Small Businesses: Yes, You Need Social Media

Small business owners are jacks of all trades. You’re not only focusing on business development and big-picture items, but day-to-day operational needs. Your time is valuable – and you don’t have much to spare. Here’s why you should devote some of that time to building your online presence.

Everyone’s doing it. Regardless of your industry, it is important to know the trends of your peers to better compete and foster growth in your own ventures. In 2015, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Cheryl Sandberg reported that 50 million small businesses are using that outlet to connect with their clientele. Social media is now industry standard. Being part of the digital community also enables you to monitor your competitors via their own public pages.

Referrals. Ever the heart of small business, social media encourages client referrals. 71% of consumers who have positive experiences with a brand’s social media are likely to recommend it to others. Over half of these same consumers, 63%, are expecting that brands will offer some form of customer service over social media channels. Society has grown to use social media beyond entertainment. Users share news, exchange currency, and communicate this way. It’s time to join the community and meet the needs of your clients (DreamGrow).

Content distribution. If you have a blog on your website like we do, you want an ROI from the content in which you’re investing precious time. We share all of our blog posts on Facebook and Twitter. Pushing your content through as many well-maintained channels as possible will benefit your search engine optimization (“SEO” increases the likelihood that people searching terms related to your industry will come across your business) and get your website click-throughs beyond a simple Google search.

Having a so many accounts that you can’t keep track of their results is not useful. We recommend you pick 2-3 platforms, update them regularly, and engage with your audience. We know entering the world of social media can be daunting without help. You can learn all about the different platforms and how to use them effectively by signing up for the Claire McKinneyPR newsletter. Check out our free guide!

Social Media 101: TikTok and Book Promotion

If you aren’t using it, you’ve heard of it. However, you might not know how to use it -or, you might not even know what it is. Today we will be discussing the underdog tool in your promotional belt. The overnight, 15-second sensation: TikTok.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a window to the latest pop culture trends among Generation Z. Gen Z (any individual roughly between 13-and-24-years-old) dominates TikTok’s user base; the same generation also happens to be the next large target group of potential consumers.

TikTok was created by the Beijing news-media tech company ByteDance. Often described as a combination of both Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok is a video-only application that posts in 15-second bursts. The app hit over one billion downloads in February of 2019, exceeding its competitors up to that point (HooteSuite). Their net user and download numbers only continue to climb.

Needless to say, a large audience is there for the taking – particularly ripe for YA authors.

How do I use TikTok?

Currently, the application is only available for download on mobile device. You will need to download via smartphone or tablet. While this sounds limiting, don’t fear: TikTok has a host of editing tools in-app that enable you to create unique and original content.

  • Setup: The first prompt you get when logging in to the application is one asking your interests. Would you like to see comedy skits? Do you follow beauty influencers? What about dance performance? Your answers to these questions feed TikTok’s algorithm and influence what content you view under the “For You” page (one of two pages that make up your TikTok “Home” screen). The “Following” page consists of users you are subscribed to after tapping around the app and finding what you like. Each user has a page setup much like Instagram -a photo of themselves, their handle, a follower count, bio, and their content.
  • Creating Content: Similar to Snapchat, creating your own content starts with a simple point-and-shoot clip. As talked about before, you only have fifteen seconds to deliver your message. Spend more time focusing on visuals, use dialogue sparingly. Most users supplement sound clips from popular music or memes rather than talking in their TikToks.

How can I use TikTok for book promotion?

Here is where you’ll need to get creative. TikTok is very similar to Twitter’s late application Vine -there is little to no text involved, and strictly video-based. In other words, TikTok users aren’t looking to read when they engage with the app.

Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to promote your book.

  • Challenges: TikTok users generate a great deal of challenge-based content. An example of social media challenge is the ALS ice bucket challenge that took social media by storm in 2015. Users would dump a bucket of ice water over their heads in the name of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, then nominate fellow users in order to raise awareness for those affected.

TikTok is rife with similar challenges, distinguished by hashtags (much like challenges seen across other social media). There is even a “#bookschallenge” with over 109.2K views! Feature your new book in original content to spread the word. You can even create your own hashtag and start a trend by simply adding a # before your desired phrase.

