- Where can I find readers? someone asks me at least once daily.
- Who is your demographic? Most authors have no idea.
- How do I connect with them? What’s the best channel?
- Is Social Media just for teens?
It’s not a mystery, but it does take some research, effort, and digging to answer these questions. And no, social is not just for teens. That’s so 2005.
Who Is Your Demographic?
What is your reader most likely to carry in their handbag or briefcase (great exercise from my publisher’s cofounder, Katherine Fye Sears)? This should give you quite the insight.
Make a list. Is your reader a teen girl, a middle-aged stay-at-home parent, or a blue-collar worker? Write it all down. Then, head over to these resources:
- Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that provides tons of great info about our world. Enter whatever search terms you’re looking for about demographics and it’s likely in there. All free info.
- Hubspot: one of my favorite marketing blogs, hands down. If you know nothing about demographics or marketing, this is a great place to start! Their services are spendy, but the blog is free.
- Buffer: next to Hubspot, my next favorite marketing and social media blog. Their blog is free, also, and separated by topics of interest.
Once you’ve determined who your demo is, you’ll have a better idea where to find them.
Where Can I Find my Readers?
I just finished up my Free 30-day Book Marketing Challenge (and am now writing the book, out soon from Booktrope!) and received quite a bit of feedback from authors, bloggers, and small business people. One of the biggest concerns from authors, especially, is their discomfort about being on any social media channel beyond Facebook.
This is too bad, because readers are everywhere! Facebook is indeed the largest social media channel in the world, so being there is definitely important. Remember, however, that you must use your author page (not personal ‘friends’ account), for marketing and selling your work.
Example: connecting with readers, particularly if an author writes YA (Young Adult), is about being where readers are, and that’s on social media channels like Twitter, SnapChat, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and newer channels I probably haven’t even heard of yet.If you write nonfiction, channels like Medium, StumbleUpon, and Twitter are key. If you’re an expert in some kind of business, LinkedIn can be critical to your success.
And don’t forget Goodreads!
Let’s actually look at the data (Source: Pew Research):
According to the last full survey of social media done by the Pew Research Center in September, 2014 (wow, think how much has already changed since then), here’s the breakdown by channel:
71% of adult internet users/58% of entire adult population
Fully 71% of online American adults use Facebook, a proportion unchanged from August 2013. Usage among seniors continues to increase. Some 56% of internet users ages 65 and older now use Facebook, up from 45% who did so in late 2013 and 35% who did so in late 2012. Women are also particularly likely to use Facebook compared with men, a trend that continues from prior years.
23% of adult internet users/19% of entire adult population
Some 23% of online adults currently use Twitter, a statistically significant increase compared with the 18% who did so in August 2013. Twitter is particularly popular among those under 50 and the college-educated. Compared with late 2013, the service has seen significant increases among a number of demographic groups: men, whites, those ages 65 and older, those who live in households with an annual household income of $50,000 or more, college graduates, and urbanites.
26% of adult internet users/21% of entire adult population
Some 26% of online adults use Instagram, up from 17% in late 2013. Almost every demographic group saw a significant increase in the proportion of users. Most notably, 53% of young adults ages 18-29 now use the service, compared with 37% who did so in 2013. Besides young adults, women are particularly likely to be on Instagram, along with Hispanics and African-Americans, and those who live in urban or suburban environments.
28% of adult internet users/22% of entire adult population
Some 28% of online adults use Pinterest, up from the 21% who did so in August 2013. Women continue to dominate the site, as they did in 2013: fully 42% of online women are Pinterest users, compared with just 13% of men (although men did see a significant increase in usership from 8% in 2013). While Pinterest remains popular among younger users, there was an 11-point increase between 2013 and 2014 in the proportion of those 50 and older who use the site. Other demographic groups that saw a notable increase in usership include whites, those living in the lowest- and highest-income households, those with at least some college experience, and suburban and rural residents.
28% of adult internet users/23% of entire adult population
Some 28% of online adults are LinkedIn users, up from 22% in August 2013. The site continues to be particularly popular among college graduates, those in higher-income households and the employed (although the increase in usage by those who are not employed to 21% from 12% in 2013 is notable). College graduates continue to dominate use of the site. Fully 50% use LinkedIn, a 12-point increase since last year. It is the only platform where those ages 30-64 are more likely to be users than those ages 18-29.
Hopefully, the next update will include sites like Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, and other channels which have captured some of the pie. Not sure where YouTube and Google+ are either, as both are owned by Google and clearly critical to our SEO/SMO ranking.
How Do I Connect With Readers? What’s The Best Channel?
The best way to connect with readers is to pay attention to this research, understand what your author branding is (what are your key topics of interest?), and share interesting and compelling articles, quotes, and visuals about those topics consistently on the channels where your the readers of your demographic are.
What’s your genre? What’s the age range? If you’re sticking to Facebook because you refuse to try out something new, and your readers are Middle Grade, well, good luck to you.
It’s not rocket science — none of these social media channels are that difficult to figure out, so here’s my suggestion:
- Pick at least three social channels and follow/connect with readers, not other authors (or not ONLY other authors)
- learn how to use these channels via YouTube tutorials or their Help Sections (most are very user friendly),
- download the mobile apps so you can use them on the go as well,
- and just START.
Social media isn’t just for teenagers, so throw out that old, silly notion. Sure, teens use it and have phones growing out of their hands, but so do most adults at this point. Social media is an integral part of any author’s platform, and it needs to part of yours, too. Social is social, and it’s how adults and professionals network. Every one of my clients comes to me via online connections, mostly through social media, referrals, and networking.
Tip: I find it’s really helpful to join groups on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn — not the ‘buy my book!’ promo groups most authors join, but groups with other interests (i.e., women’s groups, professionals, wellness, etc.), to sincerely build relationships and network. Eventually, someone will find out about your books and the news will spread like wildfire. Trust me.
Do the work.
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