Which Social Media Channels Should An Author Use?

As an author in today’s marketplace, you will often hear the success stories of book sales after strong social media campaigns, but it can be hard to know where to start and whether the input will be worthwhile. There are many elements that contribute to a successful social media campaign and continual promotion of your work, but one aspect that many don’t consider is which social media channels to choose.

The truth is that picking the most obvious or as many as possible will not always work to your advantage. Your choice should depend on your goals and your audience, not on your personal preference for a particular network. And you certainly don’t need to be on every channel, just the right ones. If your goal is to build a fan base and create sales rather than casual interaction with some of your readers, you will definitely want to check that you have considered the following.

Your Audience
To start you will need to gather information on who your target market is. Some simple elements to consider are gender, age and location. Once you have this information, you can begin to use this to find the best social media channels to fit your audience demographic. People are naturally curious about authors, as though they are a mystical beings, and so it is now very popular for readers to search and connect online.

Network Styles
Each network has a very different behavioural basis. The basis of the network and the demographic of people who use it dictates how it is used and who it is suited to. To give you an idea, a rough guide is detailed below.

  • Facebook
    Facebook is used by an astonishing 71% of online adults, mainly to share snippets of their lives with family and friends. There is however a strong recommendation and ‘sharability’ factor that authors and millions of businesses take advantage of.  Facebook has the best demographic spread of any network online, attracting both younger and more mature users.
  • Twitter
    Twitter is a real-time network, with a limited space for posting. This is ideal for those who have less time and want to share and read short, sharp pieces of information. 26% of the adult population hold an account, being favoured by youth and those you frequent the internet more regularly.
  • Google+
    Google+ offers a lot of the same features as facebook but at the moment remains less popular. Having said this, many authors find it useful and there is an argument that marketing on a network with less competition is of more use. Google+ also encourages users to connect over common interests, rather than just being friends and family, which narrows down your search for potential readers and those in the industry. It’s about meeting new people who love the same things you do. It has a high male demographic, with those over 40 being the fastest number of growing users .
  • Youtube
    Video media has taken a huge boost in popularity among authors in the last couple of years. Youtube therefore offers authors a great way to display various videos online to a vast audience. It is hugely popular for ‘how-to’ videos, and therefore highly ideal for non-fiction authors as well as those looking to distribute book trailers, interviews and advice pieces. It’s less of a place to connect, but with video being such a useful tool in marketing, it’s well worth considering. To read more information on video media for authors click here.
  • Instagram
    Instagram is a picture/photo based network, with real-time engagement, much like Twitter. It tends to attract a much younger audience, but is being picked up by more and more businesses who use it as a marketing catalogue or diary. Authors can post photos of their readers with their books across the globe, inspirational places or objects as well as events and book signings.
  • Linkedin
    Linkedin has often had the reputation as a simple network to upload your CV and achievements, but more recently it enabled a newsboard type feature. It’s ideal for non-fiction writers who want to connect with others in a particular field and further their expertise and reputation. As a fiction author you may be interested in being booked for speaking engagements, and this is also a great place to connect with those in the publishing industry. Linkedin is popular with a more mature demographic.
  • Pinterest
    Pinterest is similar to Instagram, as an image based network. It does however allow visitors to see ‘moodboards’ of your photos, allowing you to keep more of your content visible for longer.  It’s mostly popular with women over the age of 25 but that gender gap is getting smaller. Pinterest is working hard to better its commerce side of the business and is looking to soon allow users to link to purchase things within their photo collections.
  • Snapchat
    Snapchat is an instant photo based network which allows users to snap a photo and share, however the image only stays visible for a short amount of time. It is highly popular among a very young demographic so may be ideal for authors of YA fiction. It is the new kid on the block as far as social media is concerned, but became very popular very quickly.

Social Media Strategies

Now that you have a good idea of who your target audience is, and which social media channels they are likely to use, you can begin to put together a social media strategy. Start by selecting the best channels suited to your readership and yourself. There is little point opening every account possible if you have little time to update them and market successfully. You will gain a much better response if you concentrate on the few, rather than neglect the many.

You will also want to consider the times to post on social media. If you are attempting to attract a global fan-base, you will need to post in real-time for those who are overseas to gain the best possible chance of them viewing your material. If you are looking to attract an adult market, consider posting early morning and evening during commuter times as well as in the evenings for those who work. It is often a case of trial and error, but many of these platforms now offer a free analytics feature to show you how many impressions your posts have made and so you can very quickly grasp the best time to be online.

If you have any questions about social media, social media campaigns or training please do get in touch via www.authordesignstudio.com

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