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? Guest Posts from TheBookDesigner.com

There’s no place I’d rather be than the beach, especially the beaches on the Monterey Peninsula where I was born and raised. While I’m away, please visit these posts I’ve written for Joel Friedlander’s blog at TheBookDesigner.com. I’ve been writing for Joel’s blog since November 2013. (Wow! Time does fly.) Below you’ll find pots that date back to December 2014.


Reader Audiences and Analytics: What Do They Really Reveal?

When I ask authors whether they know who their audience is, I’m surprised when some of them reply, “everyone should read my book” or “everyone will like my book.” Well, not exactly. If you write grammar manuals or cookbooks, you may be under the false impression that everyone needs your book. But everyone won’t buy it or even think that a grammar reference, dystopian novel, or low-fat cookbook would be worth its purchase price.

Do You Write for Young Adults or Millenials? Then Try Snapchat

Social media aficionados like to jump on the newest, shiniest objects on the internet and today there are few sites attracting more buzz than Snapchat. The Verge reported in April 2016 that Snapchat has 100 million daily users who spend on average 25 to 30 minutes using the app. An estimated 60% of them use the app to create images and videos. Major brands that market to young adults and millennials are using this app to promote their wares. Buzzfeed, MTV, and Tastemade offer stories on Snapchat—and so do CNN and The Wall Street Journal.

How Young Adult Authors Can Use Tumblr to Reach Their Readers

Have you thought about using Tumblr lately? I may know what you’re thinking right now. These days when everyone is talking about Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram, why would I even mention Tumblr? Isn’t Tumblr sort of, well, passé? Au contraire.

Instagram Primer for Indie Authors

There are conflicting reports as to what social media network is the fastest growing. The data seems to change from month to month, or at least, it did in 2015. That year, Adweek, TechCrunch, and Global Web Index each reported different statistics. It was also in 2015 that Pew Research Center reported that Instagram was the fourth most used social media network, behind Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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Weekly Roundup – Social Media Updates for Authors

Weekly Roundup - Social Media Updates for Authors by Frances Caballo

This past week was rich in terms of content on the blogosphere. I hope you enjoy this week’s social media updates for authors. But first, here’s the story about the above image.

Here’s a little-known fact about me: I hike every Saturday morning, even in the rain. It’s a ritual I refuse to relinquish. The woods is where I replenish myself. Recently, I heard indie author Mark Dawson say that all the writers he knew were walkers. Well, count me as a member of that group. This past weekend, I slipped my iPhone into my back pocket and, of course, silenced it. I intended to take pictures of the wildflowers growing in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. I did take pictures of lupines, paintbrush, and monkeyflower, yet the above tree was my favorite subject. One never knows where the path will lead or where intention may be diverted. But if my experience last weekend can be seen as a metaphor, then it’s this: Don’t be rigid in following a path or pursuing an intention you think is best for you. You’re a writer, an artist. Follow your intuition and you’ll always be on the right course.


Social Media Updates for Authors

The Myth of the Average Reader from Writer Unboxed: “I usually see references to this mythic creature — the average reader — in one of two contexts. First: `I’m going for mass market appeal — I think the average readerwould enjoy my book.’ Second: ‘Well, the average reader obviously doesn’t know what good writing is. Why else would they buy crap like (popular bestseller)?'”

Note: Until this post, I hadn’t heard of anyone discussing psychographics in terms of readership. This is the definition the author offers: “the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.” This was an informative post with a new perspective.

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Marketing Advice from a Publishing Pro: Jane Friedman Shares Her Best Tips

8-25-14 Jane FriedmanI recently had the honor of interviewing Jane Friedman, the co-founder and publisher of Scratch, a magazine about writing and money, and former publisher of Writer’s Digest. She has more than 15 years of experience inside the book, magazine, and literary publishing industries. Below, Jane shares her views on author websites, blogging and marketing for writers.

 

How important is blogging for a writer’s success?

Blogging is mostly overrated as a book marketing and promotion tool, and few writers have the discipline or stamina to do it for the length of time required for it to pay off.

However, a blog is probably the nonfiction author’s No. 1 content marketing tool for their career—a career that presumably involves not just selling books, but also getting new clients, securing speaking engagements, teaching online classes, delivering new products, and increasing their profile as an expert.

Which leads to another question: What is “content marketing”? It’s where you use content to provide value, build your brand, and gain trust with your readership over time. A blog is a form of content marketing, and it’s generally the most well-recognized and understood by authors.

 

What are the elements of a successful author website and blog?

