Want to write a book? Think it’s just about writing a good one? Think again. Social media needs to be taken seriously. Below there are seven reasons why you need to give it some attention . . . but first what does social media look like to me?
What social media outlets do I focus on?
Since no one person can write books AND be active on the dozens of great social media sites, I focus on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
As you can see, I have a personal profile and a business page on Facebook—and I am active on both pages. To make posting easier, my business page is connected to Twitter, so whatever I post on my business page gets posted on Twitter, too. I do a little Instagram on the side, but I don’t take it seriously. For me that’s just fun.
How big is my reach?
My numbers change daily, but here’s an idea of what we’re looking at:
Twitter: 62,000+ followers
Facebook: 13,000+ friends/fans between my pages
Pinterest: 11,500+ followers
That’s a lot of folks I have the potential to reach every day. Even if I made a connection with ten percent of those folks, that’s a large gathering of friends!
So why should you take it seriously?
1. Social media matters to publishers. I’ve been in publisher meetings where Klout scores, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans garner a lot of attention. Why? Because publishers see the friends, fans, and followers as potential buyers for your books. Magazine ads, media tours, publicity staff to pitch your book, and giveaways cost money. If you can garner your readers’ interest in your book by posting fun photos, interesting insights, and real-life inspiration, then it’s a win-win for everyone. Your readers get to be a part of the publishing process, the publisher gets more sales, and you are the hero for building a bridge between the two.
2. Social media sells books. I’m not a mathematician. I can’t graph my ROI (return on investment) or how much I make per hour on social media through sales. But I can say, my social media connections have grown over the years and my book sales have, too. (A + B = C, maybe?)
I’ve also seen the publishing advances I get for my books grow as my social media presence has grown. Part of that is because of increased sales, and part of that is because of the “tribe” I’ve built and the potential for future sales.
3. Social media connects me with readers—and connects them with each other. One of my favorite things is to see my readers and friends connecting through social media and becoming friends themselves. They get excited about my books together! I also regularly turn to my social media friends to help me brainstorm book ideas, to get ideas for character’s names, and even to get quotes for my book! (Yes, Facebook fans have been quoted in my books!) People love being involved in the writing process, and I love including them.
4. Social media starts conversations. As communication and branding expert Dawn Nicole Baldwin says: “I think what’s important for most organizations to remember is that the heart of social media is being ‘social.’ Is what you’re posting creating a conversation or just informing? Sharing information is okay but at the end of the day if you’re not engaging people in conversations, you’ve failed.” While selling books is important, to me spreading the message is even more so. Through social media can start conversations about things that matter to you. It’s a place to share your heart, your passion, and your message.
5. Social media outlets like Pinterest make concepts visual. Have you ever heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? This is great news when we’re trying to share our message and when we want to get people interested in our topics. When you post on Facebook or Twitter, adding a picture gains more interest. And when I develop great graphics for my blogs and post them to Pinterest, I easily double my pageviews!
6. Social media doesn’t take as time as you think. With all of these outlets I probably spend an hour a day posting or tweeting or pinning. This seems like a lot, but I do it while I’m writing on my exercise bike or when I’m standing in the grocery store line via my cellphone. A little here and there throughout the day goes a long way!
7. Social media gives you a platform to share TRUTH. Think about this: In one day you have more access to people around the world than most missionaries from history had their whole lives. “Go ye into all the world,” Christ told His disciples. It’s a message for us, too! And what an amazing way to do this from the comfort of our own couches or coffee shop chairs. God has plans for the people He wants to reach, and in the amazing way that God works He can use us—and social media—to spread the good news of Jesus! All it takes is a few posts, pins, and tweets!
Want further reading? I just finished reading Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media by Phil Cooke. I highly recommend this book to help you share YOUR story!