  • Memes: Aside from challenges, memes spread like wildfire. Users essentially take a pop culture item and tweak it with their own personal style. From songs to live-TV bloopers, TikTokers take soundbites from these moments and make a 15-second video performing their own take. Like we mentioned before, it’s all about the visuals with this application. Having a stack of your own books as the background of a TikTok is the perfect subliminal marketing strategy.

TikTok has increased in notoriety to the point of Facebook imitating the application (Wired). It’s time for you to make use of the trend. Now you’re ready to TikTok with the best of them!

Social Media 101: Snapchat and Author Branding

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn have dominated the world of branding since Facebook’s JP Morgan and Chase ads in the early 2000’s (IAS Insider). We’ve discussed in previous blogs how valuable these markets are, but there’s a new platform in town. Better yet, it’s rather untouched by the saturation of advertisements the other media have today: Snapchat.

Snapchat is unique in that it is a hybrid social media platform and messenger. This medium is almost entirely visual, and only available for mobile device. These unique qualities require a creativity in branding that the other platforms do not. Because of this, while Facebook controls roughly 20.6% of the US ad market, Snapchat comes in at just 0.6% (Influencer Marketing Hub).

The application is intended as a messaging medium where users exchange photos, videos, or short messages. Photos and videos can have captions, but there is character limit. There is also a character limit for private messages. Reminiscent of the point-and-shoot model, to take photos, you focus the front (or back) camera of your device and hit the large circular button at the bottom of your screen. For videos, you hold the button down in 30-second increments. You can alter the amount of time users can view your content, set an expiration date for your private messages, and other nifty features that Accessar dives in-depth with here.

Sound familiar? That is probably because Instagram operates similarly, but in a much more public way. Snapchat is a majority user-to-user application.

Don’t let the unfamiliarity of Snapchat stop you. As of 2019, Snapchat has an astonishing 191 million daily active users, and climbing (Snapchat). There is an array of stickers, GIFs, geofilters (filters that are only available in certain locations), and many other interactive features that allow you to get creative with your Snapchat branding. Their demographic is in the 18-24-year-old range, so if you’ve been looking for a way to reach an overloaded Millennial/Generation Z audience, here’s your chance!

With the medium’s use-to-user atmosphere, you can form a personalized and meaningful relationship with your audience. You can find our shortlist of Snapchat musts to make this happen for your brand below.

Snapchat stories are a vital function of most popular platforms nowadays, and we’ve gone over them in great detail recently. Update your audience on the publication of your new book, introduce merchandise, and start conversations! Users can reply to your stories via private message. You can also link to the products mentioned above with our next Snapchat must.

Snapchat links or “swipe-ups” are an organic way to expose your audience to new and exciting content surrounding your brand. Simply take a photo or video, select the paperclip thumbnail to the right of your screen, and add the appropriate URL. This allows users to view your material with a simple screen swipe.

Influencer collaboration not only gets exposure for your author brand but builds a trustworthy sense of community which your audience values. Reaching out to fellow influencers about mentioning your work in a story goes a long way in broadening your own fanbase.

Armed with your new guide to Snapchat in the world of author branding, make the most of this untapped resource. If you’d like to learn more about traditional means of author branding on social media before the trickier methods, check out our recent blog posts.

Average Time Spent Daily on Social Media (with 2019 Data)

Our friends at BroadbandSearch wanted to share their extensive #SocialMedia101 research. Learn all about the daily social media habits of your following, and why that’s important to your brand with this comprehensive guide!

In 2019, social media is one of the best ways for people to connect with one another.

It allows for people to stay in touch across continents and time zones, but also with friends who live just a few houses down. We’re connected today in ways previous generations couldn’t even have dreamed about.

But with that constant connection comes this question: How much time do people actually spend on social media each day? Is it too much? Should we be embracing our increasingly connected lives, or making an effort to cut back on screen time? The answer to that question is up to each person to make for themselves, but first, they need to know the numbers. Read on to see how much time people actually spend on social media in 2019.

Why social media statistics matter

Like it or not, social media is a huge part of people’s lives now, and that doesn’t seem to be about to change any time soon.

Every day, the number of social media users increases. Every second, 11 people use social media for the first time. In 2017, less than 2.5 billion people were on social media worldwide. This year, that number is expected to top 2.77 billion. By 2021, more than 3 billion people are expected to be on social media — nearly 40 percent of the entire world’s projected population in that year.

As we consider the role social media plays in our lives today and into the future, we’ll have to decide whether we want to continue to allow this technology to take up as much of our time as it does today, or if it’s time to pump the breaks on constant mobile connectedness.

Average daily time spent on social media

Similarly to how the number of people using social media has continued to rise each year, the amount of time people spend on social media each day is growing.

According to Statista, in 2017 (the most recent year for which full data is available), people spent 135 minutes per day, or nearly two and a half hours, on social media. That’s up from 2016, when people averaged 126 minutes per day. In fact, the amount of time people spend on social media per day has been steadily increasing each year for the last five years.

If we project that data out to include the year 2018 and 2019, we can estimate that the number has now grown to 153 minutes per day.

But just knowing how much time people spend on social media each day doesn’t give you the complete picture of people’s social media use habits. It’s also important to know exactly where people are spending those 153 minutes each day.

Time spent on social media in a lifetime

Assuming the average human lifespan of 72 years and we assume that many people now start using social media as young as 10 years old, that means the average person will spend a total of 3,462,390 minutes using social media over their whole lifetime.

In other words, that’s nearly 6 years and 8 months on social media in their lifetime based on the projections for social media use in 2019. Obviously, it’s likely that usage will change within the next seven decades, so take that number with a grain of salt. But if current trends continue and average daily social media use keeps going up, that means humans are on track to spend a decade or more time on social media in their lifetime.

For comparison, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that people spend more time on social media than a number of common daily activities.

If we break these numbers down even further, we can get a sense for how much time we are spending on each individual network and how that adds up across our lifetime.

From that data, we can quantify approximately how much time the average person will spend on each individual network over the course of their life.

Obviously, this is just a projection and doesn’t include every possible social media channel. It’s also assuming that social media channels and usage will stay the same over the course of someone’s entire life — unlikely!

But, we do know a lot about each social media channel today and how many people are using it in aggregate and on a daily basis.

Here’s a quick snapshot of 8 of the most popular social channels today.

Daily Time Spent On Facebook

Social media companies don’t generally release information about how much time people spend using them daily. But studies have been done on daily social media use, and Facebook reigns supreme when it comes to time spent within the platform: 58 minutes per day on average, according to a study by SimilarWeb.

Facebook is clearly still the top dog of social networks. Despite headlines saying young people are abandoning the 15-year-old platform, the data shows otherwise; in 2019, 59 percent of all Facebook users are between 18 and 34 years old.

Facebook still has 1.4 billion active users every day, who upload 300 million photos and watch 8 billion videos daily.

Average Daily Time On YouTube

Close behind Facebook is YouTube, where people watch 5 billion videos daily. YouTube’s 30 million daily active users are nowhere close to Facebook’s 1.4 billion, but YouTube’s big advantage is that its average visitor spends 40 minutes on the site at a time.

Daily Time Spent On Instagram

Coming in third for social network popularity is Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Instagram sees 500 million daily active users, who upload 95 million photos and 250 million stories each day. SimilarWeb found users spent an average of 53 minutes per day on Instagram in 2018.

Average Daily Time On Whatsapp

Whatsapp, also owned by Facebook, sees 320 million daily active users who send 43 billion messages daily on the platform, spending an average of 28 minutes in the app daily. But what lands Whatsapp in the #4 spot for social network popularity is the fact that it’s adding a million new users every day.

Daily Time Spent On Twitter

Twitter has 100 million daily active users who post 140 million tweets daily. Twitter is also adding 460,000 new accounts each day, on top of its current total of 1.3 billion registered users.

Average Daily Time On Snapchat

Snapchat has 178 million daily active users who create 3 billion snaps daily. According to SimilarWeb, the average Snapchat user spends 49.5 minutes per day in the app. Snapchat also logs 10 billion daily views of videos posted on its platform. 60 percent of Snapchat’s users are between the ages of 18 and 34, and users under 25 are spending the most time on Snapchat out of all its users. It’s definitely a network that’s popular with the younger set.

