Wednesday, January 13, 2021

J's Thoughts, Opinions, and Experiences on Social Media


Operation Awesome thoughts, opinions, and experiences on Social Media

For our new feature on Operation Awesome, the team is taking a week to share our thoughts, opinions, and experiences on topics we were asked about last year. The first we're tackling is Social Media. Specifically, we were asked how to connect with readers and librarians, which social media platform to use (such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc), and how to use social media effectively without spending hours. 

I have two thoughts to share in regards to connecting with readers.

  1. All (good) writers are readers. Build your connection with fellow writers and you've already found readers! Join up with those who write in your genre and, odds are, they'll be the ones who read that genre. 
  2. There was a hashtag #RR, which stood for Reader Thursday. (Some people have seen schedules where T is for Tuesday and R is for ThuRsday.) It was used like #WW, Writer Wednesday, where tweeters shared long lists of names to "shoutout" to connections and encourage others to follow them. (A more specific version of #FF Follow Friday.) 
    🌊 Those of us with older accounts got lucky and were able to use this. Sorry, but the trend has died. There are still "follow trains" for writers. These are met with mixed results. Some people don't follow back. (Sometimes because Twitter limits the number of follows.) Some will unfollow anyone who isn't "engaged" enough with them. And some people really hate being named in such a train.
    (I've gotten hundreds of followers from such follow trains πŸš‚ and made a few really good friends! And yes, I have actually bought books from several of those people. Click for one I reviewed on Goodreads.)
    So what hashtags might you search for now to find readers? Here are a few:
    • #TBR - To Be Read ~ If they have a TBR list, they're obviously reading, and therefore are readers.
    • #Reader ~ Sometimes a reader is looking to find writers and will use this hashtag.
    • #BookReview ~ If they're writing book reviews, they're obviously reading. For best results, search this hashtag along with the genre you write.
    • #Reading ~ Some people will tweet what they're reading. See if it's something similar to what you're writing.
    • #AmReading ~ Same as above. 
    • #BookBlogger ~ They not only read books, but blog about them.
    • #ReadaThon or #RAT ~ People who are reading a lot of books and talking about them. (One just wrapped up. #BoutOfBooks)
    Remember not to be creepy. Like their posts. Follow them. Retweet. Connect first, sell second. Actually, if you're doing Twitter right, your profile and feed will sell for you. They'll click to see who you are and already find links to your webpage and books. Having a pinned tweet for them to retweet is an excellent idea. (A lot of tweeters believe in reciprocation - follow for follow, retweet for retweet, like for like, etc. ⚠ Caution - Those who do not believe in reciprocation will get harsh 😠 if called out or asked about it.) Pinned tweets should be changed regularly so that your frequent retweeters always know what you'd like shared and have something up top they haven't retweeted for you already. 
    Expect about a 40% return on your Twitter time investment. Yes, that means if you engage correctly with ten people, about four of them will be equally engaging with you on Twitter. Sometimes you'll get lucky and find someone with a really engaged audience, all of who have become loyal to each other. My friend Stu (@Trans1110) had this. Sadly, he passed away years ago. 😭 (Yes, if you do a search, you'll see that he still gets shoutouts, despite being dead and having a suspended account.) 

Which social media platform should you use? The ones that you are the most comfortable with. That's not an excuse to avoid them! Give as many as you can a try. Really commit to learning how to use them well. Personally, I prefer Twitter. That's where I get the highest engagement rate. Facebook has complicated algorithms and rules that change constantly. Oh look, there's an example. πŸ™„

I would also recommend the AllAuthor website. There are a lot of free resources, and even more paid ones. The original members all followed each other on Twitter, resulting in a follow boost in the hundreds. The people who run this site are excellent at promotion. 

As for using social media effectively, consider what social media savvy agents will look at when checking you out. The number of followers is important (once upon a time, the goal was 5000 on Twitter and 500 on your Facebook page). But equally important is how engaged those followers are. How often are you being retweeted/ shared and liked? Especially when you're sharing posts about books. 

Will your followers be useful in promoting your books? Or do you have a connection to thousands of people who really only share posts about sports and don't care about your horror novel? This, again, is where connecting with like-minded writers comes in handy. Writers who are interested in promoting each other. Writers who understand that promoting more than five books a day will feel like spam. 

The other important factor is knowing how many of your followers will translate into sales. 😍Whatever percent you think is going to happen, widdle that down. Sorry, the stars and hearts in your eyes are going to get crushed.🀩 Your 5000 Twitter followers might net you five sales, one of which will leave a review. This changes if you or your book are famous. Bestselling, movie-deal with an Oscar winner attached, type of famous. 

You can up the odds by knowing what creates sales. It isn't usually hard selling. What gets you to buy a book? Good stories in a favorite genre -- the most popular answer in this year-long survey. So remember to mention what genre your book is when sharing it on social media! People want to read what their friends (or followers/ connections/ etc) are reading so they can share in the active fandom. The more someone sees their "community" mentioning a book, the more likely they'll check it out. 

That is why you see authors raving about someone leaving them a review, especially a follower they can tag. That author is aiming for the reader friends of that reviewer. Also, it's an assurance that someone has read it and might be willing to discuss it. Plus, that author has now engaged with the reviewer, deepening the relationship and increasing the odds the reviewer will read more books from them and post more about the author and book. (Obviously, this works better with 4 or 5 star reviews.) 

It isn't just books and reviews that are worth sharing. Blog posts are valuable too! There's a share button at the bottom of this post. Or, you could copy the link and paste it in a post on whatever social media platform you use. What hashtags might you include to get the attention of your followers? If you use Twitter, you can tag me and Operation Awesome. @OpAwesome6 @JLenniDorner

Here are more ways to connect with me:

Follow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey is the Facebook fan page of @JLenniDorner — Please click Like and Follow! Follow @JLenniDorner on Pinterest please Instagram of @JLenniDorner Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Please visit the author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon Please follow @JLenniDorner on BookBub Follow and friend author J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads please Please visit author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords

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