It should immediately communicate the author’s name and/or brand and give visitors a specific call to action within 5-7 seconds, before they leave the site. What’s a good call to action? It might be: read an excerpt of my book, listen to this interview with me at NPR, sign up for my newsletter, etc. Your call to action will change a few times a year, depending on your marketing initiatives or book releases.

Make your menu or navigation exceptionally clear to first-time visitors. Where can they find information about your books? How can they look at your blog or its archive? How can they contact you? Know what people look for when they visit your site, then make it easy for them to access it.

I have a lot more advice on this topic here:

 

8-25-14 WD logoWriter’s Digest seems to have flourished – at least digitally – under your tenure. What do you attribute that success to, aside from hard work? In other words, what can authors learn from your example there?

At Writer’s Digest, I focused on serving the audience authentically. If we did that well, the numbers and the sales followed.

 

Do you recommend that writers participate in online forums, and if so, why?

 Writers usually have two goals with this type of activity: being part of a writing community and being in touch with readers.

As far as the first goal, I recommend it insofar as it can be a valuable source of education, information, and encouragement. It might also have some marketing value, but you have to be careful that you’re not marketing to the echo chamber of the writing and publishing community, rather than building your readership of non-writers.

For the second goal, participating in online forums where your readers are can be invaluable to understanding and anticipating their needs, serving them better, and—yes—marketing to them.

 

What about blogging communities? Can they help authors grow their readership?

I have limited experience with or knowledge of blogging communities, but my general impression is negative. (Every time one closes, such as Red Room or Yahoo Voices, I feel more steadfast in my critical POV.)

do like multi-contributor blogs, into which I categorize Writer Unboxed, where I occasionally write.

 

How long have you been on Twitter? To what do you attribute your following?

I’ve been on Twitter since May 2008. I got in early, and I religiously wrote a “Best Tweets for Writers” column from 2009–2011 that helped launch my following. For a while I was a recommended follow by Twitter in the Books category. The growth is not the same as it was while I was on that list, but now the account has its own momentum no matter what I do. I tell the full story here: How I Got a Six-Figure Twitter Following.

 

Do you also post your own podcasts/videos/ or Google Hangouts?

I’m not currently doing my own podcasts, video, or Google Hangouts, though I accept invites to be a guest, and try to make sure my audience is aware when and where they’re available.

 

Books320What role does social media play in helping authors’ books to succeed commercially? Asked another way, I find that authors can be reluctant to use social media. What is your advice in the face of their hesitation?

Social media helps authors in two primary ways.

  1.  It helps you maintain connections with readers and nurture that relationship over many years. While you may use social media at times to directly sell, like during a book release, the key value is in being in touch or communicating with people who are fans your work.
  2. It helps you develop relationships with and reach influencers and others in your community who can help spread the word to their networks.

The question to ask yourself is: How, when, and where do you best engage with readers and others in the industry? There is probably at least 1 social network where that opportunity is richest and most meaningful for you. Focus on that network and do it to the extent that it energizes or inspires you. Forget the social media networks that feel like drudgery—that defeats the whole point of being there.

 

We know that email marketing is as important as social media. What advice do you give writers about growing their mailing list of avid and casual readers?

Make the email newsletter sign up very clear on your website; ideally it should appear on every page. Give readers a specific idea of what they will receive when they sign up for your list. Then deliver what you promise.

 

You once said in a blog post that writers must push their boundaries to incorporate new media into their marketing. (This isn’t a direct quote.) At what point do writers need to pull back so they don’t lose their focus on their writing goals?

When you find yourself going through a checklist of media initiatives, without any interest or enthusiasm, then it may be time to pull back and evaluate why you’re doing it, especially if you’re not seeing reader engagement. (Keep in mind that any new effort takes time to pay off—you have to show up consistently, find your voice, and improve. This can take 6-12 months for some people.)

I love to suggest writers experiment and question the mediums they may always default to; on the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing what works—especially if it motivates you to produce more good work. You just need to be aware if you’re clinging to certain things because you’re afraid to change (while everyone else is moving ahead), or making good choices that build on your strengths and the qualities of your work.

 

8-25-14 tumblrI see that you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Goodreads. How do you manage your time on so many platforms? How much time do you spend each day on social media?

I only show up consistently (usually daily) on 2 sites: Facebook and Twitter. I don’t have any quotas, however. My biggest rule is: Any time I tweet or post, it’s not to put myself in front of people. It’s to share something of value or to entertain. Period. So if I don’t have something for 48 hours, then you won’t see me. I’m not going to come up with a bunch of posts to fill in the gaps; we all have enough to look at already.

