Feeling Social? A Primer for Some of Us on Social Media.

Today’s missive on social media is one of those many of you can skip, but before you go, check out these recent (2021) social media statistics:

Did you know…

• 82% of Americans use social media, meaning they have a social media profile somewhere on some platform.
• That’s 223 million people.
• In 2008 the number was 10%. By 2011 it was already more than 50%.
• More than 2 billion people EACH MONTH worldwide use Facebook, the top social media platform.

The second most popular social media platform is You Tube, also categorized as the second most popular search engine behind Google. After that, different sources define their rankings in different ways, but What’s App, Instagram, then Twitter are up there among most highly used social media platforms.

And then there’s Tik-Tok, which continues to grow like crazy, yes, mostly with young people. But when it became the most downloaded social media app in fall 2018 – it had launched only two years prior in fall 2016.

Is your head spinning yet?

If it is, you are likely my tribe and you should read on.

I am convinced social media is vital for authors and businesspeople of all kinds.

But I don’t for one minute want to pretend to be someone I’m not.

I got some help.

I decided you needed to meet her, so today’s article is the first of a series of periodic pieces that will offer nuggets of social media wisdom from Shannon Danesteh of 5 Star Social Media. Shannon not only knows her stuff, but she never makes me feel stupid, no matter how many times I ask her the same (often kind of dumb) question.

We’re going to start today with some reasons WHY you need to be on social media.

[If you are a regular reader here, you may recall my fondness for who, what, when, where, how and why.]

A quick answer to the WHO question, per Shannon, is that everyone who is in business or is an author needs to be on social media. There are other kinds of WHO topics but those are for another day.

And the WHY?

According to Shannon, it’s nothing new for people looking for a business or book to search online for info and ideas. But it used to be, she says, they would start at Google and be looking for websites.

Now, she says, people are so often online on social media that when something reminds them they need to find a bakery or a birthday gift or a realtor – they do a search right there in whatever platform they are on at the moment.

This was news to me. Of course I knew Facebook (and other platforms) have a search function, but I never thought to use it for topics. I’ve only ever used it to search for people.

Your prospective clients or readers will start with whatever they find doing that search, which might or might not be you. If it’s you, after that, they’ll go to your website for more specifics, so she says you still definitely need a website.

And if it’s not you…they may never find you.

She says this became more the norm during Covid. That makes sense to me, remembering how cocooned so many of us were for so long.

And for authors, she also talks about the importance of developing relationships and getting known by your audience. Even before your book releases.

I think it’s another version of Know – Like – Trust that we’ve spoken about here before.

I would add that I think this is especially important for Christian authors. Your readers care about your life and faith. If you have a book on Christian living or are someone like Nicki Corinne White who has a speaking ministry, it’s going to matter when you see posts about Nicki serving with her church’s kids ministry or notes on where she’s speaking next.

Shannon advises authors of forthcoming books to start doing posts to their existing friends and followers sharing with them their author journey, so you build your followers and fans.

Book marketing experts will suggest posts like a cover reveal, or excerpt, or sharing an endorsement you just received. Producing a book is a long journey and it will encourage you and engage your future readers if you share what’s going on in your life and heart during the process. They will get to know, like and trust you more, preparing them to welcome info on how to buy the book when you get to that point.

What else do you wish you could ask a social media expert? Let me know.

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on June 3, 2022.
Joni Sullivan Baker
jbaker@buoyancypr.com