What Pew Research Center Social Media Stats Mean for Authors

What Pew Research Center Social Media Stats Mean for Authors

The Pew Research Center (PRC) released a new study on social media use at the beginning of March. Its findings weren’t surprising.

PRC researchers found that Facebook and YouTube dominate the social media landscape.

It’s no surprise that Facebook “remains the primary platform for most Americans.” An estimated 68 percent of U.S. adults report they are Facebook users and three-quarters of them access Facebook on a daily basis. PRC stated:

With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.

YouTube is even more popular, as I mentioned in a previous blog post. PRC states:

The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Are you trying to reach the Young and New Adult demographic? Here is what the Pew Research Center says about them:

Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54% among those ages 25 to 29.

The report also noted that Pinterest remains more popular with women (41 percent) than with men (16 percent).

LinkedIn continues to be popular with college graduates and individuals in high-income households. Nothing has really changed there.

What also became evident in this study is that people use multiple social media sites, not just one.

This overlap is broadly indicative of the fact that many Americans use multiple social platforms. Roughly three-quarters of the public (73%) uses more than one of the eight platforms measured in this survey, and the typical (median) American uses three of these sites. As might be expected, younger adults tend to use a greater variety of social media platforms. The median 18- to 29-year-old uses four of these platforms, but that figure drops to three among 30- to 49-year-olds, to two among 50- to 64-year-olds and to one among those 65 and older.

Facebook May Be Popular But Is It Right for Authors? Maybe Not

FacebookAre you now itching to redouble your efforts on Facebook? Not so fast. While 68 percent of U.S. users are on Facebook, it’s extremely challenging to reach them. Facebook’s latest tweak to its algorithm has made it virtually impossible for your Facebook fans (readers) to see your posts unless you invest in Facebook advertising. Facebook is basically a pay to play system for authors and anyone with a business page.

There’s a lot of buzz about Facebook groups, and more and more people are starting groups either in addition to having pages or instead of pages. Take Sharon Hamilton as an example.

I interviewed Sharon recently and she’s doing a lot to promote her books. She’s a prolific author in a popular genre and is a New York Times and USA Today, bestselling writer. As of this writing, she has 18,332 Likes and 17,878 followers on her Facebook page. But if you look at her Facebook page, you’ll see that there’s little engagement.

I’ve been following Sharon for quite some time, so I know that she used to have tremendous engagement on her Facebook page. What’s changed? Facebook has. Sharon keeps sharing great information and memes, but Facebook has tweaked its algorithm, making it harder for Sharon’s posts to appear in her fans’ news feeds.

That is unless she buys advertising.

If you look at your news feed these days, you’ll find that you see fewer posts from businesses and authors, fewer ads, and a lot more posts from friends and family. That’s because of Facebook’s algorithm and Mark Zuckerberg’s belief that Facebook users come to Facebook wanting to interact with friends and family and that you and I don’t want to see posts from business pages, such as author pages. In fact, even though I’ve liked many author pages, I never see them in my news feed.

Sharon was smart and started a Facebook group, which is doing well. She also has a street team.

But where does that leave you? One option is read a post I wrote about how to grow your Facebook page. Note that I wrote this post before Facebook’s latest change to its algorithm.

Facebook may seem to be the best place for authors to be but it isn’t. Well, it isn’t unless you’re willing to spend money on advertising.

If you have an extensive email list, start a Facebook group and encourage people to interact with you there, as well. Also, send tweets and Instagram messages with information about your Facebook group. Sharon Hamilton has a link on her website that automatically directs people to her Facebook group, called Rockin’ Romance Readers.

If you want information on how to start and run a group, there’s a blog post on Jane Friedman’s blog with some best practices for Facebook groups.

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Feeling Introverted? No Problem. Read These 10 Tips

Feeling Introverted? No Problem.

I’ve been introverted all my life, although friends who know me well don’t believe it. But it’s true. I don’t like going to parties where I don’t recognize people, although once I’m there, I do tend to have fun.

But the thought of being in a room of people I don’t know can, at times, inhibit me from going out. Even being in a room of people where I’ll know a few people can be intimidating.

Do you ever feel the same way?

If you’re a writer, you probably understand how I feel since most writers tend to be introverts. How else can we bear to spend hours by ourselves writing? We enjoy our own company, or at least the company of our fictional characters.

Many years ago I held a job that forced me to become less introverted. As the development director of a large nonprofit, I had to talk with all the donors and their guests for an evening of fundraising. After a few sips of champagne, I was usually able to step into a crowd of people and greet them and make sure they enjoyed their evening.

Even though I appeared outgoing for the night, the next day I would stay at home and read a book. Introverts get energized by being alone whereas extroverts get energized by being with people.

But I digress.

As a child, my introverted nature served me well.

  1. I always won spelling bees (because I read a lot).
  2. My writing (and reading) skills surpassed those of my sister, who was three years older.
  3. I excelled at school.

But as I grew up, being introverted made life more difficult for me.

  1. I had difficulty making new friends.
  2. In college, I would rather read and study than face a room filled with people I didn’t know at a party.

There have been other benefits and disadvantages to being introverted as well but, I share these to make a point: Being introverted may cause you to feel uncomfortable at times but, it’s also an asset. How else would you finish your books?

As a writer, you need to break out of your introverted nature enough so that you can market the books you spend so much time in solitude writing and perfecting.

In my case, I stuttered as a child, which probably pushed me further up the introverted spectrum. But by the time I reached high school and entered the workforce, my stuttering was behind me.

My career as a journalist forced me to talk with new people all the time, and that in turn made social situations more comfortable. By the time I published my first book, I wasn’t an extrovert, but I was more comfortable pretending to be an extrovert when needed.

