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!

The Influencer Series: Micro-Influencers

While it’s true that some consider influencers “celebrities of social media,” it’s important to highlight the subcategory of influencers who are becoming more and more sought after by brands big and small: micro-influencers.

But who are they exactly?

To many, an influencer is defined by the immense number of followers he or she has amid their social media platforms. And while a lot brands are attracted to sponsoring those with high follow counts, others are now investing in influencers who don’t have as many followers, but higher engagement levels. Essentially, it’s the quality of their followership over the quantity. According to Forbes, “brands and marketers are now focusing on the interaction between influencers and their audiences,” which can be measured by the likes and comments different posts receive on a daily basis. More so than standard influencers, micro-influencers often have high engagement levels that brands had a tendency to overlook in the past. (Forbes)

What identifies a micro-influencer?

There isn’t necessarily a magic number of followers that separates an influencer from a micro-influencer. Brands are focused on engagements of specific audiences and how those niche audiences can potentially lead to higher sales. In the end, their goal is to promote products in ways that appear more genuine than a #ad.

The moral of the story: little guys shouldn’t be discounted. Whether you’re promoting a book, service, or anything for that matter, don’t underestimate the power of loyal followers.

For more information on influencer outreach, check out our guide.

Social Media 101: Editorial Calendars

If you’re anything like me, you know how important staying organized is- not only for your records, but for your business as well. That’s why curating the perfect editorial calendar is an absolute must when planning your social media content.

What is an editorial calendar?

Essentially, it’s a tool used by businesses and influencers alike to outline specific content over a fixed time period across different platforms (i.e. social media accounts, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, just to list a few). These calendars add the structural element your social media needs to consistently yield results. In addition to that benefit, having an organizational system in place for your posting helps to streamline the process and ultimately save time for other important tasks.

Why is it useful?

Apart from its organizational benefits, an editorial calendar lends itself to consistent posting –which ultimately boosts traffic to your website. And because of social media’s fast-paced nature, it’s crucial to get your content out there as frequently as possible in order to stay relevant and memorable. Editorial calendars are the perfect organizational vehicles to do just that.

Where can you find an editorial calendar template?

While there are a ton of free downloadable templates online or in Microsoft Word, I find it most convenient to use Google Calendar (you can find some useful tips and tricks for using the application here). I’m on my computer all day every day, and it’s easiest to go through my bookmarked websites in Google Chrome and make calendar adjustments or additions when needed. It also includes color-coding, which is another useful tool.

If you are struggling with creating content to populate your social media calendar, don’t panic. You can learn about the newer functions of applications like Instagram from our recent blog post. Happy planning!

Social Media 101: Tumblr for Authors

TumblrTumblr is a combination of social media and blogging—users actively post content to their Tumblr blog, but they can also re-blog and like other users’ posts. Tumblr can be a fun platform to use because it is very different from Twitter or Facebook, and it is a perfect platform for authors to use because it is easy and creative. The number one rule for this platform is to make sure to have fun with it!

Here are 5 ways that authors can use Tumblr:

Reblog or post GIFs or screenshots. Tumblr is full of screenshots and GIFs that are at your disposal to use, from TV shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, or movies like Clueless and Mean Girls. You will give your account exposure this way because GIFs—especially those that are popular or humorous—will more likely be reblogged than other posts.

Use it as a blog with a purpose. Do you have a specific topic you’d like to blog about, but don’t necessarily need all that SEO and headline writing that comes with a WordPress blog? Tumblr can be a great use for “micro-blogging” or just writing a couple sentences on a topic every day or once a week. For example Clients from Hell started as a Tumblr blog, where they posted anonymous comments about bad clients. Other examples include Bookworm of Camelot which specifically blogs about literature, or That Coffee House Tumblr which only posts about coffee.

Use it as a social network. Don’t just focus on your Tumblr but make sure to follow other blogs that you are interested in and might reblog. Comment and share your stories on other users’ posts.

Use it as a news and events page for your website. Did you get a new Amazon review or were featured in a literary blog? Did you have an event last night? Share these links and photos on your Tumblr and make sure to tag the posts with tags that people frequent (books, literature, amblogging). Did you see another Tumblr post a photo of your book? Reblog it! Connect it to your website so that it is easily accessible.

Use it as your writer’s blog. If you are interested in blogging but know you aren’t going to commit to writing hundreds or thousands of words a week, Tumblr is the perfect way to keep people updated with your life by posting short blog posts or GIFs, new music you are listening to, news articles you just read, etc. with little commentary. Did you just read an interesting New York Times article on how sales at independent booksellers are up? Did you finish a book you have mixed feelings about? Post it on Tumblr and ask your readers what they think.

Many artists and creatives are on the platform, from Taylor Swift to Veronica Roth (Divergent) to Rainbow Rowell (Landline; Carry On). It doesn’t take up as much time as a regular blog and it is more interactive for users because it is so simple for another person to reblog your post. Check it out and you’ll see how much you may just enjoy it!

For more insight on social media check out our blog posts here.