Unanswered Q&A from the live webinar, Social Media for Authors: How to Make It Worth Your Time, with Jane Friedman.


I love literary Twitter, but over the last year people no longer seem to “like” or RT or respond to my book-related tweets as they used to, whether the tweets about my work or anyone else’s. Just me, or a general shift in how Twitter is being used?

I myself don’t find Twitter as, let’s say, “enthusiastic” as it once was. There’s a lot of noise and people can tune out, especially given the political nature of Twitter lately. I wouldn’t necessarily change the themes/topics of your tweets, but consider if you can boost engagement by using imagery, related hashtags, or including Twitter handles where appropriate. To research hashtags: hashtagify.me / Also try responding to others or joining Twitter chats in your community if they exist.

 

Re: Fb: using personal page vs. “author” or business page. I’ve heard it can be better to use personal page vs. an ‘author’ page, and just managing your privacy settings (i.e., marking your ‘author’ or marketing posts as “public” and restricting everyday friend stuff as just for “Friends”; letting general public “Follow” you without ‘friending’ you

I really like this approach for myself because I’m not using hard sales tactics on Facebook. I comment more on that here: https://janefriedman.com/facebook-for-authors/

 

What's the best way to promote a book giveaway to encourage others to share posts about it?

This all boils down to good copywriting and a good pitch for your book. You should be able to talk about your book in a way that helps hook people, shows them the benefit, or uses the kind of language or social proof they would be attracted to. That might mean quoting particular reviews or using blurbs, saying that the book has an average 5-star rating, or something else that confirms it’s a book worth their time. Sometimes reading Amazon or Goodreads reader reviews can help you see what attracts readers to your work and how they talk about it with each other (how they recommend and sell it from a story or theme angle). You might subscribe to BookBub emails and read the copy that’s sent to promote books. It’s good training in how to write to sell.

 

Would you be willing to reveal any of your favorite sources for appealing free or inexpensive pictures to use with posts?

Sure, my favorite resource is VisualHunt: visualhunt.com – be sure to only search the category that’s permissions-free (Creative Commons).

 

Can you give an example of using your personal page for public-only purposes (not private stuff you only want friends to see)?

Every time I share a blog post, I make it public. Whenever I attend conferences or events, and I post about my activity there (or take photos), I make those posts public as well. If I’m talking about books or media I recommend, that’s public.

 

Someone set up a business page for me. How do I delete it?

Instructions:

https://www.facebook.com/help/223786757631885?helpref=related

 

How does one add “Follow” to a FB profile?

Instructions:

https://www.facebook.com/about/follow

 

Can one preview how Yoast will generate the links from your metadata? I’m not sure if I’m filling out the fields right so I’d like to see them first….

Yes! The Yoast “snippet preview” will show how things look in search results. Also, here are some instructions on setting up the plugin properly:

https://moz.com/blog/using-yoast-seo-for-wordpress#socialsettingup

https://moz.com/blog/using-yoast-seo-for-wordpress#socialusing

https://moz.com/blog/using-yoast-seo-for-wordpress#generalusing

 

What is more important to a Facebook Public Page - followers or likes? And what’s the difference?

Here’s an explanation. In short, people may like your page, but unfollow it and not see your posts. So followers are better:

http://boostlikes.com/blog/2015/10/facebook-follows-facebook-likes-better

 

What do you think of Canva for optimized social media images? Or are there others you recommend?

I love Canva and highly recommend it. Nothing else really comes close (in my humble opinion).

 

Can you talk about using hashtags and mentions to gain more exposure on Twitter and FB?

Hashtags are most relevant on Twitter and you might consider using 1 or 2 per tweet when you’re posting on topics of interest to a community of people who don’t follow you. Hashtags are also needed if you’re live-tweeting events of any kind. As I mentioned before, hashtagify.me is a good tool for researching hashtags that get used and have meaningful volume in your community.

You should mention people on Twitter (by their handle) when you tweet their stuff (mention their book, their articles/posts, etc) – so that they see your tweet – even if they don’t follow you. But don’t do this in a way that would be annoying (mentioning them all the time to get their attention in a kind of smarmy way).

