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January 16, 2014

What to Talk about on Social Media

I recently met with support staff at my church to discuss their social media strategy. In particular we talked about best practices for Twitter and Facebook. Many of the questions I got were the same ones I get from authors and other bloggers, so I thought I would share the tips I shared with the staff member.

Timing of your posts

You really need to be using a scheduling tool, particularly for Twitter. I like using HootSuite, others have recommended TweetDeck. I think it really is a matter of personal preference. The majority of the US population lives in the eastern time zone. Unless your audience is unique to a particular region, you will want to be "present" on social media when the majority of the population is. 

So when are people on social media?

7 am - 9 am: They check their social media accounts while drinking coffee or shortly after arriving at the office.

11 am - 2 pm: People check in again during their lunch break.

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Before they leave the office, while waiting for children to get off the bus or dinner to cook. 

A study a couple of years ago found that the largest number of people are on Facebook on Saturdays at noon.

What to post

Pictures are worth a thousand words and get the most views. My church posted a picture of our new senior pastor and his family the Sunday we voted to call them. According to Facebook, 812 people saw it. The church page only has 555 "likes". Next time you are out and about snap a picture of what you are doing. Got some new books from the library, bookstore, or in the mail? Show them off.

Quotes or profound statements are great for retweeting. Tips I give in under 140 characters are among my most retweeted tweets. (They are usually about reviewing and networking.). Combine a quote with an image or make the quote the graphic (use a cool font) and you might hit gold. A publicist sent me a graphic with a quote from a book which I posted on Facebook. It got great views, shares, and likes. 

Questions can garner a good response. But remember the purpose of asking the question is to start a conversation. You will need to go back and respond. I've asked about reading goals, books people are looking forward to, if you had 5 minutes with your favorite author who would it be and what would you talk about, favorite genres, etc. I tend to stay focused on book related discussion, but if you are an author or blog about multiple topics then you can branch out with your topics.

People do come looking for information. Got an event coming up - post the details. Scored an interview with a big name author - definitely announce that. DO NOT continually blast your feed with Buy My Book. DO include a link to where one can buy your book in your profile. But more than information about you, they are looking for information about your niche topic. When I post links to articles from Publisher's Weekly, Forbes, GalleyCat relating to books, publishing, and marketing, I see a quite a few retweets and likes. 

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.


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