Navigating social media as an author can be tricky. If you’ve not already accumulated a good friend-base on any given platform, starting up new ones with the sole purpose of selling your books is hit and miss. So, why does this marketing strategy work for some, and not for others? I think Bobbi Holmes nailed it today. Before I go on, and add to what she’s already said, read her post FOLLOW ME, I’LL FOLLOW BACK – IS THAT TWITTER?
Did you finish reading it? Good. Plan on reading it later? Okay, I’ll summarize: Bobbi, like myself, is a writer (check her out, she’s awesome). And also like myself, she’s been trying to navigate the Twitter scene for several years, trying multiple ways to make a place for herself and her readers. She’s recently cleaned up her follow list in order to see what she wants to see in her feed, and be more able to properly engage with her followers. Makes sense, right?
I agree 100% with Bobbi that engagement is key. And I’ll break down each site I use to explain why and how this works for me:
Admittedly one of the most popular user-friendly social media outlets where real online friendships can be formed and kept, Facebook leads the charge for me in my marketing endeavors. Not necessarily because I want it too, though. I despise how our Timeline feeds are adjusted by the automated FB bots, not by ourselves, which limits what our own friends, family and followers actually see in their feeds. Marketing on FB is harder, with stricter rules, and harsh consequences (I doubt there’s an author on FB who hasn’t heard of another that was locked out of their account due to breaking or abusing FB’s posting guidelines). Not to mention there is absolutely ZERO Customer Support. Those with business pages, like myself, are now forced to pay for posts if we want more than a teeny percent of our followers to see our posts. But the numbers don’t lie, and compared to all of my other social media platforms, FB takes the lead with engagement and actual marketing success. Plus, FB is full of real people, who truly want to interact with friends, family coworkers and their favorite actors, singers, and yes…authors. I’ve met many amazing people via my FB author page. Engaging with my readers is very easy to do here. A warning about FB – it’s a massive time-suck for writers (pfft, for everyone, right?) and is why I now schedule my FB visits and even removed the app from my phone. A year ago.
My Recent FB Stats: Author Page Likes – 2,441. Post Reach for this week – 1,090 (Best individual post reach today – 123). Post Engagement – 72 (Best individual post engagement – 18). Reach this week is down 58%, Engagement is down 44%, Page Likes are down 25%.
Unlike many others, I don’t go to Twitter specifically for news, but news spreads like wildfire on this platform. Which means there is no shortage of celebrity drama. But it’s a fabulous place to find all sorts of discussions about current events – be them about the latest controversial Kardashian selfie, or the current US political debate. There’s what I’ll call an ‘epidemic’ of auto-following here and a never-ending race to get the most followers, even if this means you have to follow thousands of strangers to make that happen. There’s a lot of spamming, which makes the occasional marketing post get lost almost instantly. And the place can be overwhelming. But there are real people on Twitter too, and often times those readers of mine that don’t FB, find me on Twitter. It’s easy to share content on Twitter, a simple RT, which means that if a post is favored, the ability for reach can skyrocket. But, as Bobbi mentioned in her post, there’s little follow-through without consistent engagement, which is really hard to achieve when the Twitter Timeline flies faster than Superman. This is when ‘Lists’ come in handy. Engaging with my own readers is possible, but difficult. Engaging with other authors is no problem at all, because there’s a trillion of us on Twitter. A warning about Twitter – once you tweet it, you can’t delete it. I mean, you can delete the original post, but unless you did it instantly, and only have five followers, if it’s at all juicy, or controversial, chances are it’s already been RT’d by the time you say, ‘Crap’ and possibly even shared on other platforms. In other words – don’t drink and Tweet, people.
My Recent Twitter Stats: Followers – 10.8k. Following – 9,947. Recent Tweet Impressions – 5,710. Mentions – 7. Tweets Linking back to my page – 16. Profile visits, Mentions and Impressions are all down 20+ percent this week.
Pinterest is a photo sharing site mainly designed to filter traffic back to business websites that sell a product or link to a blog or website article. Think DIY, How To’s, funny memes and Etsy listings, recipes, stores, just to name a few. I am a Pinterest addict. There’s something cathartic about pinning hundreds of hair styles I don’t know how to do, clothing styles that won’t support my bust, and meals I’ll mostly drool over because I don’t often have the right ingredients to make them.
But as for marketing, I love my Bookish board. And I have an inspiration board for each of my book series. All authors should do this. Why? Even if you are like me, and your most popular pin of the week is a piece of jewelry that has nothing to do with anything you write, your readers can get an inside glimpse of your fictional worlds, which makes them connected to your work in a unique way. Plus, a lot of people are visual. Book covers are a wonderful thing to Pin, and many readers do this themselves. It’s a fun thing to find new pins of your books uploaded onto Pinterest by your readers. It’s marketing without having to do all the work yourself. But…a word of caution…Pinterest can take over your life. Pin carefully.
My Recent Pinterest Stats: Followers – 2.4k. Following – 1.3k. Profile Likes – 15.6k. Average Daily Impressions – 9,559 – up 39%. Average Daily Views – 5,708 – up 12%. Average Monthly Viewers – 128k – up 2%. Activity via Pinterest to my website – 157 Daily Impressions and 131 Daily Views.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a photo sharing site, but more personal. It’s like a public version of your home photo album. Anyone from your neighbor’s hair dresser, to your mum’s dog, to Taylor Swift, can upload shots of their personal experiences here…all with the help of beautiful editing filters. I enjoy Instagram more for myself and my family, then for anything else, but readers do find me here. It’s easy to hashtag on Instagram, and the more creative the tags, the more fun. Whether it’s pictures of lunch, the dog sleeping on the couch, the child jumping off a cliff into the ocean, the local science fair, stumbling into a celebrity at the SDCC, or the cover of your newest book, people will see these photos and if they like them, they’re more likely to engage than on a place like Pinterest. A warning about Instagram – I know personally there is a rise in online bullying between kids on Instagram, which sucks. Also, unless your profile is private so only your approved followers can view it, keep in mind that your pictures are out there. In other words – keep your clothes on. Please.
My Recent Instagram Stats: I don’t have many numbers because there’s not much available to share. Followers – 1181. Following – 1295. Most recent post – 54 likes, 3 engagements. Most popular photos seem to be of my meat-free meals, or my kids doing strange things, like trying to taste the air. 😉
Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc…I’m on, but not active on a marketing standpoint. I know some who have great stats from these places, though.
If I was to take all four of my main social media platforms above, and pick the one with the best statistics, that would be Pinterest, no question. But when it comes to selling books and engaging with readers, FB is #1 and Twitter takes the #2 spot. These are the places I’m most active on, author-wise, so this makes sense. But I think these two places make it easier to converse with anyone, to engage with freedom, and to share the info your readers need to grab up your stories.
If selling a book was my only priority for every hour of the day, then I suppose you would find me hanging out on FB all day long. But since I have over 42.2k pins on my Pinterest account, it’s safe to say that I’ve other interests outside of writing. Like the perfect tiny tattoo that I will one day proudly display. The perfect beach I will one day lay on. The perfect ratatouille recipe to go with the perfect vegan brownies or protein bites. The perfect homeschool activity for a rainy day. The perfect midi ring set. The perfect derping dog face. The perfect fairy garden. And all of those things definitely share space with the perfect face for Riley, Piper, and A’ris.
It really comes down to which platform you feel comfortable being yourself on. And that’s what I think we need to be, in order to get that engagement – be ourselves. Be you. Share your work, but show off your humor, your fears, and your interests too. Because writers are real people too, and readers want to know about that.
Thanks, Bobbi, for your post today. It sure got me thinking again about how I approach my platforms and readers. I’ll be doing better, I hope, at practicing the art of engagement, and focusing less on the number game. *wink*
So, what are YOUR favorite social media platforms, and why? I’m interested in this!