Mentioning people on FB is useful when you’re posting something of interest to them or by them, just as you would on Twitter. Again, it’s not something you want to overuse, as you can become cloying in your mentions.

Here’s a nice article on using Twitter in 15 minutes a day that might be useful:

https://janefriedman.com/twitter-in-15-minutes-a-day/

 

Should I ask the 1000 friends I have on my personal page to migrate to my fan page

It is possible to ask Facebook to turn your personal profile into a fan page. This would be the better option than asking your friends to migrate. Of course, if you do this, you lose the functionality of a personal profile and the history/media attached to that personal profile. But all of your friends become likes on your business page automatically.

 

If you make a meme of a quote from your own book ..how can you share it on social media without making it look like you are promoting it yourself? Or can you?

It may indeed look like you’re promoting yourself, but that might not matter if the information or the quote is useful/helpful to people. This isn’t the No. 1 method I’d recommend for social media sharing, but it can work with a light touch and if you’re not doing daily.

 

What is a Twitter card?

This is the term that refers to the “card” that’s generated in Twitter that previews a piece of content in a pretty way, like this:

Please differentiate the use of Pinterest and Instagram

The answer could encompass a book, but one of the most important differences has to do with demographics and behavior.

  • Pinterest: 75% or more female, primarily adult women who are looking for inspiration in the categories of fashion, cooking, crafting, home décor, and other stereotypical female interest areas. Very shopping oriented – women’s magazines are active here.
  • Instagram: Evenly divided between the sexes, extremely popular with younger people (teens/YA, twentysomethings), very lifestyle driven. People love beautiful photos, whether of landscapes or themselves. People can become “Instagram stars” (this doesn’t really happen on Pinterest). This is a good article to read to learn what Instagram can be like: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-11-30/confessions-of-an-instagram-influencer

 

How do you make a watermark on a photo or video?

Usually you need some kind of video editor, like iMovie or Moviemaker, that can place it for you.

 

Hi! I’m wondering about time management for all of this. How do I corral my social media time so I’m not constantly thinking about it? I love twitter, but it takes over my head.

Everyone comes up with a personal solution that fits their work process or lifestyle, but it can be helpful to relegate your involvement or management to a specific part of the day (or week), then be disciplined about not getting sucked in outside of that time. Here’s some advice that might be helpful:

https://janefriedman.com/twitter-in-15-minutes-a-day/

 

Is it important to have more accounts following you than accounts that you follow on Twitter?

Don’t worry about this.

 

Jane, I have to run. Thank you for an interesting webinar. Can I hire you to help me get this set up.

I don’t offer these services, but here are some people who can help:

Mollie Cox Bryan – a professional novelist and also helps with social media: http://molliecoxbryan.com

Frances Caballo - http://socialmediajustforwriters.com/services/

Grad Student Freelancers – this isn’t on their formal menu of services, but they can help in this area if you ask - http://gradstudentfreelancers.com

 

Stupid question..but Author Central at amazon is only measuring amazon sales, correct? Not book stores or schools etc?

Amazon’s Author Central gives you access to Bookscan figures, which are ALL print book sales that Bookscan tracks (including most bookstores and big box stores), not just Amazon.

 

What is the main reason for high Bounce rates on a website? What does it actually mean?

All it means is that people didn’t go any further than the first page they entered on. It could mean a lot of things—depends on the site—but it’s not usually a statistic to worry about when it comes to author websites.

 

For one who has been hesitant to jump into Social Media, which would you recommend starting with … Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook will likely be easier to comprehend and manage to start.

 

If I have a dormant FB business page, should I shut it down and relaunch as a personal page? And then relaunch the business page later when my book comes out?

If you already have a business page, I’d revive it. Or: If you already have a personal profile, you could pull back to just using that personal profile, and forget about the formal business page. It doesn’t make much sense to me to relaunch the business page later.

 

I write in multiple genres under the same pen name. How do I deliver a consistent message and bio that will appeal to nonfiction, literary, and thriller without seeming confused?

