Monday, September 24, 2012

Social media 101: Platform overview

Last week we talked about goals. And don't get me wrong, I love goals. I can't function without goals. I'm a goal addict. But, let's get to the fun stuff. Here's a quick overview of the most popular platforms I'm most familiar with and why they may or may not make sense for writers.

Facebook (or the "who needs a filter?" platform)

Why? Because people are using it. There are more than 900 million users (as of April 2012). In June, engagement was up to 379 minutes per person per day (that's more than six hours!). Seven out of 10 Americans who went online in April visited Facebook.

Why me? That depends on your goals. If you're looking to engage potential readers, then a Facebook brand page could be a good fit for your book or for you as an author. If you can build the platform, Facebook is a great place to engage readers, provided you have content they're interested in. If they like your page, you're posts appear in their newsfeed. No searching for updates. It's all right there.

Do you do it, Liz? As an author, no. If/when I get a publishing deal, then I may create a Facebook page. But until then, I don't see having great success with Facebook.

Twitter (for those who are funny or secretly wish to be funny)

Why? Again, people are using it, 555 million to be exact. According to TechCrunch, 15% of online adults in the U.S. have used Twitter, with 8% using it daily (as of March 2012), and they're using it for a lot of different reasons (great infographic here). That's a lot less than Facebook, but it's still a lot of people.

Why me? Or, why not Facebook? Because Twitter is different. Unless you're a total creeper, you use Facebook to connect with people you actually know or with brands. On Twitter, there's a much smaller creep factor. You can connect with people without seeming like a stalker. If you're looking to get tied into the writing community, Twitter is a GREAT place to start. Do a quick search for #yalit or "young adult." Find someone you like and see who they follow. Also, YA writers are YA readers (and if not, then they aren't YA writers). So you can connect with readers and writers at the same time.

Do you do it, Liz? Yes! I'm active on Twitter. I use it to connect with other writers. I use it to push out links to my blog posts. I Tweet my favorite authors about their books and squee like a fan girl when they respond.

Tumblr (for memetossers)

Why? There are more than 60 million accounts worldwide, which is no where close to Facebook or Twitter. So what's the big deal? People on Tumblr are engaged. It's a more social environment. The tag system is well used and well done.

Why me? This goes back to your goals. Several people last week said they want to connect with other writers. Tumblr is a great way to do this that takes
1). Less time than blogging and
2). Can provide a whole lot of inspiration.

So if either of these fit into your goals, Tumblr is a great place for you. YA Highway has a YA author directory on their page to help you get started with connecting to other writers via Tumblr. Tumblr is also a quick and easy way to share information with your readers, and because it's so social, that news spreads fast. Plus, agencies are starting to use Tumblr, so this is a good way to get connected and stay on top of what's going on with the agencies you might be interested in.

Do you do it, Liz? I am having a love affair with Tumblr. There are so many great quotes, thoughts, posts, photos, and GIFs. I love GIFs.

Pinterest (Tumblr's little sister who ended up being prettier and more loved)

Why? Because Pinterest is taking over the world. Duh. Pinterest is one of the newest social networks, but it's people are spending more time here than on Facebook. The average Pinner spends 405 minutes pinning daily.

Why me? Why are you on social media? Are you connecting with writers? Are you looking for inspiration? Do you want to offer reading suggestions? Then Pinterest is a great fit. Warning: It's also a huge time-suck if you're not careful. YA Highway has started a list of YA writers on Pinterest. You can find that here.

Do you do it, Liz? More for my personal use of social media than for my Liz the YA writer persona. I pin my book reviews, and I have some inspiration boards for writing. Otherwise, no. But there are some great opportunities here especially for writers with upcoming books. Think boards for different characters or factions.

A note on Pinterest: Mashable recently covered a study showing how women prefer Pinterest and young adults prefer Instagram. There could be a whole untapped world on Instagram for us YA authors. 

You'll noticed I didn't include LinkedIn or Google+. I don't think LinkedIn is the right place for a young adult writer looking to connect with readers and writers--unless you want to join professional groups. As far as Google+ goes, I'm yet to buy into this. I know it has some great features, but it's not where I spend my time. Here's a great infographic that compares these two platforms to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, if you're interested.



  1. That Pinterest vs. Instagram bit is interesting... I'm obsessed with both (as you may have noticed!), so hopefully if (when!) I end up with a book deal I'll be able to use both to my advantage.

    Plus, Twitter... Love! SO much better than Facebook, which really just makes me hate people I know in real life. DISLIKE!

    I'm loving these social media posts, Liz. As well as being super helpful, they're making me feel like I *might* be doing it right. :)

    1. I love Pinterest and Instagram, too--but more on a personal level! I'm glad your enjoying the posts. If anything, we have similar tastes in social media. :)

  2. WOW, three out of four ain't bad!!! But I use FB for family and friends--it REALLY helps me keep up with them! I've been considering Tumblr for a long time...

    1. Totally agree on Facebook. That's exactly how I use it. I've seen some authors on there, but it seems to be a more successful platform for fan sites, etc. as far as writers go.