"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Important is Social Media?

We live in a society that has gone virtual. In 2011:
-          More than 100 trillion emails were sent on the internet
-          Approximately 300 million websites were updated
-          More than 2 billion internet users worldwide
-          Approximately 200 million blogs on the internet (BlogPulse)
-          More than 2 billion videos viewed on Youtube
-          Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30
-          More than 96% of them utilize social media
-          Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year with
-          60 million status updates happening daily on facebook
-          Approximately 40% of posts and comments left on social media are about products and brands
I have not included the stats for twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc, but I believe you get the picture.
If so many readers, editors and agents are online, it makes sense that we should be there too. If they can’t find you, guess how much quality time and sales you’ll earn. If you are serious about becoming successful, you cannot afford to slack off on social media. You need to appear in as many places as possible to build your platform.
Of all the social media sites, most authors will tell you their blog has helped them stand out the most. They are a home base for socializing. You can engage people by sharing issues you’re passionate about. You can solicit interest, inspire, educate, encourage and entertain. Guest blogging can increase traffic to your own blog as well.
A friend of mine often says, “The more mud you sling, the more will stick.” The same is true in social media. The more places readers can find you, and the more frequently, the more loyal customers you will attract.
Yes, social media can become time consuming, but not if you manage it correctly. Limit your time online to one or two hours a day, post on your blog at least once a week with maybe a guest post on another site once a month. It is possible to market yourself effectively without sacrificing your main passion: writing your book or articles.
What are your thoughts or tips on social media?


Paula Martin said...

Sylvia, my latest novel came out today, and I've spent most of the day spreading the word! Facebook, Twitter, various yahoo loops etc etc.
I think one of the secrets is interacting with others on line, not just shouting out your book title, but getting to know other people too.
Another good tool has been Six Sentence Sunday - posting six sentence excerpts from your upcoming or released novel(s). These (if you choose them carefully) can act like teasers and I do know people have bought my books because my 'sixes' have made them want to read the book!

Quilters' Quarters said...

guilty guilty guilty ... there are days when I spend much longer answering emails and comments and more emails and more comments ...

I need to schedule morning and evening hour(s) and stick to it.

My retirement is twittering away here! Time to reserve hours for real writing!

Anonymous said...

I spend a few hours a day on social media, but for the most part it is to share helpful blogs, articles, sites. I also like to promote writers/blogs/websites I find helpful to other writers. Of all the time I spend on social media, I take about 5% promoting myself (and even then it's subtle). 'Be someone worth knowing, then your book will be worth reading.' - I can't remember who said that; it wasn't me, but I like it.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Social media will suck up whatever time one gives to it. I've found I have to master it, and then it becomes a useful tool rather than a distraction. Great post!

Kittie Howard said...

Well said! Without personal discipline, social media could devour one.

Jessica Ferguson said...

Hi Sylvia. I really like what Paula had to say. I hate it when I'm pummeled with info about someone's book. Feels like I'm nose to nose with a telemarketer. I prefer relationship building or even a little small talk.

My book was about an Elvis look-alike so I contacted all the Elvis lover/fan clubs. We shouldn't forget about hobby clubs, and special interest groups that might be interested in our books. Just because social media has taken over doesn't mean we need to forget those who don't use it AT ALL. There are a lot of readers out there who don't even own a computer!

Good post.

And thanks for doing the interview with me for BWG. :) Fun!

Jeremy Bates said...

great post. I also agree with the others

Rob-bear said...

I'm on Facebook, and I find it very invasive. Which is why I'm planning to shut it down.

I will, however, keep blogging.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Paula Martin who says use teasers. As for posting: more and more bloggers I know are cutting down on the time they spend blogging. They have to or they'll never have time to write! But getting out there on social media is VITAL if you want to get you and your book noticed. We all have to do it!

Excellent post, Sylvia.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs