March 12th, 2016
Today we have the amazing Naomi Grant here from Dreamspinner for an hour – from 8-9 AM PST (11-12 EST). Naomi is DSP’s social media guru, and she is here to answer our writer questions about Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest.
Please message your questions to me and I’ll put them in queue. If we don’t get to your question, don’t worry. I will paste them at the end of the chat and Naomi has graciously agreed to come back and answer them later.
Thanks so much, Naomi, for agreeing to help us out!
J. Scott Coatsworth OK, we’ll start in a few minutes. Please message your questions to me.
J. Scott Coatsworth Naomi, Angel, are you both here?
Naomi Grant Thanks for having me!
Angel Martinez I’m here!
J. Scott Coatsworth Yay!
Julia AT Weaver Flowers I’m here.
J. Scott Coatsworth A little background – we met Naomi at the DSP retreat (well, Angel, you probably already knew her), where she gave a great presentation on social media. Shortly afterward, one of our writers asked a FB question that I thought Naomi could answer, so we invited her on.
J. Scott Coatsworth Hey Julia!
Julia AT Weaver Flowers Just sent you a question.
J. Scott Coatsworth In queue. smile emoticon
J. Scott Coatsworth OK, I’d like to start with that author’s question. Is it ok, now to be on facebook under a pseudonym?
Naomi Grant Yes! FB changed their TOS to allow for this. It’s still a good idea to do their verification process, if you can, but they’re no longer making accounts inactive
J. Scott Coatsworth So what has changed, exactly?
Naomi Grant FB got an huge amount of complaints, including ones about safety! and they saw how dangerous it is to require “real names” for some users. Plus, it limits how users use FB, i.e., they’re less inclined to be in communities that may harm them IRL
J. Scott Coatsworth Angel… you had a follow-up?
Angel Martinez Excellent news for all of us out here who use pen names and stage names grin emoticon We have a lot of authors who use more than one pen name as well, and a lot of them have concerns about how to leverage those on social media. What advice do you have for authors writing under more than one name?
J. Scott Coatsworth Oooh, good question. smile emoticon
Naomi Grant Don’t…LOL. It’s very time consuming to have to brand and do social media for more than one name. I understand sometimes art requires it (e.g. writing erotica and then writing YA) but I can’t deny that it takes double the effort and time to brand different names in different ways. My advice is to put serious consideration into which reaches your goal(s) better and then put the largest chunk of time and effort into that name. For example, if your goal is to make X amount per quarter, then put your time and effort into the name that’s making the most revenue so you leverage that.
J. Scott Coatsworth OK, one more follow-up on this and then we’ll move on.
J. Scott Coatsworth From Julia AT Weaver Flowers: If pseudonyms are okay, how do you separate your personal life from your author life?
Naomi Grant Likely my most common question, Julia AT Weaver Flowers! And the answer is each author has to figure out what this means for them. For example, I’ve worked with authors who don’t want ANY personal info (not gender, location, day job, sexual orientation) out there. So I say, no problem, figure out what you don’t mind talking about: food, TV shows, fav books/authors, travel destinations–anything that is unique to you that others (your fans/readers) can relate to.
J. Scott Coatsworth OK, next question, from SA Collins – How about this: I am not so convinced that jumping on social media to bellow to the four winds – buy my book! is an efficient means to gain readership. The odd promotional, sure. But wouldn’t it be better to focus your SM prowess to discuss your works, find items that bolster your take on the craft of writing, thereby demonstrating not only your love of the craft, but of your approach to creating stories you’d like your readers to become a part of?
Naomi Grant Part 2: your branded name should have a personality, that’s why others follow and interact with you. Only you can figure out how much is going to be a reflection of your real life.
J. Scott Coatsworth I think this is a great place to talk about your 4-1 rule. smile emoticon
J. Scott Coatsworth (see above)
Angel Martinez (J. Scott learned something in your talk, Naomi! grin emoticon )
J. Scott Coatsworth LOL
Naomi Grant Only talking about your book (ie what you’re SELLING!) is going to turn off others. It just will. Users want personality…who is writing this book/doing this art. So a good guideline is for every post about your book/what you’re selling, you should have 4 that have NOTHING to do with it
J. Scott Coatsworth That seems so counterintuitive!
Naomi Grant this is the 80/20 or 4-1 guideline that J. Scott Coatsworth is talking about. These posts engage readers/users in you as a brand. And consider this, are you more likely to buy a car from a family friend or a used car salesperson yelling at you from the parking lot as you walk by?
J. Scott Coatsworth Ummm… fair point.
Angel Martinez That’s a big mistake we see – authors forgetting the social part of social media. What other big mistakes do you see authors make?