I’m a casual user of Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. For each of those platforms, I have very particular things I post, or certain triggers. E.g., on Pinterest, I mostly pin graphs and charts related to the media/publishing industry, whenever I come across one. That’s it—but it’s a very useful repository now. Tumblr is a kind of personal notebook, where I save quotes or clips from interesting articles.

So it’s not so much about managing my time; over a period of months or years, I establish a particular benefit of each channel, something that fits my purposes. They’re not on my mind, and only come into play when I find things that fit my use of those networks. It wouldn’t be sustainable otherwise. Overall, I probably spend 1-2 hours per day on social media, if you aggregate all the little minutes here and there—most of that being Facebook and Twitter. Most of that is consumption time, or staying informed about what’s happening, not posting time.

 

If you were to narrow your social media use to three networks, which three would you refuse to give up and why?

It would be difficult for me to give up Twitter given my long-term investment there, and its importance in the writing and publishing community conversation. It would also be hard to give up Facebook, since that’s where a good deal of my audience engagement happens. Together, Twitter and Facebook make up most of the social media referral traffic to my website. However, organic search traffic to my site is far more important than social media right now; therefore, Google Plus is the third network I’d be reluctant to give up, since I think it will continue to have an impact on SEO.

 

Do you think that certain social media networks are better suited to specific genres? For example, Facebook and Pinterest are ideal for romance writers. Tumblr and Twitter would be important for YA and NA writers. Nonfiction writers would need to have a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter. Or don’t you agree with the premise that certain channels are better for specific genres?

I do think certain channels are better for specific genres or audiences, yes. Most importantly, the author needs to be comfortable and committed to using whatever networks they’re on. Hopefully there’s a good match between what the writer is capable of sustaining for the long haul, and where her audience is active and engaged.

 

How do you suggest that writers juggle their writing time with their social media and marketing efforts in general?

This seems to be the question on everyone’s mind these days, and I understand writers feel that they’re under tremendous pressure. So when I hear this question, what I hear is: how can I relieve the pressure? How can I alleviate any stress or anxiety I have about juggling these things?

There is a very simple answer: Don’t take it all so seriously, and detach from the crazy-making activities. In a moment of silence, I bet you know what you should be doing, so acquire the discipline, structure, and tools to make it happen.

 

For Indie authors interested in finding an agent or publisher, what do they need to have in place aside from a killer manuscript?

It’s immensely helpful to point to a growing and engaged readership devoted to reading just about anything you publish. Be able to demonstrate your efforts to cultivate and nurture that readership.

 

What marketing advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Get your website established, even if it’s just a shell, and begin improving it and getting better at honing your online brand, one day at a time. This is your home base for the entirety of your career. Get comfy.

Visit Jane’s website to learn more about her.

 

Social Media Time Suck Final 200About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

How to Use Social Media to Connect with Your Readers

how to use social media to connect with your readers
Social media gives writers the opportunity to connect with more readers, agents, and editors than ever before. If you’re new to social networking or want to know how to make the best use of your author platform, here are a few guidelines to help you effectively utilize your online presence:

Engage, Entice, and Be Enthusiastic

Engage in the dialogue. Whether you’re new to marketing your author brand or a seasoned, published veteran, you should establish a professional presence online. If you prefer discussion and commentary, a Facebook Fan Page or a Twitter account is right up your alley. For more image-driven networks, consider up-and-comers Tumblr and Pinterest. And don’t be shy—contribute something. Just be sure that what you post brings something of value to the conversation. You don’t want to appear to be blowing smoke for the sake of attention, or you’ll risk getting a reputation for self-centered promotion.

Entice followers or fans back to your own profile. Once you’ve contributed responses on public forums, try posing some questions of your own. People who find your thoughts interesting may seek out your page or website to learn more about you and your writing. On Facebook, whenever you leave a comment or Like a post, that activity is broadcast to your fans. The same is true for Twitter, where your tweets and retweets are sent to all of your followers’ news feeds. The more fans or followers interact with you, the more opportunities your messages will have to reach more potential readers. Just as a fire slowly grows and spreads, your name as an author and news about your writing projects will start heating up the social networks.

Enthusiasm is contagious. Nobody likes negativity in life or online, so be sure to stay upbeat. Your name as an author will create the brand for your book. While the latest sharp-tongued curmudgeon may grab a moment in the spotlight, you don’t want that sort of reputation for your writing career. Agents and publishers will pass on someone who has a reputation for being difficult. Being positive and enthusiastic, as well as putting in the extra time and effort to promote your name and your writing online, will make you an agent’s dream come true.

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