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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How to Manage a Twitter Account as an Indie Author

How to Manage a Twitter Account as an Indie Author

Twitter tends to confound a lot of writers. I get it.

When I first jumped on social media about nine years ago, I asked a friend, “Did you really join Twitter?” She responded that of course she did and that I had to as well.

So I begrudgingly opened a Twitter account. And like a lot of people I made mistakes. But now listen to what I am about to tell you: Twitter is forgiving.

For example, you can change your username on Twitter as many times as you’d like but you can’t on other social media platforms. It’s just one of the many reasons I love Twitter.

What were my mistakes? I used a logo instead of a picture of myself for my avatar. Instead of using my name, Frances Caballo, I used the official name of my business, ACT Communication. (I try to hide the fact that ACT Communications is really my DBA these days so please don’t spread this secret around. Please!)

Then I created the crime of all crimes. I joined TrueTwit, which makes prospective followers go to its website, watch some ads, then type in a CAPTCHA code. Of course, my Twitter account stagnated.

But I continued to read blog posts about social media as well as books and over time I realized all of my errors. I remade my account changing everything about it. And I dumped TrueTwit.

My intent in telling you my sad story is so that you won’t worry if you make a mistake. And if you have made some of my mistakes, it’s not too late to change things.

How to Set Up Your Twitter Account

So let’s start at the beginning.

  • Use your real name when you open your Twitter account.
  • Make sure your username is no more than 12 characters.
  • Use a picture of yourself as an avatar and not a picture of your dog, bird, favorite coffee drink, or cat.

Keep reading this post I wrote for Joel Friedlander on his blog at TheBookDesigner.com


Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web










Want More Twitter Followers? Don’t Buy Them!

Want More Twitter Followers? Don't Buy Them!

In this post I explain why you should never purchase Twitter followers or Facebook Likes. 

Did you see the New York Times article on Sunday, January 28th? In case you didn’t, let me explain it to you.

A teenager named Jessica Rychly is a Minnesota girl who uses Facebook and Twitter and often talks online about how bored she is or trades jokes with friends.

There’s another Jessica Rychly on Twitter as well. This one, according to the New York Times, promotes Canadian real estate investments, cryptocurrency, and a radio station in Ghana. The fake Jessica Rychly uses Arabic and Indonesian languages and promotes pornography too.

You see the second Jessica Rychly is the stolen identity of the first Jessica for some nefarious reasons.

As the New York Times reported:

These accounts are counterfeit coins in the booming economy of online influence, reaching into virtually any industry where a mass audience – or the illusion of it – can be monetized. Fake accounts infest social media networks. By some calculations, as many as 48 million of Twitter’s reported active users are automated accounts designed to simulate real people, though the company claims that number is far lower.

Twitter isn’t the only social media platform with this problem. The behemoth of social media, Facebook, has a similar problem.

In November, Facebook disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. These fake accounts, known as bots, can help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates. They can defraud businesses and ruin reputations.

Never Buy Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes

I bring up the New York Times article to make what I think are two important points:

  1. Don’t be impressed by huge audiences or worry if you don’t have a million followers.
  2. Never buy followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook.

I had a client some years ago who wrote beautiful children’s books. She had a lovely Facebook page, and its audience was growing slowly and steadily. My client decided that she wanted it to gain fans faster because she was interested in getting a multi-book deal with a publisher.

What did she do? She purchased 5,000 Facebook Likes. Guess where most of them were from? Any idea? Let me tell you then; Sri Lanka.

These “fans” of her Facebook page completely threw her Facebook analytics out of whack. And the Sri Lanka fans never liked or commented on any of her posts. You see they are paid to Like her page. They didn’t care about the books she wrote or what she was trying to achieve.

Her newest “fans” from Sri Lanka Liked Facebook page as a job. That’s all.

If you use Twitter, you’ve no doubt noticed that there are user accounts hawking thousands of followers for pennies. There are also accounts hawking pornography and other services. Delete these accounts from your following. In fact, block them.

I use ManageFlitter, which identifies spam, fake accounts, and bots. I also review my clients’ follower lists to get rid of accounts that apparently have no interest in what they write. I encourage you to do the same thing.

Never Worry About the Size of Your Following

Too many people using social media are more concerned about the number of followers they have instead of the quality of relationships they can develop.

