Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Put All Our Eggs in Facebook's Basket

Most people who follow my blog know me as the author of the Kailmeyra Series. But I also work extensively with authors, both traditionally published and indie, on building their brand. 

My mantra these days seems to be "build your platform and readers will come." And the majority of the time the response I get is "Everyone's-already-on-Facebook-why-can't-I-just-make-a-fanpage-and-call-it-a-day?"

That would be a great idea, if Facebook wasn't continually changing their policy. 

Take, for example, Facebook's latest "update." Rafflecopter did a great job explaining it here, but to sum it up, at the beginning of November we will no longer be able to use the "like our page" for promotions and giveaways.

I've said it for a while now that Facebook's continual policy shifts diminish an indie author's ability to use their platform effectively. I've never understood the reasoning behind not allowing everyone that "liked" your page to actually see your posts. And now, it seems, Facebook is at it again by limiting an author's ability to find new followers.

Not to social if you ask me.   

However, we need not fear. There are other platforms that actually do a better job of gaining reader awareness. And so, fellow indies, I have compiled a list of must-haves. Best news is that most of these sites are super easy to maintain.

Instagram:  I cannot stress how completely powerful this social media site is. Remember, Instagram is designed to be used on a smart phone. While you can keep track of what's going on via computer, all the sharing and such goes on through a phone app.

Pretty shocking stats show that Pinterest is one of the most influential sites when it comes to sales. Too, this is a great way to show readers your personality. And while setting up boards does take a bit of time, maintaining them is only a few minutes a day.

One of the big daddies of social media. Twitter is a great way to get the word out to thousands of readers. But remember, social media means being social. Get on Twitter and have conversations, 160 characters at a time. I've met some hella writers on twitter as well as my Literary Manager. :-)


If you write anything middle grade or higher, you simply must have a Tumblr.

But wait, you say. I already have a blogger blog ... can't I just count that one? 

Of course, any blog is extremely important. But you must know your audience. And if you write for anyone under the age of 25, those readers love Tumblr. The good news is you can import all your blog posts from Blogger to Tumblr. Check it out here. 

After the great blogger piss off of 2012, when Google decided to do away with their Google Friends Connect program, most readers weren't exactly forming a line to sign up for another Google platform. But hold on for a sec. Google Play is gaining momentum in the publishing industry, authors are now using their "hangout" platform to connect with fans, and there are already 300 million + people on the site. Mark my words, Google aint out of the running yet. Here's some info on finding out more about engaging your audience on Google+. 

Finding places to connect with readers is an ongoing challenge. With Facebook's constant fixation on tethering fanpages so the only avenue administrators have is to "boost a post," author's must look to other sites to increase their reach.

So I say, find new baskets. Share the love. Get off Facebook and see what else is out there. I think you'll find that most of the sites mentioned above are more than happy to welcome you into the fold.

And so I'd like to know. Which social media site do you find to be most valuable for gaining new readers? 


  1. As usual, Beth you have some great points to consider. I am surprised you left off the reader platforms such as Goodreads, Library Thing, etc.

    I've never trusted FB and find their relentless changes without listening to their consumers potentially the beginning of their death-knell.

    I started with social media on Twitter and have found some of my best friends there (and my literary manager), however, have difficulty in keeping up with the conversations while dodging all the "buy my book" posts. And frankly, my time for socializing has slimmed down considerably over the past year or two. I do miss the days when we used to chat and learn what people were working on, and how their ideas came about, etc.

    Instagram - I want to like it, but I don't like not having the choice of posting from whatever device I might want to post from. Again, restricting my selections to things I don't want is not going to make me a big fan. And having been a hermit for the greater part of the past year, I don't go places to take pics, and when I do, I don't care to post what I'm having to eat, etc. It doesn't interest me. What I am interested in is how the tool can be used to help further my platform without the "buy the book" posts and taking pictures of things which are just not natural to me.

    I am on all the platforms you mentioned, but find time management an issue for getting to true engagement on them at this point.

    Twitter remains my favorite by virtue of the hashtag creating the virtual conversation... something other platforms have attempted to replicate, but haven't yet mastered.

  2. I didn't include the reader networks because the post is already too long. We'll look at those another day. :-)

    And I agree with you. I love twitter, but we have to find a way to teach new indie authors that no one likes a narcissist. Posting should be an 80/20 ratio (meaning 80% of the time you're posting something social and fun, 20% is for promotional purposes).

    Regarding Instagram, check out apps for the site (like Repost). You'll find that it has a Tumblr feel, which I love, and it will keep your account active for those times you've been locked in a dungeon and can't take pics of your own. The point is, Instagram is where your readers are. Bottom line, if you're not there, you're missing the party.

    Hope this helps!

    1. I just typed out a full response and blogger ATE my response.

      I'll check out the apps on Instagram (tried one and didn't like it), but I have a bigger issue with Instagram because it is solely picture related. I agree Instagram is where my readers are, but the question is not whether or not they are there, it is how to interact/engage on this platform. Or bottom line, how will this help me expand my brand/audience.

      With my target audience, there is a fine line between being noticed and being noticed as lame. I'm not a selfie queen, nor would pictures of me be a huge draw for my audience. I don't take pics of food (and don't really have an interest in the same). I respect the privacy of my family and friends, and therefore don't post pictures from family gatherings. There is a limit of the number of pictures I can post of my dog.

      I am basically a hermit. I go from the day job to home to my office to write. Like the dog... there are only so many pictures I can take of my office - it doesn't change.

      So what I'm saying is how do you build an audience in a photo platform when you really don't have photos (not on a regular basis) that will hold any interest for your audience.

      I hope you understand, I'm trying to see how to utilize this platform effectively.