Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's Time To Face Up

Facebook For Authors
Kymberlie Ingalls, Rainfall Press - kymberlie@rainfallpress.com
                                   
Of all the social media giants that pass over the internet – AOL, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat – one thing is common; information overload.  Advice was once given to anyone looking to sell and connect to buyers or a fan base to be on all platforms all the time.  This is no longer the case.  It is best to choose one or two mediums and focus.  It is simply unrealistic to think we have that kind of energy to invest, and people have grown fatigued with social media in recent years.  Find the two that you feel most comfortable with and that you enjoy, and don’t worry about the rest.  Insincerity is easily detected, and people respond more when they feel ‘you’ come alive.
Statistics to know:
·       There are currently more than 2 billion active Facebook users
o   85% of those users come from outside the US/Canada
·       Age Demographics are important to know:
o   88% of those 18-29
o   84% of those 30-49
o   72% for those 50-64
o   62% for those 65+
·       Gender demographics are just about equal
·       Highest traffic times:  mid-week between 1-3pm, or evenings around 7pm.  What this means: You have the potential to reach more consumers and drive higher traffic to your site during peak usage times but people may be more likely to be more engaged in the evenings, especially on Thur/Fri when engagement is 18% higher on average.
·       Photo uploads total 300 million per day
·       People aren’t spending as much time as they used to on Facebook (average 35 minutes per day) but they are checking it more frequently (average 8x per day)
·       More than 60 million businesses have a page
o   40% of Facebook users have never liked a page
·       The sharing of original, user-generated content such as status updates and images declined 21% between mid-2015 and mid-2016.  At the same time, sharing of news articles and other outside links increased. 
Auto or cross posts –  
·       another thing we’ve been instructed to do is sit down and schedule out multiple posts in one session so that they roll out over time.  Here’s why that doesn’t work as well as it might seem: spontaneity is more appealing.  It’s pretty obvious when someone has scheduled a post as it usually reads as a rather dry, canned announcement or proclamation of some sort.  Cross-posting is also obvious because it is labeled as such and is generally more suited to the original platform, thereby falling flat on other sites.  Plus you can’t tag properly and tagging can be an important part of audience targeting.  The bottom line is that if you’re not willing to put the time in, it’s probably not the platform for you.
Groups –
·       Facebook groups can be a fantastic way for writers to connect, trade advice, swap war stories and find new opportunities. Knowing there are other people out there who “get” what it’s like to be a writer can be a huge comfort, and the chance to share experience and tips with people on all stages of the writing journey is invaluable.
o   The Write Life Community
o   Calls For Submissions
o   Indie Author Group
o   Write On! Online
o   Writers Helping Writers
Stories –
·       Camera-First Communications – this means that video and visuals are king.  The camera is beginning to replace the keyboard.  Don’t be discouraged, however.  Nothing should stop you from talking about your writing! 
·       Stories has been a hit on Instagram (also owned by Facebook), but has yet to take off on Facebook.  Not recommended at this time.  It is something they are trying out, so unless you have a radical idea that will shake up the concept, don’t put too much energy into it yet.  It may come and go as quickly as book trailers. 
Facebook Live –
·       Use it, but don’t abuse it!  Studies have shown that people will engage with a live feed but will be turned off if done too often. 
·       Use Facebook Live to talk about an event, let readers see you performing a reading, or perhaps give lessons or talk about your writing processes.  They can comment in real time, so the idea is to interact with them also in real time.  Let them ask questions and answer them as you go – Q&As are always popular.
·       Practice makes perfect.  Become comfortable with the camera before putting it into use.  Learn the ins and outs, use a tripod for your phone or device, invest in a decent and clear-picture webcam
Personal page vs Professional –
·       Know your etiquette – don’t over-saturate your friends by only promoting your work or selling them things.  This isn’t your audience, because it’s a limited market with little room to grow. 
·       Don’t be afraid to be personal on your professional page, but have boundaries
·       Facebook has set up ‘shop’ with the Pages – you can design your own store with photos, buttons for shopping, following, etc 
Branding –
·       Not every post needs to be the same, but have some kind of consistency because familiarity draws people in.  Toss in the occasional surprise to keep people on their toes.
In summary, use social media for what it was intended – to be SOCIAL! 

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