead, study that specific scene and find out what it is that is lacking. It may be just one sentence throwing off the entire conversation. The more you analyze and think about your writing, the happier you’ll be with it through editing; something texting and checking emails cannot do.

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Industries Set to Rule Social Media in 2018

Social media is an inevitable part of the future of marketing. Yet many brands still execute poorly when it comes to the multitude of platforms available, mostly due to a misunderstanding of its audience and purpose.

Like it has been said time and time again, social media is now an integral part of businesses among all sectors. 2.8 billion social media users were accounted for in 2017, of which roughly 95% were between the ages of 18 and 35; a statistic crucial to keep in mind for advertising companies.

However, a poorly executed or ill-conceived social media can actually do more harm than good. It’s important to understand where your audience consumes information, and be ready to do more than just sell your product. The following are just some of many industries that absolutely need to harness the powers of online networking, before they get left behind.

Hospitality

Chefs and restaurant owners alike are having to get more and more creative every day in order to better reach their target audiences. Like social media, hospitality businesses are complex and are often characterized by their constantly changing environments and need to adapt to the times. The increased use of technology has only made this more true.

It’s not uncommon to see diners taking photos of their meals before indulging; something chefs will most likely appreciate despite any judgemental looks they may receive from fellow patrons. Spreading awareness and influencing reviews is a great way to gain traction in the hospitality industry, and in no place can that be done better than a simple cell phone. Twitter followers, Instagram followers, Facebook likes and of course Yelp reviews, are sure to help these businesses promote themselves, as social media is the new word of mouth in this industry.

Big Pharma

Customer service in the pharmaceutical industry has always been cast in somewhat of a negative light. With that said, more pharmaceutical companies are beginning to utilize social media in order to reach and engage with their customers, other companies and healthcare professionals, and potential job candidates.

This opens the doors many opportunities to network and connect with others. Community pages that include blogs on specific drugs or treatments, and holding discussions is a great way to engage with customers more instead of simply providing them with the medication they require.

Finance

According to financial expert Amy McIlwain, a big reason why major financial companies have avoided using social media in the past was due to the fact that an enormous part of their clientele were baby boomers and senior citizens. But, with more elderly individuals joining Facebook today combined with the fact that younger individuals are beginning to understand the importance of personal finance, now is the time to harness the powers of the biggest social media platforms.

If you’re not connecting to your audience through social media, you are most likely losing opportunities you may not have had otherwise. But rather than thinking about using social media to promote your business, you should be thinking about the best channels to tell your story to your audience.

Originally posted on Leonard David Raymundo’s Medium

How Twitter Can Improve Your Writing Skills

The title of this blog alone may seem like a contradiction given the amount of Twitter users that seem to have a tenuous grasp on the English language, but hear me out. As one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, Twitter allows anyone and everyone to voice their opinions for the world to hear, which isn’t always a good thing. However, utilizing everything this site has to offer can actually improve your writing skills.

First, and perhaps most obviously, tweeting allows you to practice brevity. Because of that fact that you are only given 140 characters to tell everyone how you feel about President Trump or what your thoughts were on last night’s game, you are forced to cram all of these ruminations into one concise tweet. This is where your editing skills come into play. Trim the unnecessary details, and include only what you want your audience to read and understand; a skill applied to creative writing every day.

Second, many people seem to forget the networking possibilities that come with communicating on a platform used by hundreds of millions of people every day. By intelligently using hashtags to hone in on who you want seeing your tweets, you can reach users in countries on the other side of the planet, and share a few thoughts if you feel so inclined. Get your followers, as well as people within your industry, to engage with you. Ask questions in your tweets for feedback or starting discussions, and respond as often as you can to show your audience that you care about their opinions, and actually want to hear back from them.

Going off the notion of practicing brevity, the more you tweet, the better you’ll get at it. That is to say you will quickly learn what works best in the Twitter universe in terms of engagement. For example, strong, intelligently-worded one-liners can immediately grab an avid Twitter user’s attention. Most people on this platform don’t want to read paragraphs of information. Cater to the masses. Whether you incorporate humor, sorrow, or shock, someone is bound to react to what you put out there so long as it is brief and impactful.

Another pretty obvious advantage that comes with using Twitter is marketing your already-written content. Grab a quote or two out of your latest blog or novel, and link back to your website. Before you do this however, make sure you audience actually wants to read it. Incorporate some emotion. Sounding robotic on social media is a great way to lose followers. Tell people why you’ve written this piece and why you think they’d like it.

Experimentation is yet another beautiful part of Twitter for writers. If you tend to stick to one genre when writing, try tweeting a few things ranging in genres to see how your audience responds. Because of the conciseness of tweets, very few people are going to judge what you put out there. Get creative. Try something comedic if you commonly write dramatic content, or write a two-sentence horror story if you tend to do the opposite. Your opportunities are endless.

Expanding Your Social Media Reach (Part 2)

As a business, utilizing social media is not only crucial, but imperative in today’s world. In my previous blog, I discussed a few ways you can enhance the strength and engagement among your Facebook and Twitter profiles. For those of you whose businesses may flourish more on YouTube or LinkedIn, this blog is for you.

YouTube

Social media users today want quick, easy-to-access information, and what better way to oblige them than with a video? Video marketing is a great way to showcase what you do, as long it fits your brand identity. As of 2015, 93% of those in marketing used video for sales or communication. Predictions say that in 2017, 74% of all internet traffic will be video.

It’s important to note that, compared to Facebook’s 50 million business pages, YouTube is almost an untapped market for those looking to advertise their goods or services. With a less fierce competition compared to other social media sites, growing the strength of your business’s YouTube account can help greatly in giving you a leg up.

The most obvious tactic for improving your YouTube account is to upload videos regularly. Having your target audience come to expect a new video daily or weekly will earn you their trust as consumers. However, be sure to keep these videos around 2-3 minutes. Many users tend to be turned off by those of 4 minutes or more. Creating an introduction video is another great way to add professionalism to your channel.

Organize your videos by playlist. A well laid out YouTube channel is not only visually appealing, but provides the simplicity of having to do little navigating for customers looking for specific videos.

Be sure to post any videos or links to these videos to any preexisting social media profiles. If you have a large following on Facebook or Twitter, sharing your YouTube videos on these platforms could greatly increase your followers. Add a ‘subscribe’ button to blogs or posts for even more convenience.

LinkedIn

A social media profile that was once thought of as simply a networking tool, LinkedIn is now a networking requirement in order to expand your name or business. Adding connections not only grows your audience, but gives you more and more opportunities to meet potential clients or business partners.

An amazingly simple way to increase your number of connections is by utilizing the address book tool. Importing contacts from your email can instantly send invitations to hundreds of people you know. However, be sure not to send a mass invite. In order to make meaningful connections, choose those who you truly wish to connect with on LinkedIn, and send a personal message rather than a generic “Hi! Connect with me on LinkedIn!”

Add the URL to your LinkedIn profile to other social media profiles. Much like adding YouTube videos to Facebook as mentioned above, this increased visibility can only help. Add a link to your email signature as well to show other professionals that your profile is worthy of being viewed.

With that said, it’s extremely important to have a well written, thorough profile page. List all job history that is relevant and meaningful, your education history along with degree earned and courses taken, and any volunteer work completed or awards received. A detailed LinkedIn page shows others that you take the site seriously, and wish to expand your professional reach.
Join groups dealing with your business or interests, and connect with other members. Again, making meaningful connections is much more likely to generate more engagement than adding strangers.