Which Social Media Site Is Best for You (and How to Use It Best)

You’ve probably been bombarded with advice on how to use social media to promote yourself and your book. Everyone is touting the benefits of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc… But who in the world has the time to utilize each of these to their maximum benefit? I know I don’t…

Thankfully, each of these sites has a specific purpose, a specific audience, and a way to use it best to accomplish your goals. Here’s a cheat sheet on how to find the right site to put your time and energy into, and how to use it to your benefit.

Chances are that you use Facebook. If not, you know enough about it to understand that the large majority of people in the U.S. spend time each day on Facebook. The chances are good that you should have at least some kind of Facebook presence for yourself and/or your book.

Who it’s for: Basically, everybody. That said, Facebook is especially important for anyone whose books are tailored towards the general reading public. And the younger the audience of readers, the more important Facebook should be in your marketing efforts.

Tips on using it:

  • Create a professional fan page. Don’t use your personal profile.
  • Use photos. Facebook itself reports that photos and videos generate two times more engagement than text.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule. This means that you should use no more than 20% of your blog posts to be promotional in nature. The rest should be fun, informative, etc…
  • Include calls to action and links. Pose questions for people to respond to. Include bonuses/benefits specifically for Facebook followers. Include links to your website. Make Facebook an engaging experience for everyone.

Twitter is a quick and easy means of quick communication with your readers and followers.

Who it’s for: People who want to say very active in their websites and in communicating with their audience. The younger your audience, the more likely they are to use Twitter … and even get your tweets on their smartphone!

Tips on using it:

  • Be timely. Twitter is an instantaneous means of communication. People learn about news on Twitter before they even see it on TV or read about it on news websites. So share information as soon as it’s available.
  • Be funny. People love to follow tweeters who can give them a good laugh in the middle of the day.
  • Learn to write in shorthand. Because of its limit of 160 characters, Twitter has a language all of its own. Don’t be afraid to use abbreviations and shortened words, like “u” for “you” or “cuz” for “because.” This is hard for writers, but it’s considered perfectly acceptable on Twitter.
  • Use hashtags. For those of you who aren’t familiar with hashtags, these are certain characters that go at the beginning of tweets in order to characterize them. For example, someone looking for all the tweets on healthcare might do a search for #healthcare so that he or she can see all tweets on the subject. Figure out which hashtags people are using to find tweets on your subject matter and start using them.

LinkedIn is a social networking website with a business/career slant.

Who it’s for: If your book is a business-to-business book, or if it offers any type of career advice for your average person, this site is a great place to focus your time and energy.

Tips on using it:

  • Education people. According to Internet and Marketing Report, it’s important to use LinkedIn to establish yourself as an expert in your field and a resource center. Post educational content in your status updates and provide links to blog entries and the like that you think will be beneficial to people.
  • Join communities. If your book is about writing resumes, for example, join communities of people who are job hunting. Then you can offer your own tips and advice directly to the people who need it most.
  • Use the RSS option. LinkedIn lets you provide an RSS feed of your most recent blog posts. This can help drive traffic back to your website.
  • Keep your profile current. Make sure it includes details on your book, and a link to your author website.

Which social networking site have you found most helpful? What did you do with it that helped your efforts? Share your tips!