7 Tips to Networking on the Social Web (Part 1)

3-10-14

Don’t you get tired of broadcast media?

I unplugged my Comcast cable eight years ago, and I’ve never regretted it.

Television programming would interrupt my favorite shows with annoying and idiotic commercials and cancel the few programs I really liked.

The worst part is that I had to conform my personal schedule to my favorite program’s schedule.

In comparison, social media is perfect.

There are no interruptions, and I can visit the networks whenever I have time and the inclination.

And it allows me to interact with colleagues and friends across the country and around the world.

Most importantly, social media enables me to nurture relationships with readers and friends. Petty cool, huh?

Just as a reminder, setting aside time to be social is the fourth step in my four-step cure to social media suck. Here are the four steps:

  1. Be where your readers are.
  2. Curate information in your niche every morning.
  3. Select an application and schedule your tweets, posts and updates.
  4. Make time to be social every day.

Make Time to be Social

Social media is all about nurturing relationships.

Did someone retweet one of your messages? Find a tweet they wrote that you like and return the favor. While you’re at it, consider sending a note of thanks to everyone who retweeted you.

Do you have new followers? Spend some time getting acquainted with them by reviewing their profiles or visiting their websites. (It only takes a second or two.)

Is there an agent or editor on LinkedIn with whom you’d like to connect, but can’t because they are a third degree connection? Ask a friend to introduce you.

Did a colleague just publish a new book? Help her promote it by informing your friends and connections about it.

Socializing on social media involves these three steps: meet, connect, and repeat. You are constantly meeting new people, connecting with them, and then repeating the process with someone new.

Remember to be positive and open-minded and stick to neutral topics.

If you have an iPad, iPhone, laptop or Android, you can socialize online whenever you have some idle time. (If you don’t have idle time, then it’s important to schedule some in.)

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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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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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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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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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What to Post on Social Media Plus 38 Examples

What to Post on Social Media Plus 38 Examples by Frances Caballo

Ten years ago, you wrote a book and you never expected to find out anything about the author. Now with social media, everyone wants that connection. I think our readers want to be invited into our lives and brought on the journey and be part of this whole process. ~~ Jane Green

Not Sure What to Post? Try These Ideas

Authors often ask me, “What should I post on social media?”

The answer is simple: Great content that your readers will enjoy. Social media and book marketing aren’t about you. Yes, you have books to sell and a blog you want your readers to visit. But in the end, everything you do is about the reader.

As such, the content you post will be driven by what motivates, moves, and meets the needs of your readers.

In other words, the content you post will need to be:

  • Informative
  • Interesting
  • And when images and videos are used, captivating
  • And at times, your content can be entertaining

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Social Media Guidelines for Newbie (& Experienced) Authors

Social Media Guidelines by Frances CaballoI love Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word newbie,

newcomer; especially: a newcomer to cyberspace

There’s no shame in coming to the field of publishing and online marketing right now. It hasn’t been around that long.

The fact that I’m not an early adopter and have learned so much is proof that you can be where I am in little time.

So just because the neighbor’s kid seems to know all about Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, don’t worry.

You don’t want to follow her or his advice. Kids come to social media as a way to connect in expanded ways with their friends.

You’ll be using social media to establish your brand and market your books. See the difference?

Free Social Media Cheat Sheet by Frances Caballo

So what the kid next door knows will not apply to you.

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Awesome Social Media Updates Authors Need to Know

Social Media Updates for Authors by Frances Caballo

Social media is always evolving, and that’s why I like it. If you don’t keep up with the latest innovations, you’ll get mired in old ways that worked six months ago but have since bit the proverbial dust.

Snapchat

Perhaps you’re like some people I’ve met you believed that Snapchat was an app that would never apply to your marketing efforts. Well, that’s how social media is.

This little app easily found users among teens and soon big brands figured out how to use to reach their buying demographic.

Now even authors who write Young Adult novels and stories have even more reason to give it a second look.


Not sure when to post your social media updates? Get the Cheat Sheet than tells you when. Download now!

Free Social Media Cheat Sheet by Frances Caballo


 

Snapchat, the app with a logo consisting of a ghostly icon on a blindingly yellow background, now has an app for authors.

That app is Hooked, and it allows Snapchat users to read stories on smartphones for free.

Hooked allows Snapchat users to read stories on smartphones for free Click To Tweet

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11 Ways You May Be Spooking Your Readers on Social Media

Don't Spook Your Readers on Social Media by Frances CaballoAs a child, I would frighten easily. I never entered a haunted house, and I hated clowns.

More accurately, clowns scared the bejeezus out of me.

And on Halloween one year, I visited neighborhood and when I knocked, instead of seeing a welcoming parent answer the door, a horrifying wolf did. (In reality, it was a tall boy wearing a scary wolf mask.)

I dashed down the stairs and across the street and narrowly escaped being hit by a car.

Do you have similar stories?

Now that we’ve all grown up, you might think that it would be difficult to scare others, especially your readers. Well, that’s not exactly true.

You may not frighten them to the point they scream with horror, but you can do things that will chase them away.


Not sure when to post your social media updates? Get the Cheat Sheet than tells you when. Download now!

Free Social Media Cheat Sheet by Frances Caballo


 

Don't create a Facebook author page and then abandon it via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

Let’s look at eleven situations that might be scaring off your readers, especially new readers.
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