Generating Awareness with Influencer Outreach

With the prevalence of social media continuing to grow, influencers are becoming incredibly powerful tools in content marketing. Generating awareness with influencer outreach can be incredibly useful when it comes to relationship development. A simple Instagram post or story can go a long way in terms of making a lasting impact on consumers.

Using Bookstagram to Generate Awareness Around Your Book

A bookstagram is an Instagram account dedicated to — you guessed it — books. The bookstagram community itself is massive. It encompasses authors and readers who love sharing their passion for books. This can be a great place to share your book, especially if you have a budget. Unlike in newspapers or on the radio, people who follow these influencers and engage with their content are a lot more likely to love books. If you connect with bookstagrammers that have a specific niche that is relevant to your book, then you are placing your book directly in front of an audience that is likely your ideal audience for sales.

The key in initially building durable relationships, in my experience, is to come across as genuine as possible. Considering the numerous amounts of DMs these influencers sift through every day, taking an unorthodox, new approach can help achieve the attention you desire. Here are some tips to help you pitch bookstagrammers and begin working with them:

Tips for Pitching & Working With Influencers

1. Design your pitch around how your book can be beneficial to the individual influencer and less about how they can be beneficial to you. Any salesperson will tell you that people are of course more interested in what they stand to gain, so always keep that in mind. For instance, when reaching out to a teacher influencer, emphasize why your book would be a great addition to their classroom libraries. What teacher doesn’t love free books!?

2. Be relatable. It’s basic human nature to be drawn to people who you can relate to. It further shows these influencers that you’ve taken the time to scroll through their feed to find out what they’re all about.

3. Do not expect large creators to share your book for free. Many of these influencers have huge, active audiences. Would you want to give something of value away for free? Probably not. Smaller bookstagrammers may be more willing to trade for a free book — but make sure they have a public profile.

4. Research before reaching out. If you write thrillers, it would be a waste of time to reach out to a bookstagrammer who only enjoys romance. Show them you know who they are. Social media bios are convenient, go-to places to find that kind of personal information – so utilize it!

5. Engage with the accounts you would like to work with prior to reaching out to them. Although this is not absolutely required, it is good etiquette, especially if you are hoping to get something for free.

All in all, generating awareness with influencer outreach can be extremely advantageous if approached properly. Authenticity is essential when building any type of relationship, so treat influencers more like people and less like brands.

Social Media for Authors: 5 Simple Solutions

In October I spoke at an Authors Guild event in NYC about social media for authors.  It was moderately attended at the library but there were over 100 online attendees, which I thought was impressive.  I realize that digital marketing and social media marketing are areas where many people struggle.  I have significant experience and success helping authors.  We even have a Social Media 101 Guide you can download for FREE.   In the meantime, I think there are a few things you can think about right now that can boost your progress.

5 Simple Social Media Solutions

Here are 5 simple solutions to common problems I have noticed when auditing social media accounts for authors.

  1. Use your photo as your profile picture.  The panel I was on in October was unanimous with loud head shaking (if you can imagine that) when someone asked whether they should use their book jacket as their profile photo.   No.  You may write more than one book, so what happens to the following you have built on the current one?  People feel more connected to people and tend to trust profiles that feature a person, not a product.
  2. Make a plan.  Posting here and there is not the way to gain an audience.  Algorithms like to get to know you and to find that you are reliably connecting with interested followers.  Decide how many posts you want to do on a weekly basis on specific days of the week around pre-determined time slots.  Figure out what your topics are beforehand and try to be consistent.  This is especially important on your Instagram grid.  Random posting looks messy and disjointed.  If you want to show people a great photo of you on vacation, use the Stories function.  Otherwise think about what you want to share and try to stick to the topics and themes.
  3. If you hate it don’t do it.  My colleagues agree that if you absolutely can not see yourself feeding a social platform don’t get started.  It looks worse to have an empty page than it does to have a small follower count, but an active page.
  4. Spend a few dollars.  When you are starting out try boosting or advertising a post to a target audience.  See what kind of engagement you get.  If it doesn’t work well, try a different topic or image.  If that doesn’t work consider changing your targets.  Play with the platform and spend $20 for 4 days of boosting.
  5. Play.  Yes, I am telling you to play with social media.  Try different combinations of colors, images, videos, text, themes, topics, audience targets, and bids for boosting to see what starts to stick.  People born before 1985 have a more difficult time using social media.  That’s ok.  I’ve seen otherwise completely anti-tech and anti-social people get excited about the amount of creativity they can apply to start a conversation or make an impression.

You Can’t Break Your Social Media

So writers, try testing out a few things and let your work entertain you in the process.  You can’t break anything when you start out, because you haven’t built anything yet.  Worry about mistakes when you have thousands of followers.  The only caveat is that you try to avoid the same topics you wouldn’t bring up at a party: Sex. Politics, and Religion

I would love to see the community you are creating on your social platforms.  Follow me at @mckinneymediagroup and I’ll follow you back!

For additional ideas check out our blog channel and search “social media”.  You can start with advice on timing: When Should You Start Being Active on Social Media?

TikTok & Book Promotion

If you aren’t using it, you’ve heard of it. However, you might not know how to use it, or what it really is. Today we will be discussing the underdog tool in your promotional belt, TikTok, and how to use it for book promotion.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a window to the latest pop culture trends among Generation Z. Gen Z (any individual born roughly between 1997-2012) 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 social app for short videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. The app has over one billion monthly active users, meeting or exceeding its competitors (Hootsuite). 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?

TikTok can be used via mobile device or desktop, however most creators recommend the use of the mobile version for the best experience. You will need to download via smartphone or tablet. While this may sound 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. You only have a limited amount of time to deliver your message. Even though TikTok has updated its abilities, and you can now post longer videos, most users are still scrolling quickly. Try to hook their attention in the first few seconds of your video.

How can I use TikTok for book promotion?

Here is where you’ll need to get creative! TikTok has little text involved, and is video-based. In other words, TikTok users aren’t typically looking to read when they engage with the app. Get involved in the #BookTok community to begin promoting your book. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to promote your book.
  • Challenges and trends: TikTok users generate a great deal of challenge and trend-based content, including the BookTok community, that you can monitor and utilize tailored to your own content.
  • Connect with your audience: Share “Monthly TBR” or “Wrap-Up” videos to show your audience what you like to read and use this opportunity to share books that are similar to yours. Grab the attention of those that are in your book’s target audience. Interact with their comments and foster those relationships.
  • Most importantly, stay active on TikTok! It’s recommended that you post 1-4 times per day to promote organic growth (Planly). Staying active on the app will not only help with growth opportunities, but also keep you in the know on trending challenges, sounds, and more. Lean in to what is trending and tweak it to align with your own content.
TikTok has increased in notoriety to the point of Facebook imitating the application, and Instagram introducing Reels. It’s time for you to make use of the trend. Now you’re ready to TikTok with the best of them!

References

https://www.clairemckinneypr.com/social-media-101-snapchat-and-author-branding/ https://www.clairemckinneypr.com/social-media-101-instagram-updates/ https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-for-business/ https://planly.com/tiktok-limits/#:~:text=1%2D4%20posts%20per%20day%20on%20TikTok%20is%20better%20for%20TikTok%20growth https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/05/facebook-lip-sync-live/

Threads vs. X – Competition in the Social Media Sphere

With the complete rebranding of Twitter, now known as X, it’s a ripe time for some competition in the social media sphere. Meta has eagerly jumped at the opportunity and created Threads in hopes that previous Twitter users will migrate over to their new platform. Though both platforms look similar on the surface, there are some key differences with Threads vs. X.

The most notable difference is that Threads is linked to your Instagram account. You log in using your Instagram, and any Instagram followers will be notified when you make a Threads account. However, this also means that once you make a Threads account, it can’t be deleted without also deleting your Instagram account. Unlike Twitter, Threads is intended for longer discussions. The character limit of the initial post is 500 as opposed to Twitter’s 280, and posts can be linked together as threads, hence the name. This means you have to think things through before posting on Threads to make sure the narrative is cohesive.

Interestingly, Twitter and Threads share a similar gender distribution. According to this article, 70% of Twitter users are male. Another article states that 68% of Threads users are male. Threads’ demographics is unexpected because Instagram and Facebook are used primarily by women. Potentially, the style of content appeals more to men and thus more male Instagram users are joining Threads.

