Thursday, June 27, 2013

Social media news for writers: partnering smart and more

First, thanks to the nice folks who took my begging to heart and gave Social Media News for Writers a shout out on their Facebook pages or blasted out a tweet. Thanks to you, we got a nice jump in page views. Please please please help us continue to reach new readers.

Now, what's in this week's news? How smart entrepreneurs partner with power Pinterest users; Amazon expands its fan fiction publishing program with comics; Facebook has one million advertisers (maybe one of them is you?)

Partnering on Pinterest: Yes, we're still trying to figure out how to attract attention on Pinterest for books, amid all those pictures of fancy hair styles, cupcakes and party decorations. This article talks about how smart entrepreneurs have partnered with popular Pinners to attract followers. While we're talking visuals, this article has a few quick tips for using Vine, Instagram and Pinterest.

And in case you need more convincing that Pinterest is worth your time, this infographic from VentureBeat reminds us that a pin has a shelf life a thousand times longer than a tweet.

Facebook advertising: Yes, I have a love-hate relationship with advertising on Facebook, but according to this article, Facebook has 1 million active advertisers, most of them small businesses. And if you want to get serious on Facebook, Social Media Examiner tells you how to develop a Facebook marketing strategy.

And speaking of Facebook, here's the latest research on why people 'like' your brand page.
Did you know you can restrict some of your Facebook friends from seeing certain types of your content? Me neither. If this is something you're interested in, though, Mashable has an article about it.

Manage your social media like a pro: Companies hire people to tweet for them, whether it's a person on staff (usually young and not well paid) or a marketing firm. Social media managers have tricks to help them whiz through their days. Want to a learn a few of those tricks? Take a look at this article from Mashable. And if you think you'd rather hire someone to handle your social media for you, you might want to read this article from Social Media Today on what questions to ask before you choose a firm.

Your website is your most important tool: A few weeks ago, we ran a link with resources to help you build your own website, so you didn't have to rely on a website developer (or pay those high fees). Here's an article from Mashable with even more tools and tips.

Another important tool is your email service. Sendgrid has been a business-to-business provider for a few years now as the folks who handles the emails for many of your favorite social platforms. They've just launched an email service for individuals and small businesses like you and me, and you can find out more about it here.

Google Reader's last days: If you're like me, you've waited until the next-to-the-last-minute to find a replacement for Google Reader. We've written about this in earlier posts, but there's a new reader out there you might want to look into. Social news aggregator Digg is being refashioned into an RSS reader (read about it in the NY Times). There will be a free version but also a suite of other options.

Also here's an interesting article from MisEntrophy on the swirl of speculation over why Google Reader is going away--it's our browsing habits, people--and whether or not there still is a core of people who like to linger over their reading material.

Amazon monetizing fan fiction: Remember that announcement from Amazon a few months ago, that they were going to start publishing fan fiction in an arrangement with Alloy Entertainment for Alloy's franchises Gossip Girls and Vampire Diaries, among others? Amazon is expanding the concept, announcing that they've brought Valiant Comics into the same program.

Free: You know how you sometimes need some artwork for an ad or promo piece you're putting together, or maybe some music for the soundtrack of the video you're working on, but you don't want to spend any money on it? This article has links to four free fair-use libraries that might come in handy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Social media news for writers: a million 'likes' on FB and more!

In this week's news: getting a million 'likes' on Facebook and a potentially very helpful new feature on Facebook for discoverability; the lengths one authors goes to for publicity; avoiding pitch fatigue; George Takei is outed for hiring a ghost writer for his social media.

Clickable hashtags on Facebook: This could be very helpful in getting your posts seen. This week, Facebook added clickable hashtags, enhancing the ability for users to do real-time search on the platform. It's taking a page from Twitter: by adding clickable hashtags, you can see what people are posting on particular subject or breaking event. Details are a little thin, but theoretically this should aid in discoverability, too, as your post with a hashtag could be seen by anyone who clicks on that hashtag. Ultimately, it will be used to push ads to people who are using or viewing a hashtag in a particular category--books, for instance. You might be able to target ads for your dystopian YA novel to someone who tags a post #HungerGames, for instance. And FB reminds us: they have a Superbowl-sized audience every night of 88-100 million Americans who log on. 

Trending hashtags will be coming, they promise. You can read a little more about in in this Mashable article.

Want a million 'likes' on Facebook?: A recent photo did just this, and data scientists at Facebook wrote a paper on their analysis of the event. The bottom line: a crazy cascade of reshares. (Via Mashable)

Don't count out YouTube: This infographic explains it all in figures: where the money is on YouTube, viewers, etc. All it takes is one great visual idea--just ask Psy!

The lengths we must go to: No doubt you've heard about the lengths author Jennifer Miller has been willing to go to in order to flog her debut novel, The Year of the Gadfly. I have lost count of how many times I have seen articles about Miller's attempt to talk to 100 book clubs in a single month, her attempt to garner publicity for the paperback release. She's using a variety of tools to get book clubs to sign up for her marathon effort. You can read more about her attitude toward book promotion in this Fast Co. article.

In the 'there must be a better way' department: Does it seem sometimes like your book publisher's marketing efforts don't seem to be a little, uhm, scattershot? In this article in Locus Magazine, Cory Doctorow, author and technology gadfly (and editor of blog Boing Boing) asks why book publishers, in order to make sense of publicity and marketing efforts,  don't use the customer relationship management (CRM) systems that other businesses use to keep track of interactions with customers.

Build It and They Will Come: If you're the do-it-yourself type and want to manage your own website, this article from the NY Times is pretty comprehensive and will give you the names of some good free services to try.

Pitch Fatigue: This article from Fast Co. was intended for entrepreneurs who have to pitch their idea for a new product or company over and over, but could apply to writers as well: how to keep the pitch sounding as enthusiastic the 50th time as the first.

Getting better traction on Twitter: Buffer is offering a new service: it's partnering with Moz to analyze your Twitter followers and make suggestions to help you get more retweets and a better click through rate on your tweets with links. Or so they claim (like a 200 percent increase in RTs. Believe it. When. I. See. It.)) This service is probably too expensive and requires one has a good number of followers to make it worthwhile, but perhaps your publisher will give it a spin.

Making reading social: Here on Endpapers Notes, we've mentioned efforts to make reading social before. Here comes Bookshelf, an app that looks to replicate the Goodreads experience (to an extent; let's hope it doesn't fall into any of Goodreads' bad habits).

You may have heard that George Takei, the former Star Trek actor who vaulted to internet fame in the past few years for his hilarious Facebook content, was just outed by one of his ghostwriters. That's right, Takei isn't solely responsible for his content. This will be an interesting test of the principle of authenticity. Folks frequently ask if they have be the one to write all those tweets, FB posts. etc--it's so time consuming, can't you just hire someone else to do it for you? And of course you can (I met Shaq's social media manager once! a busy woman) But you'd better be upfront about it or your followers can end up feeling cheated. It will be interesting to see if this revelation ends up damaging his relationship with followers.

Hey--thank you for reading this. I've gotten nice notes from authors and even people in marketing and public relations who read this blog for the tech info they can't find elsewhere. I'd really like to grow the readership of this blog, however, so if you find this helpful, please give it a shout out. Link to it on Twitter or Facebook or in any forum you frequent where writers congregate. Think of it as helping your friends as well as helping me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Social media for writers: the I'm-at-a-con-and-forgot-that-its-Friday post

Sorry this is late getting posted! I'm at World Horror Con in New Orleans and lost track of the day of the week (that happens sometimes.) I'm going to be on the social media panel here today but first I'm going to a workshop on promoting yourself given by Random House guru of all things digital, Matt Schwartz (if you ever get a chance to hear Matt speak, grab it.)

Apologies of the rushedness of this post, but let me just launch into it:

1. Godin's advice: We all get discouraged sometimes by the difficulty of breaking out on the web. So I thought it would be helpful to start with some wonderful advice from Seth Godin on why we need to keep trying new things:

"The most common thing people ask me about is how to get picked, a shortcut to success, a way to spread an idea or build a platform without doing a particularly large amount of hard work.

Getting picked is fine if it happens to you. But it's not a plan. It's a version of waiting and hoping.

We're quick to claim credit for the good fortune fairy when she randomly shows up and picks us. The thing is, the good fortune fairy has to picksomeone, and this time, (if you were lucky) it was you. But that's not a plan.

We can't help but amplify the stories of Hollywood and Vine, of being plucked out of obscurity, of the seventeen-year-old with talent who yes, indeed, got picked and cashed out. We blog about and talk about the one in a million YouTube viral sensation, the breakthrough that came out of nowhere overnight. But that's not a plan.

A plan involves steps that are largely under your influence and control. A plan involves the hard and dreary and difficult work of a thousand brave steps, of doing things that might not work, of connecting and caring and bringing generosity when we don't think we have any more to bring.

When your plan works, take a bow. You earned it." ("Sure, But That's Not a Plan" from Seth's blog)

2. Bunch of Facebook news: Most welcome news is that Facebook is consolidating its advertising options. It had grown to a mystifying 27 different ways you could advertise on the site, too many for what is self-service (the way the vast majority of us use it.) (Via Entrepreneur).

Social Media Today joins the bandwagon of people asking if Facebook is worth advertising? (And just to keep things in perspective, while updating a briefing on social media usage today, I saw the factoid that Facebook has 1.11 billion monthly active users. That's 'billion' with a B. By comparison, the movie Iron Man 3 sold 50 million tickets. That's 'million' with an 'm'.)

If you decide to run a contest on Facebook anyway, Social Media Examiner tells you how to do it.

3. Twitter chats: I've said before that I've not had great luck being the guest of a Twitter chat, but in all fairness, both times I was a guest to chats that were new and hadn't developed their audience yet (and that's partly why a smart chat will pick their guests: they're looking for someone who has Twitter followers and can bring their followers to the party.) There's a new tool for managing Twitter Chats, Twubs, and if you're thinking of starting your own regular chat on Twitter, you might want to check it out. (Article via Mashable).

Twitterlator: Speaking of Twitter tools, are you looking for a professional grade tool to help you manage multiple Twitter accounts? I heard of this one via Alyssa Milano (okay, via some interview with Milano, but still.) It looks pretty good.

Buying on Twitter just got easier: Chirpify lets you add purchasing-via-credit-card to Twitter ads.

4. Are you mad NOT to self-publish?: I don't know about you, but I'm seeing increasing evidence that traditional publishers will be moving toward the model of signing authors who have already developed their own following online. (Sure, there'll always be exceptions for the incredibly irresistibly written book, but...) Here's Hugh Howey, author of Wool, who built his own following first to become an online sensation before signing a deal for the print rights only to his books, on why he thinks any author would be mad not to self-publish first.

5. Engaging your blog's audience: More advice on why you don't want to use your social media channels to hold one way conversations. Social Media Today talks about engaging your readers; Social Media Examiner on five creative ways to make your blogs more engaging. 

6. Text messages for marketing: Too expensive for most of us but if you're a deep-pockets author, this infographic makes it plain why marketing via SMS, or text messages, is a great way to get read (because people read their text messages, whereas they mostly ignore what they see if Facebook and elsewhere.) Eye-opening statistics in the infographic.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Social media news for writers: brand new & promising service on Twitter

This week's post is quite brief. There actually was a bit of a lull in the social media development world this week, which in turn meant slimmer pickings for stuff you might find useful. Oh well, it's bound to happen once in a while. The first item is pretty interesting, though: Twitter is rolling out a new advertising capability that may help you grow your email list--and, by extension, your audience.

Something new on Twitter: It's not available as a self-service ad yet, but Twitter just rolled out a new advertising service that has the potential to help businesses (such as you, writer-business) to grow your email list pretty easily using Twitter. I urge you to (a) look at the graphic, which is an example of how one of these direct marketing tweets looks, and (b) watch the video at the bottom of the page, the Baer Facts, where Jay Baer explains how this works. The importance of growing an email list is something we've talked about here before, and if this works (and marketers don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg by overusing it, as Baer says here) the potential is pretty exciting. 

Life Without Influencers: It's always nice to have someone with a bajillion followers retweet your tweet or share your Facebook posts on their wall, but this article from Read Write Web will give you some suggestions for getting better uptake of your tweets when you don't have influencers to help push the word out. (And, to keep things in perspective, you may recall from some earlier posts that in many cases those influencers are either paid to endorse your product, or co-opted. Just so you don't go beating yourself up for not being picked up organically.)

Make sure you see the tweets you really want to see with Twitter lists: Let's say you follow 3,000 people on Twitter. And let's say you don't actually care about what all 3,000 people are saying (some you followed because they followed you, some seemed like a good idea at the time, yada yada, you get the picture). Let's say you want to make sure you see the tweets from only your twenty best friends--the way to make sure you can see their tweets is to put them on a list. Only, well, over time Twitter found that people weren't using the list function so much. So now they're back with an even better list function (or so they claim) and you can learn all about it in this article from Mashable.

More creativity on Vine: You have probably heard of Vine by now, Twitter for 6-second videos. There's been a lot of buzz about the platform, though the it seems to be mainly used by comedians (on the flip side, if you like to see comedians trying out goofy stuff for free, you're in luck). This article from Social Media Today highlights what a few videos made by brands, which might get your creative juices flowing.

Keeping Your Audience Engaged: You go onto social media platforms--Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, a blog--to give your readers a way to connect with you and as a way to find new readers. The trick to having social network sites push your content out on the platform, and hence reach more eyeballs, is to show engagement--get more comments on your posts, more retweets, "likes", get the picture. But how do you engage your followers? This article from social Media Today gives you some basic (and still important) ideas as to how to do that.

Speaking of feedback, I'd like some feedback from you. Are you finding these articles helpful? Do you need a little more "so what?", more of an explanation of how you can use or apply this information? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.