A mind-boggling 78 percent of Americans have a social media profile. And a little over half of them are on more than one channel. It is a given that authors can develop loyal audiences and sell more books with the help of social media. But as numbers of users rise, the pressure to “be on every channel” also rises, as authors succumb to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Even though it may be true that you have potential readers on every social media channel, it is a waste of your time and resources to try to connect with people everywhere. As the emphasis in social media marketing switches from number of fans (reach) to connecting and building loyal fans (engagement), it’s time to build a social media strategy around developing a troop of engaged followers that will help carry your valuable content to their friends. It’s time to learn how to get more engagement on less channels.
There are four key steps to building this new strategy: find your audience, designate your primary channels and optimize, build your outposts, and upgrade your content quality. In this post, we’ll tackle step one.
Find Your Audience
Before you can designate your primary channels for engagement and build your outpost channels, you need to define and find your audience. I recommend using a simple formula I call the “3 W’s” to start out: who, where, and why.
If you have a social media channel on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, start by looking at your audience data. You’ll get a good picture of their basic demographics: age, gender, location, and even likes and dislikes. When you get a basic picture, cross reference that information with the general demographics of all the social media channels you use—you can find that on the Pew Internet site here. Take note of the differences between the two, if any.
After demographics, you’ll want to look at the where. Reference those Pew Internet numbers again and find out how many people are on each channel. Do they match the results you’ve found on your channels? Look at the engagement rates on your social media channels. Where are your posts getting the most likes, shares, comments, and shares? Which channels match the demographics of your core reading audience the best? Which channels have the best user demographics worldwide?
Next, take a look at the why. What are people doing on those channels? What are the core behaviors there? Sharing? Buying? Real-time news watching? Getting recommendations? Each channel has its own core behaviors and strengths. Some are better for selling. This popular graphic called “social media is like wine” can give you a basic idea of why users hang out on a given channel. The point here is all social media channels are not created equal.
I recommend doing more sophisticated audience research that includes a reader survey that you can promote on your Facebook page and through your email list at least once a year. The research should ask your fans for basic demographics (age, gender, reading habits, book buying habits), where they connect on social media, what they do there, and how often they are on each channel. This will give you a much better idea of how to reach them. You can incentivize the survey with prizes to get a better turnout.
This post takes a mile-high view of the first step in developing a more effective social media strategy. If you want to learn how to implement the four-step process in detail, enroll in my June master class. It’s an on-demand 60-minute class that will teach you how to build a more effective social media presence using less channels. You’ll learn all about the four-steps in depth plus get a bonus of my Content Bucket System to help you shape up your social media content to maximize engagement. It’s only $19 and you can attend live or watch when you have time. Learn more about the class that launches on June 28 here. Here are the links to the other three steps: