Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and LinkedIn – they each invoke the Marmite reaction from us. You either love it or you hate it.
I love Twitter; I adore Facebook. I haven’t ventured into the Tumblr or Instagram domain as yet. I do have a LinkedIn account that I avoid as much as possible – it feels too grown up for me; like I’m a student who stumbled into the staff room.
Love them or hate them, if it wasn’t for the ability to share on social media sites most of you wouldn’t be reading this blog, my books would remain undiscovered and my friend list would be much shorter.
Social Media sites are where we sell our wares. Hopefully, this is done in a subtle way; dripping out promos in amongst the chit chat, shared jokes and networking, and NOT in a buy, buy, buy way.
I’m a naturally chatty individual. My school reports always said the same thing, ‘if she stopped talking and worked she could make something of herself.’ Hmm, I wonder if any of the TED speakers or stand-up comedians ever received similar reports.
As I matured (!!) I used my ability to chat and engage others as a beneficial part of my career. Socialising was a necessity when working in hospitality and remains important within the holistic health sector. Putting people at ease and making them feel great about themselves is a rewarding life path. Interaction is a good thing.
But where do Facebook and Twitter fit in? I dedicate my twitter account to my writing career. I engage with readers and other authors. It is the most supportive group I am involved with. I have made some wonderful new friends and discovered an array of new blogs, books and websites thanks to this platform. I wrote a post about my top ten favourite blogs last week which I found through Twitter; you can read that here.
On Facebook, I run several pages. I have my personal page where I share sites/videos/images that may be of interest to my friends while also helping to promote all my entrepreneurial buddies who run small businesses.
I have a page for my motivational blog http://www.facebook.com/resolutionchallenge which also covers my non-fiction books. Then there is a page dedicated to my young adult fantasy fiction http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson. I told you I loved Facebook!
There are many people who dislike this platform, and I respect and understand that, I see every day how people misuse the site. For me, it is a place to chat, share, engage and interact with my readers, family and friends who live far away, and to meet fellow writers/bloggers. If I may refer you back to my school reports; Facebook allows me to chat for more than 140 characters!
I did wonder if the time had come to cut back when Facebook implemented their most recent changes. I told myself to give it a few months, and if my organic reach dropped significantly then I would look elsewhere, which upset me as I do enjoy using this platform.
Luckily I have continued to reach a decent amount of people per post. With my fantasy fiction page, I used the insights button to work out where my followers were based (90% in America), and targeted my posts for this audience and time zone. It means I schedule a large portion of my posts to go out at 2am UK time, but I am greeted with comments, likes and shares when I get up.
With my motivational blog Facebook page, I like to share inspirational quotes, resolution updates and my recent blog posts. This page was ticking over slowly but with the release of my young adult fantasy book, I had neglected it quite a bit. Taking an hour out of my day, I looked at the insights for this page and realised the majority of my followers were UK based and the same age as me. We also had a lot in common. Taking this information on board, I decided to post a funny picture instead of my usual uplifting messages of encouragement.
One week after posting this image, my Facebook page received 299 new page likes, and 11 clicks on my ‘shop now’ button. The image I shared received 1,524,736 views, it was liked 59,817 times, received 16,956 comments and was shared 16,830 times. My inbox was overwhelmed with notifications, and all from sharing one picture.
The lesson I took away from this was one that relates closely to writing – you MUST know your audience. I had assumed that my motivational quotes and inspirational messages were enough, but I forgot one fundamental factor – having a sense of humour is important too.
Since I posted this image, I have had a wonderful mix of interaction on the page. Followers are digging deeper and discovering posts, links and quotes from years ago that they are resonating with. It has resurrected my faith in Facebook. None of the stats above were paid for – I didn’t boost the post or create an ad. Organic reach is possible if you take the time to look at who is liking your page and how they are using it.
My non-fiction book has become visible to another group of people who are sharing their knowledge and increasing my reach. We may write alone, but we must market ourselves as loudly as we can. For me, Facebook and Twitter work tremendously well.
I’m interested to hear about your success with social media sites, especially where you haven’t used paid advertising. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
I must add a closing note to stress that when I found the above image I tried to trace it back to the source. Unfortunately, it had been shared across the platform so often that I was unable to find where it originated. Since deciding to write this post I have discovered a website that includes work from the artist – you can find the link here.
‘Share’ Image courtesy of Master isolated Images at Freedigitalphotos.net