CHRIS SYME: We have lots of names for it: FOMO (fear of missing out), peer pressure, Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS), and more seriously, Internet Addiction Disorder. However we frame it, it can be debilitating for writers.
The amount of time people spend in front of screens is staggering: anywhere from 28 to 44 hours per week depending on the age group. If you write on a computer, your average number of hours per week is probably higher than that. According to Pew Internet, one-fifth of Americans report going online “almost constantly.” Social media use accounts for 28 percent of our online time, according to Social Times. And of that 28 percent, 22 percent is spent on Facebook and the other six percent is spread out over the various other channels.
We are distracted…and stressed.
Social media exacerbates the problem. The noise factor on social media is overwhelming. It’s almost impossible to be seen anymore online unless you already have a huge following or enjoy celebrity status. Too much information passes by too quickly. Eight years ago people were liking every Facebook page they could because it was the shiny new toy. In 2009, Facebook users liked an average of 4.5 pages. By 2013 it was up to 70 (Social Bakers). Add to that the average user has 338 friends. No wonder Facebook now has an algorithm.
So how does an author find success promoting and engaging on social media without spending all day trying? Contrary to everything you may have heard, my advice to authors is to pull back and quit trying to conquer every social media channel out there. The days of amassing followers and being everywhere are over. That is strategy from five years ago. Today, the trend in marketing is moving towards targeting more invested audiences. Less is more. You don’t have to be on every social media channel, just the right ones.
There are four steps to mastering this process of less is more:
1. Finding your target audience with simple research. There are several ways you can do free audience research to define your target:
o Use your Facebook Insights and check that data against other social media channel data you have
o Use the Pew Internet Research 2016 social media update to look at the global data on social media use. Best resource, hands down.
o Do a survey of your readers with a Google Form or free Survey Monkey survey to find out where your readers are. Send out links to your survey in email and in social media. You may want to offer an incentive such as a couple prizes to random responders.
2. Designating your primary channel for engaging and selling. A primary channel is the one place where you engage personally with your readers AND earn the right to sell your books. For most authors that is a Facebook Author page. There are five measures to use to find your best primary channel.
o Find the best fit for your reader/audience demographics.
o Look for the channel with the best overall global numbers. Consult Pew’s data for this. The answer is Facebook
o Look for the channel with the best commerce tools or opportunities to buy a product without having to leave the platform. Again, Facebook.
o Look for the channel that is a good match for your genre. The difference between this measure and number one is that every channel that matches your demographic might not be a good match for your genre. For instance, if you’re a fiction writer LinkedIn may fit your reader demographic by age and gender, but in reality it’s a worthless channel for fiction writers.
o Look for the channel with the best ability to help new readers find you and then convert them to a sale.
3. Setting up outposts on other major social media channels that fit your audience where you only maintain a presence and redirect readers to your main channel. An outpost channel is a social media channel that doesn’t deliver the optimized opportunities of your primary channel but you still want to maintain a presence there. If you are already trying to engage on channels other than your primary channel, you’ll want to consider turning the rest into outposts. Have a presence but don’t engage.
4. Learning how to craft more engaging content where you give more than you ask for and earn the right to sell. One of the chief pieces of learning to use less social media is to revamp your content strategy so that it offers value to your followers and earns you the right to sell without feeling sleazy.
You may need a paradigm shift. There are still be a lot of people out there who will tell you that you need to be everywhere, try everything. My objective is to teach authors how to spend less time marketing and more time writing. You don’t have to be on every social media channel, just the right ones.
You can dig deeper into this system in my new book, Sell More Books With Less Social Media. The book is accompanied by a free online course to help you learn how to implement the system. If you want to spend less time marketing and more time writing, this may be your path to freedom.
Chris Syme has logged over 20 years in the communications industry and is the principal of the award-winning agency, CKSyme Media Group. She is the author of four books on social media, including her newest Sell More Books With Less Social Media which also includes a free online class. She is on Twitter as @cksyme, blogs at cksyme.com/blog and co-hosts a weekly podcast for authors with her USA Today bestselling daughter.
questions? comments? Chris will be stopping in over the day to answer them as she can...