This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Book Promotion

What are the top Social Media Platforms that are REALLY for Writers? I’ve been wondering about this a lot lately, so I buckled down and did the research.

I was asked a few weeks ago about the social media platforms I use, and my answer was considered unacceptable – or at least very uninformed. I was told that I should dump Facebook and go with Snapchat instead, because that’s the newest, up-and-coming social media platform.

social media platforms

Images like this get attention on social media. You know why. (I love this picture.)

For writers, Social Media is today a sort of grassroots syndication. If you want to get your words read, you need to become at least minimally savvy about social media.

What you must do first is to decide whether or not you want to get involved with Social Media at all. It isn’t for everyone. Really, it isn’t. If you hate it, then don’t do it.

But if you feel like Social Media Platforms give you, the shy or withdrawn writer, a way to network with people easily and without having to put on the right kind of clothes, then you should just jump in! It can enrich your life.

What You’ll Get Here:

  • Why you should consider doing Social Media at all
  • What NOT to do on Social Media
  • Social Media Orientation, asking yourself: What Media Should I Use?
  • How to Manage Your Social Media: recommended tools
  • Resources for Demographics and Stats
  • Social Media Platforms: The Ultimate List (when to use what and why)
    • Facebook
    • YouTube
    • Twitter
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Snapchat
    • Tumblr
  • Social Media Sites to Delete

Why do Social Media at ALL?

Done right, Social Media is the most effective way a writer or artist can establish a platform. This is how you make people aware that you exist. It’s how you establish what’s called Your Reach. Publishers and agents alike very much appreciate a creative person who understands how to pull people together.

The easiest way to prove that you can do this is simple. Your website should draw people to visit it, stick around for a while and comment on it. The point is to engage people and get them interested or excited about what you’re doing - and to be enthusiastic about what others are doing, too.

You can bring people to your website in a number of ways (guest lists from book signings, mailings, literature magazine advertisements, etc.), but the most effective ways are through Social Media Platforms. Why? Because if people are already online and inside one of these Platforms, they’ll be right where they need to be to click-through to your site.

According to Pew Research Center, 65% of adults now use social networking sites – a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade. This isn’t going away.

What NOT to do on Social Media?

Some writers treat Social Media like the plague. They feel that it’s only become more noise – something to filter out.

When you look at all the hash-tagging that has gotten so out of control you don’t even know what the post is about – or when you see people plastering GET MY BOOK notices everywhere – it does make you wonder about Social Media.

Consider it this way: If I as a fellow writer am annoyed by this sort of thing, could any of That Stuff actually win readers over in any way? No, of course not.

If you want to know how to create posts that get the right kind of attention (rather than annoyed eye rolling across the globe), read THIS.

Social Media can be a constructive and inspiring way to network with other creative people and to find the readers who love your work. But it takes time and sincerity.

What Social Media Should I Use?

There’s a lot of talk about Social Media and the writer’s need to utilize as much of that as possible. But the truth is, there are a lot of options out there. Do you really need to do all of that? No, you don’t.

But you do need to know what’s out there, who uses those outlets, who doesn’t use them - and then figure out which Platforms really fit you and your needs.

For writers, Social Media is today a sort of grassroots syndication. If you want to get your words read, you need to become at least minimally savvy about social media.

I don’t expect you to become an overnight guru. No one does! But I’m going to give you a basic rundown of what’s actually out there, so that you can decide for yourself if it’s something you want to pursue or not - and how.

How to Manage Your Social Media Easier

Unless you have a personal assistant who can handle all your media distribution needs, you will quickly get burnt out on it. There are some pretty slick Social Media Management Tools out there. Most of them only handle one type of social media – like just Pinterest posts. If that’s your primary Platform, that may well be the best option for you.

Several management tools handle maybe 2 or 3 Platforms, typically Twitter and Facebook.

Hootsuite is a highly respected Social Media Manager (and a good resource for helpful Social Media stats). It enables you to track every comment, and to manage 100s of networks.

Buffer comes highly recommended by many professionals, and it’s able to handle many Social Media Platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Currently, no one is able to handle more than this.

Is there more than this? Oh yes! There’s quite a bit more, and more than I could really list here. In fact, these aren’t the only major Platforms, not if you think globally.

Cutting What You Don’t Need

So you’ve got to be smart. You’ve got to be particular about the outlets you choose because it’s unlikely that you’ll need them all.

Remember too that you should only join in on a Platform you like and understand. Example: I am not on Twitter because I just don’t understand it - in the same way I don’t understand The Cloud (the mysterious computer thing). There’s no value for me there, so there’s no way I could add value there.

Go where you feel comfortable.

Demographics and Stats

There are a lot of helpful studies available these days - finally! These are the sources I found particularly helpful in my research. (In alphabetical order.)

China Internet Watch provides a comprehensive report on how likely Platform users are to click-through and make a purchase. This is extremely interesting information, but I must warn you: this should not be the primary factor in choosing the right Platform for you.

Journalism.org has published reports based on Pew Research. In this report, you can see how many Social Media Users actually use more than one platform to get information. Not surprisingly, most people only use one source. Guess which one.

Pew Research Center has been studying the Internet and collecting data about it since 2005, so their data encompasses a good stretch of time. Here you can find the demographics (based on gender, age, education and income) of Americans using the major Social Media Platforms.

