June 26, 2015

After Five on Facebook

Traffic is higher at certain times on Social Media. If you're like me and you check your email, Facebook, Twitter, and website / blog stats about every five minutes...

Then you've probably noticed there is a surge in activity during non-business hours, especially on Facebook. Of course, time zone plays a role as well. I live in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) zone, but I have a lot of interaction with folks in other time zones. That's the great thing about the Internet in general and Social Media in particular. We live in a truly global world. You can communicate with people from all over and they can respond at their leisure. There are as many people who read my blog in the UK as the US, and I live in Canada.

A smart phone has made Social Media so much more accessible for me. I don't have a data plan, but wifi is everywhere. I can check my email and Social Media sites with my phone and schedule my posts with Hootsuite. Talk about convenience.

Consistent with the rest of my writing journey, I've researched Social Media as thoroughly as possible in order to optimize its potential. (Note to self: add experienced researcher to resume.) I want to sell my book, but beyond that I want to establish myself as a brand. I can use Social Media to accomplish this.

There are countless articles on the subject of Social Media optimization. Some suggest when to post on certain sites. Some suggest the best hashtags to use on Twitter or the best groups to join in Facebook. I've experimented with most of these suggestions, but the proof is in the pudding. What works for me may not work for all.

The takeaway from my research and experimentation: I get more retweets, likes, shares, and hits when...

1. I have new content.
2. I engage followers, friends, and basically the general public.

I mainly use Twitter and Facebook. There are so many great sites out there and I know I underutilize Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads to name a few...

I think of Twitter as a fast flowing river, with a constant stream of new tweets. I try to post a variation of the same promotional tweet at different times during the day in order to maximize exposure. Hootsuite makes this very easy. In between my scheduled tweets, I re-tweet tweets I find interesting or informative, promotional tweets from the companies who promote my book, and tweets from those who retweet my tweets. Thanking those who retweet or mention you is good Twitter etiquette. Re-tweeting their tweets is probably more appreciated. Using popular or trending hashtags and images/video is a great way to make your tweets stand out.

In comparison, Facebook seems more like a wave pool. The water constantly swirls around you, but your reach is constrained. New posts seem to come in waves, concentrated around mealtime and evening. The trick is to join appropriate groups; manage your own author/book pages; and post interesting links (other than exclusively posting your book link). Facebook gives you opportunity for engagement as well. You can comment on/share posts and 'like' pages.

What are your thoughts on Social Media? Even if you are a business, it has to be more than just selling your product. I wanted to join in and participate so I asked myself two questions. Are you ready for a conversation? Or is constantly screaming "Buy my book!" working? In order to optimize Social Media, I realized I would have to increase my engagement. That means active and consistent, two-way communication. Every day.

How do you use Social Media?

Thanks for reading! Have a great day and see you after five on Facebook!

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