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. 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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Social Media Predictions for 2018

Last month, I shared “Five Trends Authors Should Know for 2018”. One of those trends is that video will continue to dominate engagement on the Internet.

In fact, short video content generated the most engagement in 2017. This month, Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) monthly newsletter for Members of the association contains an article on strategies for using video in your marketing efforts. Two statistics shared in this article include:

  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
  • Video posts on Facebook have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts.

If you use social media to build your audience, take a look at this infographic “Social Media Predictions for 2018” by Social Media Today. It contains predictions for each of the following social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Note that a focus on video is mentioned for most channels.

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How to Make Your Social Media Interactions More Fruitful

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Engage Your Fans With Polls

Which do you read more: fiction or nonfiction books?

Polling—asking readers opinions—is a powerful tool that you can incorporate into your social media marketing strategy. Social media is about engaging with your audience. Polls are a wonderful tool to use to connect with your followers and fans.

yes noPeople love to give their opinions, so polls are usually popular on social media. Using polls provides you with three great benefits.

1. Polls give you feedback.
Are you struggling with a title for your book? Ask your followers on social media. Give them a choice between two titles and ask them which title draws them in using a poll. Are you wondering which cover design is better? Ask your fans using a poll on social media. Not sure which name to give your main character? Again, use a poll to ask your social media circle which name they prefer. Polls can provide you all sorts of feedback and help you design your book to meet readers’ desires.

2. Polls help you engage your followers and fans.
When you use a poll to get feedback, you are engaging with your fans. You are asking them their opinion and letting them know that their thoughts and ideas matter to you. People are drawn to others that listen to them and take what they think into consideration. You can do this with your followers on social media by using polls.

3. Polls can help you build excitement for your upcoming book.
Using a poll to ask your social media circle which book cover, title, name, or setting they prefer builds interest in your project. When people have input into something, they take ownership of that thing. By asking your followers to help you choose a cover or title, you are encouraging your fans to become connected to your next book. This builds excitement and anticipation. Readers will say, “That’s the book cover I voted for,” or “That’s the title I thought she should use.”

If you want to use polls to engage with your followers more, there are a number of free services on the Internet that allow you to create polls and run them on your blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Some even allow you to email a poll. Two free poll creating services to check out are PlayBuzz and QZZR.

Have you used a poll in your social media marketing? If so, did it engage your fans and give you the feedback you were looking for?

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Convert Your Fans to Customers

Are you feeling like all your social media efforts are for naught? That all your time in social media is going down a black hole?

If you are then, first consider, are you being personal and engaging? Are you adding value by giving insight and information to others? Are you acting in a socially acceptable manner?

Being pushy about your books on social media will turn people off. However, there are some acceptable ways to utilize calls to action to help move fans to consumers.

Watch this short video to learn more.

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A Successful Social Media Strategy

Just how useful is social media in engaging new customers? This is the question that publishers and authors want answers to.

Gallup recently released findings from a poll they conducted in regard to this question.

People have always recommended products to each other. Gallup’s poll found that the top sources for personal recommendation are:

  • Spouse 50%
  • Other Family Member 25%
  • Friends 12%
  • Expert 11%

Only 1% of the individuals polled stated they followed a recommendation from a Facebook or Twitter business page.

What does this mean for you, a publisher or an author trying to promote your books via social media?

This study basically showed that your best social media efforts come from focusing on your existing customers. You want to engage with these people on social media so that they recommend your books to their family and friends.

Simply focusing on getting a large number of followers on social media will not necessarily help you promote your books effectively. Rather, focus on engaging your existing customers so that they recommend your products to others.

Engage your existing customers through creating content or ideas that resonate with your existing customers and encourage their engagement with you. These engaged customers will, in turn, provide the most persuasive recommendations to their family and friends (either through social media or direct contact), thus helping you gain more customers and sell more books.

Go engage your customers!

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