The Most Effective Social Media Channel Is…

By Rachel Thompson

Easy: the one you like to use the most! Sounds basic and simple, but with all the advice flying around about ‘author platform’ and being everywhere at once (not possible, I’ve tried), what’s an author to do?

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Let’s Deconstruct.

OVERVIEW

Each social media channel (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn) is designed differently, and this is based on branding.

 

  • Are you someone looking for a job? Use LinkedIn.
  • Want to chat about many different topics and not worry about being too wordy? Use Facebook (however, keep in mind that many people check from their mobile device, so short updates are always better).
  • Busy and only have time for a few check-ins and quick replies? Use Twitter.
  • Visually oriented? Use Instagram.

A key point in choosing is not only what is most comfortable for you, but also where your demographic hangs out. Let’s review some of the most popular sites and what appeals about each one.

SNAPCHAT AND INSTAGRAM

Although Facebook still remains the number one photo sharing site, Snapchat is ‘driving impressive photo-sharing traffic with 350 million photos per day. A Pew Research survey found that 9% of cell phone users now use Snapchat, and 18% use Instagram’ (Source: Social Media Examiner).

Most authors I talk with are not only NOT on these sites, most have never heard of them! I’m personally on Instagram and have found it very easy to use – and because Facebook now owns it, it’s easy to open an account and find friends easily. Instagram is the fastest growing site globally* (Source: Techcrunch) — you need to be there.

*Instagram active user base grew by 28% in the last six months of 2013, had 90 million active users in January, 2013 which has doubled to 180 million one year later.

TWITTER

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 and I love it – most of the time. There are many pros and cons to every channel, and Twitter is no different. The best piece of advice I have for any writer new to Twitter is this: don’t spam (repeatedly share) your book links. Nobody cares, and you can be blocked and reported for spam (not to mention, you’re violating their rules). Besides, you have a bio where you can fit two links (I use my website and the Amazon link to my latest release). Confused about Twitter? Read their incredibly detailed Help Section.

I primarily use Twitter for connecting with readers, reviewers, bloggers, and other influencers. Focus on following using keywords (I use ManageFlitter) like those I just mentioned, your genre, or any other specific topic of interest to create a more interactive following. The absolute best way to grow? Follow others, retweet, respond.

If you’re a YA or New Adult author, you need to embrace Instagram and/or Snapchat, and Twitter – these are the sites where your customers hang out.

FACEBOOK

No matter your age, Facebook is pretty easy to figure out. You open an account, and you type stuff. Pretty basic. If you want to get fancy, you can upload a picture. In fact, of those who only use one social media channel, Facebook is still the clear winner (Source: Techcrunch).

What’s more difficult is to focus your interactions on the same types of topics mentioned above. If you are looking for reviewers, then you need to find those folks and interact with them – and by interact I don’t mean the ‘Buy my book! Review my book!’ types of messages; more, to read what they share, comment, share, build a relationship.

In addition, Facebook requires that if you are selling product or service (a book, consulting), you are required to have a page (where people ‘Like’ your page, as opposed to ‘friends’ on your personal wall or timeline). Tip: Use your author name, not your book title. Brand the author, not the book.

Regardless, you need to have both as an author or business, and you should be conscious of not being too sales-oriented on your personal wall.

GOOGLE+

More popular than people think, Google+ now outranks Twitter in popularity, behind only Facebook. They also have pages, for the same reasons as Facebook, so it’s important that you post to Google+ regularly for one main reason: it’s a Google product and is therefore important for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).*

*New data this week is suggesting that G+ is a ‘dead man walking.’ (Techcrunch, 2014 and rebuttal here). We shall see.

Say you post something similar across Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ — if you then search your name or those keywords on Google, your Google+ post will likely show up nearer the top.

It’s worth noting that if you use Hootsuite to manage your accounts (same applies to other desktop time management applications as well), you can only connect your Google+ Page (not your personal ‘circles’ account).

PINTEREST

Pinterest has exploded over the last two years. I find it a wonderful place to find visual inspiration and the concept is so simple: you create pin board (pick a theme, for example, All Things Purple) and starting pinning purple things that you see on the site OR that you upload yourself.

People then like and/or pin what you’ve found to their boards, etc. You can connect with both Facebook and Twitter followers, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with the various following limitations that other channels impose.

I visit Pinterest usually in the evening and share something pretty or chocolate (my food board is titled, ‘Great Food I Will Burn’). This channel works because it’s visual and easy to use. And it you use Hootsuite (my preferred tool), you can schedule in any picture.

Tip: I suggest scheduling in rather than only live tweeting or sharing, because you end up with a glut of Pinterest shares all at once. Spread them out.

A FINAL WORD ON SEO

Even if you’re unfamiliar with how SEO works (and come on, most of us are), keep in mind that having accounts on all these sites – not necessarily active, but open – helps your overall ‘reputation management’ (see this short video by publishing expert Lori Culwell for specifics).

Bottom line: create a platform, use the social media channel that appeals most to you as well as your demographic, and don’t forget to shut it all off so you can write!

 

 

 

 

 

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