How’s That Working for You?

“How’s that working for you?” This little, yet powerful question was made popular by Phillip McGraw, of the Dr. Phil show.

Let me ask it of you, author. When it comes to social media, “How’s that working for you?”

How's That Working for You?

When I consult with authors, I frequently hear this phrase—or one similar:

“I’m on Facebook. I have a lot of followers. They like and comment on what I post, but people aren’t buying my book.”

In fact, studies show that, on average, 53% of people who follow brands (businesses) on social media don’t buy anything from them at all. They just want the content (the information) the brand shares.

Authors hear “build a platform” and jump into social media trying to gain an audience. Often, they gain followers, but get frustrated when they don’t see these followers convert to book sales.

One reason for this is that people are not in a buying frame of mind when they are browsing social media. It is much easier to sell someone a book or product when they are already “shopping”. Someone who is engaged in the shopping process is much easier to persuade to buy something than someone who is not thinking about buying a book or product.

This does not mean that you can’t or won’t ever sell a book to someone via social media, it just means that it is harder. This is why I tell authors to not just use one tool (social media) to market their books.

Social Media is not your only marketing tool.

Instead, social media should be used in conjunction with other marketing tools like:

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is about giving your audience useful information that has value for them. It is information that your target audience is thirsty for. It’s about creating blogs, articles, video, and audio that provides valuable information and insight for your audience. One study showed that 7 out of 10 consumers would rather learn about a product or company from interesting content than from an ad.

2. Email Marketing

Email is more effective at reaching consumers than social media. Emails prompt purchases at a rate of at least three times that of social media. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. When people like the content you are creating, they will give you their email address in exchange for receiving more content directly. This gives you the opportunity to market your books directly to a group of interested people.

3. Media Interviews and Speaking Engagements

Speaking is one of the best ways to sell books because people buy books from authors they know and trust. Speaking to a group of people develops that trust and allows an audience to get to know you. Media interviews work similarly. After people hear you on the radio or a podcast, they feel they know you and are more likely to purchase your books.

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

I will be teaching four continuing sessions on “You CAN Indie Publish & Market Your Book” at the upcoming Great Philly Christian Writers Conference in August. This seminar focuses both on how to publish your book as well as how to begin marketing your book—using more than social media. I invite you to attend the conference and get the information and knowledge you need to successfully publish and promote your books.

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Two Truths You Should Know About Social Media

81% of Americans now have a profile on at least one social media platform. Social media has become as integral to our lives as cars and telephones. If you are an author, you cannot afford to ignore social media.

In today’s world, you are expected to have a website on the Internet if you sell or provide any type of service. The Internet is the new Yellow Pages. This same expectation is now being extended to social media.

Two truths about social media

It is common for people to ask you for your phone number, email, or website URL. However, now I am running into more and more people who ask to connect with me on social media instead of wanting my phone number or email address.

For years, publishers and authors have been using social media to expand their reach and connect with their readers. Social media is still a great tool for doing these things. To use social media effectively, let these two truths to guide you.

1.  Expect to Spend Money for Exposure

The social media platform that you use controls your exposure. Every social media platform employs algorithms. These algorithms determine who sees what you post. In other words, every time you make a post on a social media site, not all your friends or followers see what you have posted.

In fact, the algorithms on these sites (especially Facebook) are designed to narrow your exposure to those friends, fans, and followers who interact with your posts the most. Thus, your reach becomes narrower and narrower until it only touches those people who already are invested in you and your books.

Through algorithms, each social media platform decides what content they want to highlight and bring people’s attention to. For example, Facebook has decided that they are going to focus more attention on Groups and Events moving forward. In addition, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have all participated in censoring users based on various political and religious views.

social media

Facebook is especially notorious for their changing algorithms and decreasing post reach. On average, in 2012, any given Facebook Page post only reached roughly 16% of the Page’s fans. In 2019, that reach has plummeted to less than 6%.

Social media platforms make their money off of ads. To increase ad revenue, they have slowly decreased post exposure, creating a pay-to-play atmosphere. In other words, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses, artists, authors, and the like to make an impact on social media without spending money on marketing on these platforms. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank on social media ads to increase your exposure and experience some success.

2.  Video Is Dominating

According to Cisco, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic this year. Due to the increase in video consumption online, Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter are pushing videos. In other words, these social media sites give more exposure to videos than static posts.

Video, whether recorded or live-streamed, has become increasingly necessary to maintain a wide-reach on social media sites. Whether you like it or not, to remain visible on social media, you need to use some video.

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Are You Using Video?

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Photo courtesy of stevepb.

Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?

Using social media to promote your books is a smart marketing strategy. Social media is a great way to gain exposure for you and your books. One survey found that 90% of marketers report that investing in social media has a direct impact on their revenue.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snapchat—with so many to choose from, how do you know where you should spend your time and energy?

Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?

Which social media platform(s) you choose to spend your time on should be driven by the audience you are trying to reach. However, not all social media sites are great for businesses. According to Social Sprout, people tend to follow brands and companies on some sites more than others. Here is the breakdown:

  • 66% follow brands on Facebook
  • 41% follow companies on Instagram
  • 35% of people follow brands on YouTube
  • 32% follow companies and brands on Twitter
  • 17% connect with brands on Pinterest
  • 14% follow companies on Snapchat
  • 6% follow companies on LinkedIn

Based on these statistics, authors and publishers should choose and focus their time among Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, as these sites have the greatest percentage of users following companies and brands.

