How To Grow Your Audience If You Hate Social Media
Several months ago I deleted the Facebook app on my iPhone. And let me tell you, it was liberating.
I know that might sound strange coming from a social media and marketing expert. Why would I share that I deleted the Facebook app off my phone?
The short answer is this: my ideal reader isn’t there. I’m still posting to Facebook and have a Facebook Group where I interact with our audience, but I’m spending my time and energy in other places to connect with our ideal readers.
And you know what? Our audience continues to grow.
When I have an initial conversation with an author or consult with them, nine times out of ten this phrase comes into our conversation: “I can’t stand social media!”
I get it! That’s why I deleted the Facebook app on my phone - the noise, the distraction, the craziness ended up being more of a time suck than anything else.
But on the other hand, I love social media. I really do! I love it because I’ve met the most incredible people, had fantastic conversations and made truly amazing connections that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.
Social media is still, hands down, the best way to connect with others and grow your audience. But it’s not the only way. And, best of all, when you are on social media, it shouldn’t take up a huge chunk of your day.
Today I’m going to share with you a strategy on how to use social media without it taking over your day, as well as how to find additional outlets to grow your audience outside of social media.
So let’s jump in…
Know Who You Want To Connect With
Here I go again talking about the importance of an ideal reader! It’s that important. When you clearly know who you’re trying to reach, you will know how to reach them and where they are online, which makes your marketing so much more effective and easier to do. Everything comes back to your readers.
To learn more about identifying your ideal reader, sign up for our free training called Answers for Authors: 5 Actionable Steps to Intentionally Grow Your Audience.
Pick a Few Key Places
When you know who you’re looking to connect with you’ll know where they hang out online. This will indicate which social media outlet you should focus on, what blogs you should write for, what podcasts you should do interviews with, and so on.
You don’t want to take stabs in the dark, you want to be intentional and precise.
Even though social media might be the best way to connect with new readers online, it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Remember, your readers aren’t going to be everywhere - they will be in a few key places.
The key to not being overwhelmed is to be focused and intentional about where you spend your time. I would encourage you to be on 1-2 social media outlets, but then consider other outlets like blogs, podcasts, websites that you could reach out to do guest posts or become involved with.
Other options might be to set up an authors group where you and other authors could support one another and promote each other's work. You could get involved with your local library or bookstore to build up a strong local following. Here’s a list of other free outlets and ways to connect with your ideal reader. Pick 1-2 additional outlets outside of social media and you’ll be set.
But it all boils down to this - what will connect you with your ideal readers? This might take a little bit of research, but it will be well worth your time.
Be the First to Reach Out
Social media or any other online outlet is not an “if you build it they will come” kind of situation. Readers are being bombarded with information every day. The best way to get their attention - especially online - is to reach out to them first. It’s your job to make the first connection.
Make a list of 5-6 hashtags that your ideal reader would use (think about genre specific hashtags, hashtags for hobbies you share, other authors, etc) and start liking and commenting on their posts. Join a Facebook Group where you can have intentional and focused conversations. When you make the first move, more often than not, they will reciprocate and check out who you are.
Tap Into Automation Tools
You don’t have to be strapped to your computer every day posting to social media. That’s what automation tools are for! Buffer, Later, Hootsuite, Agora Pulse - these are all great options for you to tap into. We use Buffer and highly recommend it. You can schedule your posts for the week and it will do the rest!
Know How To Communicate With Your Readers
Getting a “like” or “follow” is one thing - keeping your readers around is another. Knowing how to best communicate with your readers to keep their attention and keep them involved is critical.
This isn’t just throwing information about your book at them. This is talking about TV shows you might enjoy, a new book you read, a new author you discovered, an amazing movie you saw... It’s much deeper than just promoting your book.
When you can communicate in a way that is genuinely engaging and not self-promotional, it opens up a world of conversations with your readers. We talk about how to do this in Answers for Authors as well.
Set a Timer
You don’t need to spend countless hours on social media, websites, blogs, or any other outlet to make an impact. You can leave a lot of comments, like a lot of posts, and create a lot of engagement in just a few minutes a day. If you struggle with the social media time suck, set a timer. I did it for years and it really helped!
Growing your audience doesn’t need to take over your life - you just need to be intentional and streamlined. Remember, you don’t have to be everywhere online - you just need to be where your ideal reader is already at.
Be sure you sign up for Answers for Authors - you don’t want to miss it! We dig deeper into this subject and more!