This is exactly what you need to do. When appropriate, such as at book readings and signings and when appearing as a guest at book club gatherings, relax and don’t worry about what you’ll say. Let your words flow as you pretend that your closest friends surround you.

There have been studies that indicate that social media is good for introverts because it enables people who love to stay at home get out into the world – even if it’s a virtual experience – and meet and interact with new people every day.

There is a caveat to this. Pretending to be an extrovert should not be interpreted as an excuse for constantly promoting your books on social media. Instead, it’s an invitation to form relationships with writers and readers worldwide and support each other in promoting what you write.

11 Exercises for Introverted Writers

These exercises are for writers working on their marketing platform.

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3 Basic Rules of Social Media Plus 5 Best Practices

3 Basic Rules of Social Media Plus 5 Best Practices
Dan Zarrella, author of The Science of Marketing, said in his book, “I’ve long been interested in the idea that engaging in conversation is the single most important function of social media marketing.”

He’s right. That is why it’s so important to schedule time in the afternoon or early evening to converse with our readers, friends, and influencers in your sphere. If you don’t allocate time to converse, you are missing the point.

Social media at its essence is social so to engage in social media and not allocate time to socializing, well, it’s antithetical to the very premise of social media.

Social media at its essence is socialClick To Tweet

Take Twitter, for example. It began as a texting platform. Sure, it’s matured, evolved, and changed. You can include images and video now, and you can even advertise. But at its essence, it’s still a medium for conveying messages.

This premise is true with other social media platforms as well.

Which takes me to those 3 basic rules of social media I promised to discuss.

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Have You Seen These Social Media Changes? Part II

social media changesLast week I wrote about several social media changes, namely to Facebook and Twitter. Today I continue the discussion.

Let’s start the discussion with Twitter Moments.

Changes to Twitter 

Initially a feature for news organizations, Twitter Moments are now available for everyone to use.

This is how to get started:

Go to your Moments tab, located between Home and Notifications on the taskbar. (Look for the lightning symbol.) Give your Moment a title by clicking Title your Moment. Then add a description, and upload an image to set the cover. Then, select some tweets you’ve sent, liked, or retweeted. Once you’ve completed your moment, click Publish in the top left-hand corner. (Note: Be sure to crop your photos right on Twitter for mobile navigation.)

Twitter

I created a simple moment that includes a tweet about book patches, the Hay Festival in Segovia, Spain, news about the Pulitzer Prize winning The Underground Railroad (read it and loved it!), and two more tweets.

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14 Twitter Apps and Tools for Writers

10 Apps and Tools for WritersWhen was the last time you tried a new application? I’m often on the hunt for new tools to share with you that might make your day easier and your social media marketing more efficient.

So when I took at course recently, I learned of some applications and I immediately thought how cool it would be to share them with you. I’ve dropped the more expensive ones from the list since I don’t consider those indie-author friendly, but you’ll find most of them below.

Let’s get started!

Apps and Tools for Writers

Scheduling Tools

A scheduling app is like a piece of heaven, or New York cheesecake. I can’t decide. What I do know is that scheduling tools enable us to schedule our posts in the morning and then walk away from the computer or at least spend our day working on other digital projects.

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10 Quick Tips About Social Media

10 Quick Tips About Social MediaIf you’re just starting out on social media, it may seem overwhelming. Even if you’ve been using it for a while, the prospect of staying up to date on numerous social media platforms may seem like a full-time job.

Don’t get disheartened.

There definitely are learning curves to social media. That’s a given. But social media needn’t be overwhelming.

Take it from someone who works in social media every day.

As the joke goes, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Take the same approach to the social media networks you want to learn and keep up with.

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Don’t Confuse Your Avatar for the Movie – Be Yourself

Time to Ditch Your Avatar

Remember Sam Worthington in the movie Avatar? He portrayed the protagonist, Jake Sully.

Here’s a picture of the Sam Worthington as an injured Marine who finished his tour of service and will assume his brother’s avatar:

Avatar - San Worthington

And here’s a picture of his Worthington’s Jake Sully avatar:

Avatar - Jake Sully

Playing a former Marine (is there such a thing?), Jake Sully filled the bill perfectly. His tall, blue avatar with titanium bones were perfect for Pandora, the planet he traveled to and where he spent time learning the culture.

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Have You Seen These Social Media Tweaks?

Make Way for Change on Social Media

Have you noticed all the changes happening on social media? Facebook is making most of the tweaks, but I’ve seen modifications in other places as well.

Today I thought I’d share a few items I’ve noticed that may convince you to use Pinterest, buy a Facebook ad, or just take note of what you can do these days on different platforms.

Let’s get started with my miscellaneous observations.

Facebook Advertising

There’s no doubt in my mind that when done correctly, Facebook advertising works. Some people catch onto it right away, others spend too much money, and then there’s me: I just don’t use it often enough.

When I launched my book, The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, on May 19th I thought I’d support the launch with a Facebook ad. Guess what? It worked.

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Not Sure of the Lingo? 59 Social Media Words to Learn

Social Media Vocabulary Cheat Sheet by Frances Caballo

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams

You can’t learn to speak Spanish if you don’t commit to memory vocabulary lists. The task of  memorizing the meanings of “el pan” (bread) and “las galletas” (cookies) may be boring, but the wok it takes to learn the vocabulary will be worth it when you visit Spain, step into a bakery, and know how to order fresh bread or cookies.

Likewise, if you want to ask questions about social media during a webinar or further your knowledge of social media by reading blog posts, it helps to understand the vernacular of the speaker or blogger. In other words, learn the vocabulary so you can learn more about more intelligently and efficiently use social media.

As with any  new language — and learning social media is much like learning a new language —  you’ll never be understood if you don’t first master the lexicon.

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