Inactive Users

Unfortunately for Threads, despite the high user count, not all of them are active. The app’s use peaked on July 7th at the time of writing at only 45% of Twitter’s daily use. This is due to a combination of factors.

First of all, Twitter users don’t want to lose the followings they’ve amassed over the years. It can be discouraging to have to build yourself up from nothing, so people are reluctant to switch platforms.

Secondly, Threads doesn’t have the activity of Twitter. There’s less happening on Threads because people aren’t as active on it. That makes scrolling through the activity feed less appealing because there’s less content to see.

Lastly, Threads just isn’t complete yet. Meta has been planning to release Threads for a while, but recent backlash against Musk and Twitter’s rebranding is likely why it has been released at this point. It doesn’t have all of the expected features of an app of its type just yet. There’s no direct messaging, no search function, no hashtags, and no access to trending topics. It feels more like an open beta than a completed app.

Potential

Threads does have a lot of potential, but it currently isn’t in a state worth investing in. When more features are released and its active user base grows, it certainly has a chance to overcome Twitter. For now, it’s good to keep an eye on it as it progresses.

References

Why is Twitter called X now? Elon Musk’s rebrand explained and where it’s going next | TechRadar

PSA: You Can’t Delete Your Threads Account Without Also Deleting Instagram (makeuseof.com)

23 Essential Twitter Statistics You Need to Know in 2023 (thesocialshepherd.com)

Threads App Statistics 2023 – By Country, Sign-Ups, User, History (enterpriseappstoday.com)

Threads Usage Drops By Half From Initial Surge | Similarweb

AI Art and How it Affects Design

With the rise of AI such as ChatGPT and Dall-E, people are forgoing hiring artists and designers to instead use AI to create art for them. However, AI art has many flaws that make it pale in comparison to hiring human artists, greatly affecting the world of art and design.

 

One of AI art’s biggest flaws is the moral and legal conundrum that comes with training it. AI art has to be trained on human art, which is usually used without permission or credit. Artists may not even be aware their art is being used by a learning model, which can make legal claims even more difficult. This also means the AI models that are intended to replace human artists are using those artist’s creations to learn.

 

Nowadays, artists have the ability to opt-out of their work being used to train AI on most platforms. This is especially prevalent on DeviantArt, a site created specifically for artists to showcase their work, which has its own AI art software. As more and more artists opt out of including their work in AI data sets or use specific watermarks that are not AI-friendly, the amount of original works to learn from are hopefully dwindling. Without human art to train AI, it could eventually be forced to learn from other AI art. This would theoretically cause a negative feedback loop where the AI art gets worse and worse due to only learning from itself.

 

Since AI is limited to only training from pre-existing art, the result is typically unoriginal and uninspiring. AI can’t come up with unique concepts. This creates the risk of anything using AI art ending up with a repetitive style and design. This can be very bad in a field where you want your work to stand out and catch people’s eye.

 

Another flaw of AI art is that it is incredibly difficult to explain what you want it to do. If it gives you something you like, but have some issues with, you can’t ask it to make edits. You either have to accept what it gives you or have it completely redone. This is unlike an actual, sentient artist who can make adjustments to the piece as it’s being made. You can also request far more specific details from a human artist, such as color palette, character design, and specific font. An AI art generator that will accept any of those parameters is currently unheard of.

 

None of this is mentioning the controversy surrounding AI art. Not only is it not popular with human artists, there have been lawsuits due to its derivative nature. In January of this year, artists sued Midjourney, a well known AI art generator, for using their art to train the program. Midjourney was able to mimic the specific art style of these artists, which helped prove how derivative it truly was and provide evidence against them for the lawsuit.

 

While using AI art may seem appealing because of its time and cost effectiveness, the final product and how AI affects design might not be worth it. Hiring a human artist to create the art and design for your product or brand is overall the better choice.

Sources:

https://www.artnews.com/art-in-america/features/midjourney-ai-art-image-generators-lawsuit-1234665579/

https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7gynq/why-is-ai-art-so-bad

https://victorycto.com/ai-generated-art-pros-and-cons/#:~:text=While%20it%20has%20the%20potential,potential%20devaluation%20of%20human%20creativity.

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://glaze.cs.uchicago.edu/what-is-glaze.html&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1690213352869221&usg=AOvVaw30uscbZ2bnNdqs_CbFpLhi