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 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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You Must Sow to Reap

One day the phone rang. I picked it up and Ross Perot was on the line. He said, ‘I love your book.‘”

I was talking with a writer who was telling me about a book she published in the 1990s. It was a politically conservative title. She wanted to get the word out about her book, so she mailed copies to a large number of conservative politicians including Ross Perot.

Ross Perot paid attention to this unsolicited book that he received. He read it, liked it, and contacted the author. He then helped this author get additional media coverage for her message.

This author talked about the new book she was hoping to get published and then commented, “Now you have to do your marketing online.

I quickly laid that myth to rest. While there is much talk about author platforms and using social media to promote books, the Internet is not the only marketing strategy an author has at her fingertips.

Much like cold calling, cold mailing is an acceptable marketing practice. Mailing copies of your books to appropriate influencers can pay off.

When my anger management book for teenagers was published, I mailed copies of the book to middle school and junior high school counselors to help spur sales. I also sent copies to counseling center directors. These influencers all worked with the target audience for my book.

I looked at mailing these copies of my books as sowing seeds. The goal was to raise awareness for my book. Farmers know that without sowing seeds, there is no harvest. Seeds grow into plants, and plants produce fruit.

2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of righteousness.” I figured that my job was to sow the seeds, and God’s job was to make those seeds grow.

I believe that when we publish books that bring Glory to God, that He does cause the seeds we sow to grow into a harvest. Sow seeds with your books. Mail copies to influencers and reviewers who can help spread the word about your book.

The Biblical principle that “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6) applies to all areas of life. So, sow your marketing seeds generously.

To seed your marketing efforts, I encourage you to make a list of influencers in your target audience you can give copies of your book to. Then mail some books and trust God to bring a harvest.

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Are You Using This to Build Your Author Platform?

To get published and sell books, you need a platform.

Most authors and aspiring authors have heard this message at least once, if not multiple times. But, what exactly defines a platform and how does one go about building one?This is the focus of the upcoming Learning Lab I will teach at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference on July 26. This four-hour seminar, “Build Your Author Platform”, will teach attendees six manageable steps to build and grow an online author platform through content marketing.

Content marketing is simply sharing useful information that educates or inspires your target audience so that they begin to trust you and your message. You want people to trust you so that they, in turn, buy your books. After all, studies show that people do business with those they trust.

Brian Jud, president of Book Marketing Works and APSS, says:

“Repetition of your message is important to reach the decision-making tipping point. It may take up to ten “hits” on prospects to get them to buy.”

Using content to reach your audience provides repetition of your message and gains people’s trust.

Many authors feel that using content to market takes too much time and energy. In my seminar, I show authors how to create and repurpose content to save time and get the most out of every piece of content they create.

Repurposing content involves taking one piece of information and showcasing it in a number of different ways. This practice provides many benefits.

  1. It increases productivity and efficiency.

As an author, you have spent hours researching and writing your book. All your knowledge does not need to stay contained within the pages of your book. You can use the information you share in your book and break this down into smaller pieces to share on a regular basis through content marketing on the Internet.

  1. It expands your reach.

Sharing content and repurposing that content in a variety of formats spreads your message. The more places your content is listed, the more people will read and hear what you have to say. This way people are exposed to your message on the channels they prefer and in a way that speaks to them.

  1. It extends the life-cycle of your material.

Large amounts of data and information are uploaded to the Internet on a daily basis. With so much information, your target audience might miss what you are posting. Repurposing your content for multiple channels not only increases the changes that your audience will see it, it also allows your content to be made fresh in new formats, extending its life cycle.

  1. It increases your visibility.

This is a simple marketing principle. The more places your content appears, the more people are likely to see it. Visibility is extremely important in marketing books. The competition is stiff. Visibility allows you to stand out from the crowd.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use your content to market your books and expand your reach, I encourage you to attend my seminar on building an author platform at the upcoming Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

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