To decide which of these channels you should invest the most time in, consider your target audience’s age.

Baby Boomers

If you are trying to reach Baby Boomers (those over 54 years of age), this group prefers Facebook. However, only 37% of people over age 65 use any social media. If this is the age-group you are trying to reach, then you should not spend the bulk of your marketing time and energy on social meda. Stick to more traditional marketing strategies.

Generation X

Surprisingly, Generation X (ages 38 to 54) spends more time on social media each week than Millienials according to Nielson data. This group spent nearly an hour more each week on social media. Facebook has the most Generation X users, followed by Instagram.

Millennials

Millennials (ages 22 to 37) rule Instagram. There are over 30 million Millennials on this social channel. Instagram boosts a higher engagement rate per follower than Facebook does, however, the channel does not allow clickable links in captions.

Over half of all Instagram users are aged 18 to 29.Twitter is another good channel for reaching Millennials. Twitter’s largest segment of users are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Generation Z

Generation Z (ages 6 to 21) prefer YouTube over all other social media channels. According to a survey by Visual Objects, YouTube is the most visited website by people age 18 to 24 years.

This generation also likes both Snapchat to Instagram. While there are nearly four million more teens on Snapchat than on Instagram, teenagers appear to use both channels regularly.

You have limited time and energy to spend on marketing and on social media. Choose the channel(s) you use carefully so that you have the greatest exposure to the people you are trying to reach with your message.

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Photo courtesy of geralt.

Are You Taking This for Granted?

Censorship. It’s a big concern for many people. The problem appears to be growing, not diminishing.

Last year, the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) launched the Internet Freedom Watch. One of the tenants of this organization is to protect and stand up for freedom of speech.

NRB saw a growing problems of viewpoint censorship on the Internet, especially suppression of Christian and conservative views. The organization has been documenting incidences of social media profiles that are being censored or shut down due to conservative or religious content.

The major social media players—YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—have all participated in some type of censorship. These social sites have suspended, shut down, or demonetized accounts due to their religious or political beliefs. As this trend has grown, citizens have become concerned.

In addition, each of these companies now use algorithms that determine who sees the content that is posted. No longer are users assured that their followers and fans will see what they post. Rather, each social media site determines who sees what. Some people feel that this is another form of censorship—control over the flow of information.

As the concerns grow, new options are being offered. There are two new sites offering an alternative choice for social media users.

1. AllSocial.com

AllSocial.com is a brand new social media platform that aims to be the way social media was meant to be. This site does not use an algorithm. All posts made are shown to all a user’s followers. In addition, all points of view are allowed and users will not be banned for religious or conservative content.

2. Blessings Through Action

Blessings Through Action‘s goal is to provide a virtual community for Christians on a social media platform that allows people to engage and encourage each other to more action.

I applaud the efforts of both of these services. However, I know that they have a huge uphill battle. I have seen many social media sites come and go over the years. A few have risen to the top—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest—and dominate most social media users attention.   A few other sites that are geared toward a specific topic— like Goodreads for book lovers—have also survived and thrived.

While I think your best course of action is to continue to develop and grow an audience on the social media platforms that you are already established on, I would also encourage you to check out and support these new social media platforms.

Let’s not take our freedom for granted. Lend your support to those who are helping ensure that we will be able to maintain our freedom of speech. If we fail to do this, one day, we may not have the freedom to publish Christian books.

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Don’t Abandon Facebook

Instagram appears to be the hot new social media site. That site is growing by leaps and bounds. However, before you jump on the latest trend. Let me caution you:

Don’t abandon Facebook.

Yes, Facebook has received a bad rap lately. Yes, Facebook’s algorithms are frustrating and leaving many out in the cold. But, Facebook is still the largest social networking site.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that just about one out of every four Facebook users think they have no control over what appears in their News Feed. The survey found that the older the user, the more likely it is that they have not taken steps to influence their News Feed with the tools that Facebook provides.

You can still be effective on Facebook. The best place to start is by educating your friends and followers about how they can have more control over their Facebook News Feed, especially in respect to seeing your posts.

You can show your followers how to prioritize who to see first to make posts from people or Pages appear at the top of their news feed. Facebook explains how:

To view your News Feed preferences:
  1. Click the down arrow in the top right corner of any Facebook page (example: your home page).
  2. Select News Feed Preferences.
To adjust your News Feed preferences:
  • Click Prioritize who to see first to make posts from people or Pages appear at the top of your News Feed.

Side note: While you adjusting your preferences for your own News Feed, make sure to prioritize posts from Christian Small Publishers Association’s Facebook Page so that you don’t miss any of our great post with useful information for you.

After you have encouraged your friends and followers to prioritize your posts, next follow these recommendations for posting on Facebook and other social media sites for maximum effectiveness.

Co-Schedule looked at the numbers from 10 different data-driven studies to find out the optimal number of times to post on each social media site. The company’s research found the following:

  • Facebook: 1 post per day
  • Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
  • Twitter: 15 Tweets per day
  • Pinterest: 11 Pins per day
  • LinkedIn: 1 post per day

Remember, you don’t have to post on every social media network. It is best to focus on two platforms and master these before spreading yourself too thin.

If you are already invested in Facebook, don’t abandon that platform. Instead, educate your followers on how they can see all your posts in their News Feed. Then, once a day, give them information that enriches their lives.

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