The top performing Social Media Platforms (for America) are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (and in that order).

Smart Insights has published a wonderfully visual and organized bar graph that shows the most popular Social Networks (not just Social Media Platforms) - so this list includes things like WhatsApp and Tumblr, which is pretty cool.

Sprout Social presents slick infographics in this report. In it, you find more detailed demographic information for certain Social Media Platforms. Includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and Snapchat.

Statista is one of the major go-to sites for stats. If you don’t know about this yet, this is a hot resource for writers! What I’m linking to here is a list of reports they provide about Social Networks.

Quantcast offers a comprehensive list of the TOP Websites (not just Social Media Platforms) and is able to independently measure this on a monthly basis. Pretty cool.

Social Media Platforms: the ultimate list

Facebook – yes, it’s still #1

According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of online American adults (aged 18 and up) use Facebook, which statistically hasn’t changed since 2014.

You can also access the Facebook Company Page, where you can see some basic company stats. As of June 2016, Facebook has 1.61 billion active users per month. These numbers agree with what other, independent studies report.

The only reason to NOT be on Facebook is if you are allergic to Social Media. Period. If you only choose one Platform, this should be the one.

YouTube

If you have a book trailer, it certainly couldn’t hurt to get it on YouTube! If you open up a channel and decide to create regular content, this can potentially open up a lot of doors for you.

For writers, a video of you reading your latest story will only take flight if you have a strong camera presence and the sound is clear. If you’re going to do this, you need a recording studio set-up somewhere.

Non-fiction material like cookbooks can make a killing here, especially if you love to show people how to cook or bake. Most YouTube users are between the ages of 25-34.

If you have a love of video content and being filmed is something you enjoy, then you should absolutely tackle this Platform! If you don’t, then don’t. Creating good content for video takes time and energy, so it may end-up being something you do every once in a while (such as video interviews, book trailers, etc.).

Twitter

If you can learn to use and love Twitter, then you should definitely use this Platform. Fully 60% of their users will click to buy an item from someone they’re following. That’s an incredibly high rate.

Here is Twitter’s own page about their company stats.

If managing Tweets is something you enjoy, then it cannot hurt you to use Twitter. This is where literary agents can be found (seriously, almost all agents use Twitter). So it can be a brilliant method of networking and sharing. (Warning: do not query via Twitter!)

Pinterest

Only use Pinterest if your posts are highly visual. If you are an artist, I highly recommend using this Platform. It’s worth noting that Pinterest users are highly responsive - in fact, they are 10% more likely to make a purchase than users of other Platforms.

When not to use Pinterest? If there’s nothing particularly visual about what you do, I don’t think it’s worth your while.

Instagram

Instagram users are highly engaged. They are 58 times more engaged than Facebook users and 120 times more engaged than Twitter users. According to Hoot Suite, more than half of Instagram users are under 30 years old, so this is considered The Millenial Platform.

Your posts must be highly visual, preferrably photo or video. If you’re already on YouTube, you should be on Instagram too - but only if your material is for that demographic.

LinkedIn

This is the Platform for professionals. If you are a nonfiction writer targeting professionals - for example, you’ve written a How-To Manual - then this is absolutely your Platform, or it should be. LinkedIn is a highly international network, with fully 70% of their users coming from outside the U.S.

This has also been a hotspot for professional networking, so if you’re looking for educated people to work with on future projects, this is The Place to go.

Snapchat

Snapchat material (highly visual) only lives for 24 hours and then it’s gone - deleted. So this isn’t really a traditional Social Media Platform so much as a network. But it’s gaining incredible attention because it enables Internet-savvy kids (who never knew a world without cellphones and the Internet) to better time manage their clicks.

According to The China Internet Watch, 76% of Snapchat’s users follow through to make purchases. Most Snapchat users are young, between the ages of 13 - 24. That means your writing must be for that age group.

Graphic novelist? You bet! Get in there, asap.

If you ARE that age, then go for it! But if you’re over 40, you will be considered antique. You won’t fit in and you will feel it - unless your material really is targeted for this demographic.

TUMBLR

Unless you write about fashion trends, you do not need to be here. This is for teens looking for hot fashion trends. Not books, not artwork.

Sites to Delete

There are many Social Media Platforms you can simply delete now, because they’re slowly dying. If you have an account with one of these, you can just close it.

  • Ello
  • Flickr
  • FourSquare
  • MySpace
  • Periscope
  • Vine

Keeping Social Media in Check

I do recommend using Social Media to network, to advertise, and to essentially get your work out there and in front of people’s eyes. But I would also warn against over-doing it. It can become an addiction, one that not only takes you away from your writing, but from your Real Life.

How to prevent that?

Schedule your times for Social Media with purpose and intention. Be conscientious about it.

Does this help you?

Write below, let me know. If you’re curious about a particular Platform that I didn’t include on this list, contact me. I’ll check it out for you!

Keep creating, no matter what.

 


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This entry is part of the series
Book Promotion
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Chazda Albright

Chazda Albright

L. K. Chazda Albright is the co-founder of Great Storybook and does so with a passion for writing and illustrating stories and getting to know other creative people. Come and get to know her! Chazda is currently developing several projects, including an urban fantasy MG novel, a new musical production for kids about Polemics, and a book marketing checklist for authors.
Chazda Albright