J. Scott Coatsworth Julia’s next question ties into that nicely, Angel: Why do authors belong to so many groups and post to them? It seems that all we’re doing is advertising to each other and no one is buying anyone else’s books
Naomi Grant Well, if you’re only posting about your book in all these groups then, yes, that’s pointless. Your goal is engagement, not selling. Instead of posting anything, try to interact with others posts–no, not on their posting of MY BOOK IS OUT (as much as we want to support each other), but instead look for posts to comment on that are conversations you may have with someone at a coffeeshop. For instance, fav books/tropes/series/TV shows/food
J. Scott Coatsworth What else do authors often do wrong?
Naomi Grant Social media is about conversation and it can’t be all one-sided with us just talking AT others. Think of it like virtual tennis
J. Scott Coatsworth or twitter. LOL
Naomi Grant Twitter wrongs I see: 1. following too many people. don’t get caught up in follow for follow! Only follow users you intend/have time to have conversations with. If you are active you’ll get new followers organically. If you’re following more than 200 users, declare bankruptcy and unfollow all. Then refollow those you intend to have conversations with.
Julia AT Weaver Flowers It seems like when an author friend has a new book out, I see the same post from every group and nothing at any other time.
Angel Martinez And that doesn’t make you want to buy it, does it? smile emoticon
Julia AT Weaver Flowers I don’t know. I’d like to if I had the finances.
Naomi Grant 2. don’t always tweet your stuff, interact with other users…use # to find conversations and RT tweets you like it
J. Scott Coatsworth How *should* we post to FB groups, to Julia’s point?
Naomi Grant As to posting the same content in multiple Groups, like on release day, DON’T DO IT! Groups are lovely in that posts in Groups show up in News Feed so if you have the same content in multple Groups it’s spamming the News Feed!
Naomi Grant Instead, focus on unique content: pics/grahics, soundcloud clips, youtube videos you find interesting, buzzfeed/Goodreads/publisher posts you can share and then add your thoughts on
J. Scott Coatsworth I also liked your idea of recycling posts a couple weeks later to another group.
Naomi Grant Yes, recycle, don’t copy and paste! And do it out over time, totally, J. Scott!
J. Scott Coatsworth That way you can re-use content without it appearing everywhere at once.
J. Scott Coatsworth This one’s from Ashavan Doyon
How do you know the engagement is working? I was working hard at NOT posting writing stuff all the time, but I’m still not feeling ENGAGEMENT from readers. How can we bolster that when the common space we have with readers is the stories we write?
Naomi Grant For Twitter, use ICYMI (in case you missed it). This is creates community goodwill of saying, yes, you may have seen this but in case not…
J. Scott Coatsworth I wonder this too. We put all this stuff out there, personal and professional, but sometimes it feels like a big black hole…
Naomi Grant Well…your’e all lovely people but you’re used to producing content and sometimes it’s better to engage on others content. When you see a post you can add your comment to, always go for that over creating your own content. Think of it like a cocktail party, k? You’re in a room with 40 people and it’s easier to join 2 or 3 in conversation then try to stand there and start one with no one around you
Naomi Grant You can share your content in a conversation on someone elses post instead of always creating your own
J. Scott Coatsworth LOL… we ARE lovely people. But how do we know our socializing is actually driving sales or adding fans? Or is there really no way to be sure short of a sales spike?
J. Scott Coatsworth *pets our lovely QSF folk*
Julia AT Weaver Flowers The QSF Workshop site has done wonders for me.
Naomi Grant I wish social media was a magic sales bullet that you do for a month and suddenly your Demi Moore rolling around on Benjamins on a bed..but it’s not like that. It’s more about branding, growing your online reputation than having a direct correlation to sales growth
J. Scott Coatsworth Follow-up: in your expertience, how long does it typically take for an author to see some kind of results when engaging well on social media?
J. Scott Coatsworth (also wishes social media was a silver bullet. would really help with the werewolf problem in the neighborhood)
Naomi Grant Depends on how often they engage others! If you’re online 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week it’s gonna take 9-12 months. If you’re a beginner, try for 5 to 10 minutes 3 times a day, 5 days a week (Mon-Fri) and you should see branding results in 6 months
J. Scott Coatsworth Another from Julia: Are blog tours really worth it?
J. Scott Coatsworth (ok, it’s borderline social media, but I figured you’d have some insight)
Naomi Grant Well, I’d say only you can say if the ROI is there. I don’t know how much you spend on them but if you can look at how much you spend and think of it in terms of exposure then you have a better way of evaluating ROI. For instance, if you get on 20 blogs for $30 think of all the exposure you’re getting. Figuring that it takes consumers 7 times of seeing something online to buy it, you’re getting your money’s worth, IMHO (but it’s also not my $30!)
Angel Martinez It’s also all about how you handle the blog tour, though, isn’t it?
J. Scott Coatsworth Yes, I’ve started setting up my own tours. Ask Angel about the Great Blog Tour of Death.
Julia AT Weaver Flowers What’s ROI?
J. Scott Coatsworth Return on Investment. ie: are you getting something out of it?
Julia AT Weaver Flowers thanks
Angel Martinez Return on Investment
Naomi Grant Yes, if you set them up yourself then you’re out time…only you can put a value on your time. But in general, I think both blog tours AND blog ads are worth the investment if you have the money. YOu’ll see within a quarter if the ROI is there
Naomi Grant Oh, I should also mention something about UNIQUE CONTENT. Yes, I pulled out the caps! Unique content is the bomb, yo! Even on blog tours, you need unique content! Why should users visit the blogs or even care if all you provdie are blurb and same excerpt?
