Social Media Trends for 2018

NavigatingWe don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.
-Erik Qualman

 

There are two words that quickly come to mind when I think of social media. Imperative and obnoxious.

If you’re a writer, it is hard to get anywhere if you aren’t on social media. Hell, it’s hard to get somewhere even when you are on social media—but without it, it’s next to impossible. So, you create accounts across the smorgasbord of platforms and you post and tweet and hashtag and scour and repeat. It is a daunting task to build and maintain a social media presence.

But it isn’t enough to create an account and tweet. Millions of people are doing that. You’re trying to market yourself, your books…it goes beyond bragging about what you had for lunch. (Though I am quick to post sushi porn!)

Paying attention to your analytics is one thing. It’s pretty much been my go-to method for raking in followers and post engagement. But what I have found is even going that extra step isn’t really enough. It’s a reactive way of handling social media. I post something, I do my best to get the hashtags right, I wait, I check the analytics, and I sigh.

That post should have been more popular, I often think.

So why wasn’t it?

Truthfully, I haven’t put the information set before me to good use. I’m busy. Sometimes social media is more of a chore than something I enjoy—but that’s okay. I should change my mindset about it because as much as I do actually enjoy making friends and interacting on social media…as a part of an author platform, it is also a part of the job. An enormously important part, actually. It’s how people find us, connect with us, learn our style, see our work, etc. Like the quote at the top said, it’s not so much an option of whether we participate, but what we’re willing to put into it.

As I began laying out how I wanted my writerly year to look, I started making some social media goals. Once I started making these goals, I decided to see what the experts expect the social media climate to look like for the coming year and I was legitimately surprised by what I read. (Again, up until recently, I wasn’t paying close enough attention.)

Hopefully this information will be as useful to you as I am hoping it is for me. I really want to push my boundaries and venture from my comfort zone—and according to the data, I have a lot of adapting to do. Do you?

According to Entrepreneur, here are a few items we can expect to see on the social horizon soon:

1.| Augmented Reality. Why not start off the list with the one that floors me the most. When I first read that augmented reality was going to be playing a huge part in social media in the coming year, I scoffed. Honestly, it’s 2018, not 3018. Surely we’re not there yet, I thought. But, then almost as soon as my eyes scanned the words, I recalled how augmented reality is, well, a reality readily available on the new iPhone…which means it will definitely be coming to a social media platform near you sooner than I ever would have dreamed.

How will this play a role in social media marketing for writers? Honestly, I had no clue. So, I read a Forbes article on the subject, and I began to see some possibilities. The first thing that came to mind is a tech savvy Fantasy or Science Fiction writer might be able to create a virtual snippet of their literary worlds which would allow readers to experience a haunted wood, or the surface of a faraway planet. I can see that having a massive impact, especially while augmented reality is still a relatively new concept for the world of marketing. (Before you rush me with alternative facts, yes, I’m aware that the technology has been around in some form for over twenty years.)

How do you think this might help authors market themselves and build our platforms?

2.| Twitter v. Everyone Else. Anyone who knows me knows that Twitter is my favorite of all the social media platforms. So imagine my dismay when Entrepreneur says that Twitter is floundering compared to every other social media outlet. I don’t think Twitter is going the way of the Dodo bird anytime soon, but its usefulness as a marketing engine seems to be in a bit of a decline.

I realize I may be in the minority on this one, but I have always felt Facebook was more for family and friends. I have an author page on Facebook, but I am really bad at utilizing it. (One of the things I want to work on in the coming year.) So Twitter was where I found a home, so to speak, as an author. It, for me, was the polar opposite of Facebook. It has been my comfort zone.

What are your thoughts on Twitter? Do you think there is a noticeable decline in its usefulness, and will you shift your social media efforts elsewhere in the coming year?

So, who is apparently the top dog for personal branding and marketing in 2018?

3.| Instagram, Instagram, Instagram. I don’t know what my aversion to Instagram has been over the years. Well, that’s not necessarily true. When I first learned of Instagram, I found it was mostly where people posted selfie after selfie after selfie. And I rarely ever take selfies, even more seldom do I share them.

As Instagram evolved into what it is now, I wasn’t paying attention. I sort of continually, subconsciously wrote it off as the place for vanity and showing off the perfect winged eyeliner. But it has surpassed Snapchat in usage BY 50 MILLION— yet another platform I do not use—and is expected to overtake Twitter very soon…if it hasn’t already by the time I researched this to the time I post this.

When I first read that Instagram was where everyone needed to be to gain a footing, I again scoffed…but then I remembered my goals and the above quote. It doesn’t matter if I have avoided any particular platform for whatever reason…if I am unwilling to adapt, I may as well give up. It’s a tough pill to swallow, so I guess I’ll just have to drink more water.

I had created an account a while back and never used it, so I dusted it off and got to work figuring it out. It’s going to take me a while to get used to it, but I am determined to figure it out, to master it. First things first, like me, if you aren’t familiar with Instagram Stories, get familiar. At less than a year old, it is estimated that over half of all users will be utilizing this by the end of 2018—the very name of which sounds exactly like something we, as writers, should take advantage of.

These were just three points made in the list, and I strongly urge you to read through the others. Research social media further. But don’t just memorize a few facts and then wait another ten years to read more on the subject like I did. Social media outlets are always evolving. Ever changing. That is their job and their nature. It is our job as indie authors to keep up. Play a proactive role in your author adventure, because if you don’t no one will.

Do you have social media goals for the coming year? If so, would you care to share with the class?

In my next blog post, we will continue the discussion of utilizing social media, going more in depth with the different features, pros, and cons of GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. (With honorable mentions of Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+).

Until then, my lovelies, happy writing + happy reading!


 

SLT   SLF Cover

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2 thoughts on “Social Media Trends for 2018

  1. Vania Margene Rheault says:

    I think you need to be careful about social media and how much time you spend on it. Twitter is a double-edged sword. It doesn’t help you sell books; it’s a time suck. Yet you want high numbers because it makes your platform look good.

    As you immerse yourself in social media, building your brand and platform, you’ll come to realize two things: Just write. You can’t do anything without product, (or at least, you shouldn’t want to because all that work you’re putting into your brand doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot if someone likes you and can’t support you) and a lot of new writers forget that. Write something. Publish something. You want fans, but you can’t get them if you can’t prove to them you have talent. And two, learning the publishing industry/reader trends will serve you a lot better or is better paired with your writer’s platform, than just having a platform. Audio is in, but it’s daunting and lots of writers don’t use it. Heck, some authors still don’t offer paperback because formatting and cover design are learning curves they don’t want to tackle. Even if you don’t plan on using those services, it’s better to keep your ear to the ground. Marke LeFevre left Kobo Writing Life. What is Draft2Digital up to these days? How about that change Goodreads made to their giveaway program?

    Knowing where you want your writing career to go should steer your social media use. Twitter is great for following agents, breaking into the trad-pubbed world. Follow editors, publishing houses. Follow indie publishing powerhouses for tips, tricks, ideas. But Writer Twitter won’t sell books.

    And of course, once you do open all these accounts, the same friends follow you everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I’m friends with all the same people. Learning out to break out of that mold is something I haven’t wanted to invest time in.

    Sorry for the long response. Haha. Looking forward to your next blog post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alfageeek says:

    Vania is correct that “Writer Twitter” won’t sell books. Writer Twitter is a desolate echo chamber of people retweeting each other’s book promos. I have a lot of writer friends on Twitter, but I’ve never gotten into that particular ghetto on my TL. All those hashtags and links and cover art just scream “mute me.” And I’d much rather discuss the craft in private DMs than in one of those “chats” you two do (I love you, but ugh).

    I doubt that having big follower numbers has any impact on your ability to get an agent. Although that was conventional wisdom a while back, everything I’ve ready lately is that nobody cares how many followers you have because that number is not an indicator of how many actual fans you have.

    All that said, being a human being on Twitter absolutely sells books. My followers are the people who buy my books, and they are the people who tell other people to buy my books. I haven’t run Twitter ads in a while, but those also sold a lot of books (at break even). In self-pub, you sell to people who “know” you, and Twitter is much better than Facebook or Instagram at convincing random strangers that they “know” you.

    One other point that is worth making on this post: Instagram is part of Facebook, and Facebook has gone completely pay-to-play. So anyone who tells you they got readers for cheap on Facebook are probably telling you historical stories. These days, getting into a feed costs so much, it has become a completely cost-ineffective marketing channel.

    Liked by 1 person

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