The question was addressed by Chris Syme in an article in Digital Publishing News this week. While social media users are predicted to hit 2.72 billion by 2019, the important issue is engagement according to Syme.
Prior to algorithms, selling stuff was all building up numbers – the more people who followed you, the greater the numbers seeing your content. Today, however, three of the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) use engagement algorithms that will restrict reach – i.e. if you’re not engaging your followers, they won’t see your posts.
It’s more important than ever before to create content that people like, share and comment on, so dull, thinly disguised marketing posts are often a no-no.
Syme highlights that average baseline engagement rates are abysmal. On Facebook (March 2015), the average organic post* engagement rate was less than 3 percent for pages which have more than one million likes. For smaller pages that have less than 1,000 likes, it was just over 22 percent. People seek out more personal connections.
So what’s an author to do. Syme advises several things:
- Learn how to write better content. For this, you’ll need to keep an eye on the analytics. What gets the most engagement? Where was it posted? When was it posted?
- Know your target audience well. What social media they use and what kind of information they are looking for.
- You don’t need to use every social media channel, but you should use each one appropriately. Actions on one platform may not work on another.
- Find out what’s your best channel for selling and use it that way.
- You need a website, a Facebook business page and an email list to market successfully online. These are the three main ones for selling. You might want to add other platforms depending on your audience (say Snapchat for YA books, for example).