Are You at Risk of Being Locked Out?

On February 26, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Internet giants like Google (owns YouTube) and Facebook (owns Instagram) can censor content on their platforms.

Locked Out

Conservatives claim the tech companies have violated their First Amendment rights by removing certain messages or videos, or shutting down their accounts. The court ruled unanimously that these companies are private forums, not public forums, and therefore not subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.

This ruling means that individuals and organizations cannot sue big Internet tech companies under the First Amendment for decisions on content moderation. In other words, if YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter remove your content or shut down your account, you have little to no recourse.

Maybe you are wondering how this affects you. I think this ruling has some big implications for Christian authors.

1. Your Social Media Account Could be Shut Down or Censored.

As a Christian voice on social media platforms, Christian authors risk being shut out and losing out. I know Christian authors who have had this happen to them on both Facebook and Twitter.

2. Amazon Could Remove Your Book from Its Website.

Last summer, Amazon removed a number of books written by former LGBTQ people, after being pressured by LGBTQ activists. Amazon already limits where ads for Christian books can show up on their website. This Internet giant—that sells about 50% of print book sales and 80% of ebook sales—could choose to not allow any advertising for Christian books or remove more or all of the Christian books from their website.

Jesus told his disciples: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

When it comes to censorship by tech companies on the Internet, this instruction would translate to: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Eggs in one basket

You are putting all your eggs in one basket if:

  • Your books are for sale exclusively on Amazon.
  • You mainly rely on social media to promote your books.

Shrewd authors diversify. They make sure all their eggs are not in the same basket by:

  • Having their books for sales in multiple outlets online.
  • Having a robust website where they collect email addresses and send out regular messages directly to everyone on their list.

Sports enthusiasts will tell you that your best defense is a good offense. The same is true for marketing. An offense-oriented marketing plan utilizes multiple avenues for selling and promoting books. Do you have an offensive marketing plan?

Related Posts:
Amazon: Christian Authors Beware
Are You Taking This for Granted?
Censorship: It Could Happen to You

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Photo courtesy of MasterTux.

Are You Making These Social Media Mistakes?

Are you using social media to draw people’s attention to your books? If you answered in the affirmative, then I suggest you take a moment to evaluate how you are doing.

Ask yourself: “Am I making any of these mistakes?

5 mistakes

Related Posts:
Two Truths You Should Know About Social Media
Dear Miss Guided:
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

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Are You Familiar with TikTok?

Do you write books for Middle Graders or Young Adults?

 

If you answered yes to this question, then its time to familiarize yourself with TikTok.

 

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms: The app’s monthly installs

surpassed those of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat last year. Experts predict that TikTok’s popularity will continue to grow.

 

TikTok allows users to create and share micro-videos—up to 15 seconds long—and enhance those videos with songs as sound effects. Video content is extremely popular with Generation Z—the generation of digital natives.

 

Check out this infographic to familiarize yourself with this important platform for reaching your target audience.

 

 TikTok Infographic

Related Posts:
Two Truths You Should Know about Social Media
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

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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.

Related Posts:
Not Everyone Uses Social Media
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

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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.

Related Posts:
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
Are You Using Social Media Correctly?
Are You Using Video?

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Photo courtesy of stevepb.