Daily Time Spent On LinkedIn

Though it’s the oldest social network on this list, LinkedIn’s professional image has kept its user base from growing as quickly as some other platforms. Still, its 546 million daily active users are nothing to sneeze at. And LinkedIn is adding more than 5 million new accounts each month, about two every second.

Average Daily Time On Pinterest

Pinterest sees 70 million daily active users, including 2 million daily users who actively save pins to their boards, spending an average of 14.2 minutes on the site per visit. More than 100 billion pins have been saved to more than 1 billion boards in Pinterest’s nine years, and the network is a powerful driver for traffic to content on other sites.

Social Media Changes in 2019

Heading into 2019, the social media landscape will only continue to change. Reports show the way upcoming generations use social media is vastly different, so the way people use social media today may not actually be a great indication of the way they’ll use it in the future.

Hill Holliday’s independent consumer and business insights research group, ORIGIN, released a study last year that looked at the ways Gen Z (people born after 1994) use social networks. Based on their findings, the trend that sees social media use increasing year-after-year may not continue much further into the future.

ORIGIN’s study found that 64 percent of Gen-Zers had taken a break from one or more social networks. 34 percent had completely quit social media.

The majority of Gen-Zers reported they were stepping back from social media because they felt they wasted too much time using it, but negativity in the content, privacy concerns and commercialization were also huge factors.

If Gen Z’s trends continue in future generations, social media may actually play less of a role in people’s lives than it does today. It’s weird to think that mega-platforms like Facebook and Instagram may be hitting their peak, but the data shows that could be the case.

The most important takeaway from any set of social media statistics like these is that the social landscape is changing, constantly and rapidly. Today, people spend a ton of their time on social media. In the future, that may not be the case as more people choose not to live their lives from behind a screen. However you feel about social media, the numbers show it’s a huge part of our lives, at least for now.

Thanks again to BroadbandSearch for sharing this helpful guide with us.

For more information on all things social media, be sure to check out our latest Social Media 101 posts.

Social Media 101: What’s New with LinkedIn?

What’s New with LinkedIn?

Back in 2016, we wrote a blog post about LinkedIn as an invaluable author tool. The site, at the time, was transitioning from a more formal platform to the hybrid social network for professionals everywhere that it is today.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, LinkedIn was founded in 2002, then launched in 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Allan Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly, and Jean-Luc Vaillant. It began as a digital job posting. Each user’s profile served as an accessible resume for job recruiters to scout, and for users to connect with potential jobs of interest. So, aside from some cosmetic changes to the website layout, what’s new with LinkedIn?

LinkedIn hashtags were just launched in 2018, keeping with the theme of a casual social network atmosphere on the evolving platform. Now, when creating a LinkedIn profile, you are prompted to follow hashtags that might interest you. Here’s why these hashtags are important to you as an author.

They’re informational. By following any given hashtag, you sign up to be constantly updated on what LinkedIn users are posting pertaining to the hashtag’s subject. For example, if you are a fiction writer, you should follow #fictionwriting. This hashtag is now assimilated to your news feed. If fiction writing isn’t your cup of tea, you can always search for your topic under “Discover More” in the “Followed Hashtags” section of your home page. Discover what is happening in your specialized area across the platform!

They establish a presence. As we’ve discussed in other blog posts, hashtags are an aggregation of posts that pertain to a common interest. By adding a hashtag to your post, you are adding it to a collection of content that contains the same hashtag. Going off of the example above, if you hashtag a post about your newest novel #fictionwriting, users just like you will find your content when searching the term on LinkedIn. Bam! You’ve successfully made you and your book known to a key audience!

You can create your own. Here is where you can have a little fun and be creative. Have you found that no hashtag on LinkedIn quite fits what you want to post about? If so, you can just make one of your own. It’s as simple as putting together a short, and if possible, catchy phrase that relates to your subject with a # in front of it (but still keeping with work appropriateness as LinkedIn is still largely a professional platform). You might find that other people were looking for one like yours and begin to use it themselves.

Hashtags are used universally in the world of social media. Take what you’ve learned from this #SocialMedia101 and use it anywhere! If you have questions about other hashtag-using platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, don’t fear -we wrote blogs about those, too.