Listen, social media isn’t a numbers game. If you think a publisher is trying to force you to have high follower counts, find another publisher or even better, self-publish your book. It’s just not worth it to worry about the number of followers you have.

Worry instead about the quality of information you post.

Several years ago a company interviewed me as a social media manager consultant. I sat in this room with eight people and the marketing director said to me, “Start talking.”

I immediately explained that they didn’t really have 30,000 likes on their Facebook page. I told them that they purchased those likes and those fans were from Sri Lanka and similar places on the globe.

I explained that anyone looking at the page could figure it out. They had 30,000 Likes, but only two people every liked their posts. The marketing director’s jaw dropped as the on-staff social media manager hemmed and hawed.

Are you unhappy with your Facebook page, especially in light of the latest tweak to Facebook’s algorithm? Then just use your Facebook profile or take a course on Facebook advertising.

If you want your Facebook author page to have more engagement, you have to buy advertising. If you don’t want to spend the money, then just use your profile or start a Facebook group.

Never worry about your follower or fan counts. Just focus on engaging your friends, readers, prospective readers, and colleagues, posting useful content and beautiful visuals, and enjoying yourself online.

Want more Twitter followers? Ask and answer questions. Use hashtags to find readers and colleagues. Post intriguing tweets. That’s the real way to attract an engaged audience.


Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web


Ricardo FayetThe next webinar will be on February 6 at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST and will feature Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy. We’ll discuss book marketing and Facebook ads. Sign up now to join the conversation!






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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Indie Author Weekly Update – October 20, 2017

Indie Authors Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update touches on blogging, Twitter, Amazon advertising, and book review sites. They are all topics important to you as an indie author if you want to sell books.

Top 10 Ways to Use Twitter Without Losing Your Soul by G.G. Andrew: “Though it may seem old-fashioned, I prefer to think of Twitter as the online equivalent of a giant cocktail party, and act accordingly (by which I mean practicing kindness and maybe also drinking things with umbrellas).”

[Read more…]

On the Hashtag Anniversary Hashtags Just for Writers

Twitter hashtagLast Wednesday was the 10-year anniversary for the Twitter hashtag and Twitter acknowledged it with the trending hashtag #Hashtag10.

Formerly known as the pound sign, it’s reported that Chris Messina, a former Google designer, invented the hashtag.

According to Twitter, users share an average of 125 million hashtags daily.

Some popular tweets are #FollowFriday, which has been used half a billion times, and #ThrowbackThursday, which has been sent 120 million times. #NowPlaying has been tweeted more than a billion times.

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How I Accumulated 38,000 Twitter Followers

How I accumulated 38,000 Twitter followersI remember when I joined Twitter six years ago. Within the first day, I had four followers, and I recall running out of my office and into the kitchen so I could tell my husband that four people were following me. “Me!” I said.

I was stoked.

I didn’t know back then that to gain followers you had to follow people, so I did nothing, aside from posting a few tweets every day.

Don’t Be a Twit

Then I did the worst thing possible. (I made other mistakes in those days but, hey, I was still learning.) I signed up for an application like TrueTwit. It might even have been TrueTwit I just can’t recall right now. Basically, the application “verifies” that someone who follows you isn’t a bot or a spammer by making new followers click a link. If they don’t click the link, you can’t follow them back, assuming they’re worth following.

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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.)


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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Have you seen these changes on Facebook and Twitter?

Facebook TwitterSocial media is always evolving. It changes, retracts, expands, and moves on.

The only constant about social media is that it never stays the same. New features are added and redesigns occur. Keep reading to find out what’s new on Facebook and Twitter.

Remember when Facebook didn’t have a timeline? Instead it had five small images across what it now known as a timeline and small avatar off to the left. Before that, Facebook was known as Thefacebook and other than the brand color, the early version of Facebook is virtually unrecognizable.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – June 23, 2017

Indie Author Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts on book promotion, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter from Lilach Bullock, Digital Book World, The Write Life and others. Enjoy them!

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to survive the the 100+ heat here in Northern California. Is it hot where you’re at? If so, share with me your favorite tips for remaining cool.

Indie Author Update

Authors, Grow Your Fan Base By Leading A Book Club by Digital Book World: “I have always maintained that the author-as-a-brand is the strongest selling link across the publishing chain. Whether self, indie or traditionally published, the emotional connection forged by dedicated readers is never with a publisher or an imprint—it’s with the author him or herself. This relationship is, more than anything else, built on trust.”

[Read more…]