Apples

By Alma Katsu

Welcome to the second edition of this new column, designed to bring you news about developments in social media specifically for writers. And, let me remind you that these columns for WRW won’t contain all the links from the Friday wrap-ups, just the highlights. If you want to see the whole thing, you can mosey over to my blog on Fridays.

1. Facebook still making an unholy mess of things: Ever since it went public, Facebook–under tremendous stress to turn a profit–has been rejiggering their algorithms so that business pages are pretty much forced to buy advertising in order for any of their followers to see their posts. Not a good move, especially at a time when major segments of your users are leaving your platform in droves. This New York Times article says that Facebook is going to start using outside data sources to improve its ability to target the right people to show your ads to, though the author seems doubtful that this latest move is going to make much difference. And Mike Allton at Social Media Today talks about Facebook’s recent changes to the admin panel of your business page, why FB did it, and why they shouldn’t have bothered.

2. First it was fake reviews, now fake Twitter followers: Tempted to beef up your Twitter numbers by buying fake followers? Read this interesting article written by a Slate reporter who bought 27,000 followers for $202.

3. They don’t call it shameless self-promotion for nothing: Social Media Today tells you how a normal mortal can market like a Kardashian.

4. Do you have a street team? How about a handful of really great superfans? Here’s an article to help you get the most out of your staunchest supporters.

5. Improving your “call to action”: If you’re going to use social media to ask people to do something, you do so through what’s known as the “call to action”. If you have a hard time crafting your call to action so that people know what’s expected of them, or how they’re going to benefit–that’s a problem. This article will help you sharp those calls to action.

6. Getting 15,000 followers on Pinterest: This user tries to figure out how he got thousands of new followers on Pinterest in a very short time–and fails. Like most things in life, the answer is ‘it’s a mystery’.

7. Do you worry about online reviews? I do. This infographic from PeopleClaim will give you something to think about. Granted, their statistics apply to all consumer goods and services and not just books, but consider this: 70 percent of consumers say they consult online reviews before they make a purchase, and 10-15 percent of online reviews are fake (for some sites like Yelp, the percentage is believed to be higher). We know that fake online book reviews are a huge problem and yet consumers trust them implicitly (84 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews over those of a critic). (This NY Times article from last year on the business of selling fake book reviews is a must-read on the subject.)

8. Getting the most out of a Twitterchat: I’ve done two Twitterchats in my short career as an author. Both times, this particular tweetchat hadn’t been around very long (in one case, it was the inaugural event) and meaning no disrespect to the hosts, but the attendance was limited. That’s not to say that there aren’t mature, weekly twitterchats with great audiences out there–it just hasn’t been my experience. In case you’ve been invited to be the subject of a Twitterchat and were wondering how to prepare, this article can help you with that. And if you’re looking for an existing Twitterchat that might be interested in having you as a guest (a twitterchat for nurses and you write novels with a nurse heroine, for instance), here’s a list.

9. Need Ideas for Contests? Social Media Today lists some of the most popular kinds of contests being held on social media, and the pros and cons of each. If you’re looking for ways to increase reader engagement and attract new followers, you may get some new ideas here.

10. Live Book Appearance 2.0: Katherine Grissom got her novel The Kitchen House on the bestseller lists two years after it was published, and she did so by connecting with book clubs across the country. You can read how she did it here, thanks to Togather.

If you haven’t heard of Togather, it’s an online platform that lets you crowdsource live book events. You set the criteria for a live event—such as minimum size of the group you’ll speak for, distance, etc.—and then you direct your fans to Togather where they can vote for (“vie for” might be a better term) an event near them.

11. Understanding Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm 101: Here’s a nice infographic from PostRocket (via Mashable) explaining, at a basic level, how Facebook decides which posts your friends and followers will see from you; WHY; and what you can do to tip the odds in your favor.

12. Why Do Your Newsletter Subscribers Unsubscribe?: It must be infographic week because here is another infographic (this one from Social Media Today) explaining why people unsubscribe from mailing lists. Their bottom lines: let your readers know up front how frequently they can expect to receive mailings from you; be consistent as to when (day/time) you send your newsletter; but also mix up your content, giving them something new and fresh to look forward to.