J. Scott Coatsworth Yes… and they should all have some unique content, not just be announcements that duplicate each other, right?
J. Scott Coatsworth LOL there it is.
J. Scott Coatsworth How much time should we be spending on social media vs. writing?
Naomi Grant Marketing total should take no more than 20% of your time, leaving 80% to write. So if you write 20 hours a week then you should spend abt 4 of that marketing
J. Scott Coatsworth One more from Ashavan: Realistically how much social media should we do to grow our brand? I think most authors are doing facebook and twitter, but there’s a maze of Instagram, pintrist, periscope, blab…. and a WHOLE lot more. is it effective to branch into these other social media venues?
J. Scott Coatsworth ie: Can you rank the usefullness of the social media outlets for authors?
Naomi Grant Instagram, pinterest, periscope, snapchat, tumblr are all very hard to monetize, even for companies. My experience, and what I encourage for all my clients, is to have a FB Profie and Page (to run ads when you’re ready), join 2 Groups, and have an active Twitter account. Leave all the others unti you feel ready to tackle something else
Naomi Grant And most folks are on either FB or Twitter so you should ahve everyone over the age of 21 on social media being on those 2 platforms
Angel Martinez Out of all the other platforms out there, is there one besides FB and Twitter that you feel is up nd coming? That we should be watching?
Naomi Grant If you don’t have a blog or write for younger audiences then tumblr. If you enjoy the visual medium, as I do, then Instagram
J. Scott Coatsworth And Google + is dead, right?
Naomi Grant Ding dong the witch is dead! YES! Google+ was so fetch…
J. Scott Coatsworth Stop trying to make fetch happen.
J. Scott Coatsworth 😉
J. Scott Coatsworth I have a question. Should authors have their own FB page (not a personal page but the official kind)? And what about advertising on pages? I just set up my own and am testing this…
Naomi Grant Yes, get a FB Page for your author/company name. Get a minimum of 200 likes and test out ads. Ads are a very effective use of marketing dollars, many of us spend 75% of our marketing budgets on FB ads. Just know that you’ll have to use graphics and the graphics will have to fit FB’s TOS/guidelines. But you can do a good ad with a $20 budget
Naomi Grant Oh, should mention, if you’re going to do this, take FB’s free tutorial on FB ads…well worth your time!
Angel Martinez FB ads used to be notoriously unfocused marketing wise – is it possible to choose an audience for your ads now?
J. Scott Coatsworth Can you target boosts to specific pages (like Dreamspinner members) like you can target ads?
J. Scott Coatsworth (Angel and I share a brain)
Angel Martinez This is why people think we’re the same person…
Arshad Ahsanuddin “Of course not, Martians look completely different.”
J. Scott Coatsworth LOL
Naomi Grant Yes, Twitter IMHO has even better targeting but FB has been customized to make its targeting tighter than it was
Angel Martinez That’s very good news!
Naomi Grant Twitter ads are my new pet, BTW, I’m seeing incredible ROI on them!
Angel Martinez Are they expensive?
Naomi Grant Nope, comparable to FB ads and you can target users that follow specific accounts! I was very skeptical but have been testing the 3 main types of Twitter ads and for $20 seeing stellar results on all 3
Angel Martinez Wonderful!
J. Scott Coatsworth Can you target a FB boost to members of a page (like DSP) or can youi only target ads that way?
Angel Martinez What’s you’re take on logos vs author pics for profiles?
J. Scott Coatsworth LOL two questions for you.
Julia AT Weaver Flowers So I guess I need to quit buying books and spend $20 on ads.
Naomi Grant Boosting requirements for FB are nearly same as ads but you can’t target the same way so unless you have a very large number of “likes” (say 10k?) then I’d do ads over boost
J. Scott Coatsworth Thx.
Julia AT Weaver Flowers 10K – LOL I don’t even have 200.
Naomi Grant Julia AT Weaver Flowers Yep, that’s why ads are better option for smaller pages
Naomi Grant As to logos or author pics, I don’t think it much matters so long as you use the exact same thing on all your platforms. YOu want users to see X and know that’s it’s you. So stick with whatever unless you’re planning a rebranding effort (e.g. moving from just paranormal to doing other sub-genres, then you’d likely have to rebrand)
Angel Martinez Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and talk to us, Naomi! Great information for all of our authors! QSF’ers, we’ll leave the thread up in case you weren’t able to join us for the interview hour. Feel free to leave followup questions if you have any topics we didn’t cover. (Interview will also be saved on the QSF website’s interview page.)
Julia AT Weaver Flowers I’ve been given a lot of ‘food for thought’ to digest. Thank you.
Naomi Grant My pleasure to chat with you all. I’ll check back later today and answer any other questions. heart emoticon
Angel Martinez Perfect and thank you again!
Carole Cummings Thank you, Naomi, and thank Angel and Scott. I’ve been lurking, but paying very close attention. smile emoticon
Angel Martinez We love our lurkers grin emoticon
J. Scott Coatsworth Yes, thanks so much, Naomi!