From a branding and marketing perspective, there isn’t really a way to do this effectively. About the only thing you can do is prioritize/emphasize one type of work at a time across your bios/profiles (probably focusing on whatever book is most recent—or most important).

 

Writing is my second career (first career has nothing to do with writing). A lot of my former colleagues are on LinkedIn. Do I join and ""friend them?"" I'm assuming my profile will primarily be about my writing but summarize my past career.

This probably isn’t worth the bother. LinkedIn is usually only relevant to authors of business books or other books that have some appeal to the career-minded.

 

How can I use my ""reading"" time on social media efficiently? Even some of my writer friends (and friends of friends) tend to post a LOT of personal posts and I find myself getting sidelined reading about their kids' bday parties, etc. My solution lately is to just not log in.

On Facebook, you can create customized lists (of friends); by doing so, you can click on that list of friends from your newsfeed (look at navigation on left side), and see only those updates. So I would recommend putting people who post mostly personal stuff on their own list, then creating another list for those who don’t—whom you might be more interested in on a professional level. Then you can be more focused in how you browse updates on Facebook.

Same thing applies on Twitter. You can create lists of users and break them out into columns, and decide which ones you’ll actually look at frequently (or never).

 

Facebook just seems intimidating! So, if I put great effort into Twitter, my blog, and email newsletters, would this be enough to guarantee good results in regards to marketing/promotion?

It is possible to avoid Facebook and still do a good job marketing and promoting. There are lots of variables, of course, and some people will tell you that it’s not possible. But it is.

 

More about updating pages on FB. I have a ton of friends I don’t know on Personal page. Once people have Liked my biz FB page, can I delete them as friends on Personal page, just to get things sorted to go forward?

Sure. I admit to having done this myself in the past. It will upset some, but this is important for sanity. And privacy.

 

I’m having trouble understanding my business page? Can you recommend a tutorial?

Here’s a nice getting started post: https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-create-manage-facebook-business-page

I also highly recommend Lynda.com if you’re interested in high-quality video tutorials. It’s worth the monthly sub fee.

 

How effective is Pinterest for authors?

If you’re in a nonfiction category that appeals to women (crafting, cooking are two big examples), then Pinterest can be exceptionally effective. People who use Pinterest usually have high intent to purchase. But you need great visuals and the patience to find or create them.

 

With a ton of Likes on the personal page and less engagement on the business page, how do we move the interest over to the biz and convert the personal to real friends?

If you’re willing to sacrifice the personal page, you can ask Facebook to turn it into a business page for you. Your friends will turn into likes (and you’ll retain followers). That would be the most straight forward way to do it. (Then you can create a new personal profile from scratch.)

The only other method is the slow method. Turn off following on your personal profile, lock down your personal profile so people can’t very easily friend you (make friending only available to those who have a friend in common) and get active on your business page. Never share/link to your personal FB profile.

 

How effective do you think instagram and tumblr are for nonfiction authors? And is a social media strategy vastly different for fiction vs nonfiction authors?

Both Instagram and Tumblr can be wonderfully effective regardless of your category, although they tend to be a better fit for authors who are trying to reach a younger audience (teens, twentysomethings, thirtysomethings). It just takes time and consistency to see results, as with all social media. I don’t think there’s a big difference in strategy between fiction and nonfiction authors—although sometimes it’s easier for nonfiction authors to come up with material to discuss or post.

Note that Tumblr has a very active literary community, YA community, and librarian community, if you take time to look for it. (Tumblr can feel a bit confusing and insular to an outsider, unfortunately.)

 

How do you automate the posting of your blog to social media?

I don’t recommend automating the posting of your blog to social media unless it’s to a place you don’t care much about. (E.g., for me, that’s Goodreads.) Usually you can automate posting by letting the network know the link to your blog or RSS feed.

 

Do you consider the Amazon author’s page an effective form of social media and, if so, what are best practices?

No. I recommend filling out your profile completely for optimization, but it’s not a place you need to be active. More here:

https://janefriedman.com/amazon-author-central-page/