The Only Three Social Networks I Need

social-media-seo-logosI have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Blogger, Shelfari, Goodreads and many others whose names escape me. I’ve spent time on Kboards, KDP Community Forums, Yahoo Groups and again, many other forums with long-forgotten names. I’ve posted ads for my books on Craigslist as well as multiple other free online classified sites. And, in between all that I’ve written some new books. Eighteen months ago it became too much so I made some decisions. I knew I had to pare down my efforts and decide which sites were working for me and I had to eliminate the ineffective time drainers. So, I determined which three sites were the platforms that would help me connect with readers. I ignored the ones that weren’t working and I found the ones that worked. For me.

When I first published I worked very hard and put hours and hours into efforts that sometimes did not pay off. After spending time almost everywhere I knew I had to make some changes. So, I picked three sites. I picked the site that I enjoy the most, the one I think is working but don’t really like, and the one I think I should be participating in. Those are the three platforms where I decided to concentrate my efforts.

From time to time I hear that posting on Facebook does not help authors sell books. This is malarkey. When advertising on any of the major promotional sites the sales spike comes after your book is presented on their Facebook page. This has been tested over and over again. In fact some of the sites even alert you to watch for the boost once your book is featured on Facebook, and they ask you to share and like the post in order to increase visibility. When the morning email from the promotional site is delivered you may see a sales spike, but when the post goes live on Facebook, usually in the early afternoon, that’s when it’s either going to fly or flail. So, Facebook is a necessity for me. I have proven examples over and over again of readers discovering my book because of my presence on Facebook. Fortunately I enjoy spending time there. So, for me, Facebook is the site I enjoy the most and is a must for connecting with readers.

I’m not a Twitter fan. I enjoy spending time getting to know people and learning about their lives (to an extent) on Facebook but Twitter often seems like one long commercial. Nevertheless I know that some authors find it effective so the site that I don’t enjoy but is probably working is Twitter. I follow (and am followed) by others who I think are making a difference and running their careers in an honest and ethical manner. And, I share articles of interest from time to time too. I also post tweets when I have a book on sale, or if I’ve discovered a book that I enjoyed reading, or if there’s a book that I believe in that is currently on sale. But, I do this sporadically. If you look at my Twitter feed you’ll see that it is not one long plea for the follower to make a purchase. I don’t want to bombard people with requests to buy books. I want to be myself on Twitter and show my true personality and in order to do that I do more than just run “buy my book” tweets. So, although Twitter isn’t my favorite site I understand the power of it and I respect it and spend some time there.

I should be spending more time on Goodreads. When I published my first book I spent a short amount of time on Goodreads. I shouldn’t have stopped. When we look at obscure, low-traffic sites that may or may not help us sell books and then scratch our heads and wonder where the readers are we need look no further than Goodreads. This is a readers site where book recommendations are golden. In spite of its recent controversies, if I were starting from scratch again Goodreads would be a site where I would expand my efforts especially since Amazon now own it. Building a presence on Goodreads is on my “To Do” list this year and will become my number three site, or the site where I should be spending more time.

Currently the site that is in my number three position varies and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I post on Stumbleupon from time to time, I’ve posted stories on Wattpad, and I share my blogs on Blogger. I also spend a little bit of time on a few forums and chat groups. And, although I don’t often post on them I do spend time reading posts on Kboards, KDP community forums and some Yahoo groups too. These are great for garnering information and staying current on what’s going on in our industry. All of these sites and forums that are in the number three position take up less than ten percent of my working time.

Since I began my one thousand word a day challenge at the end of January (and still going strong), I’ve spent more time writing. I know I have to get those new words written every day so it has forced me to cut back on some of the time I spend on social networks, I mean marketing, I mean playing on Facebook. I’m sure you know what I mean. I still haven’t passed that magical corner where I’m writing more than marketing but I’m nearing that 50/50 ratio and it’s getting closer all the time.

So for now, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, are the only three sites where a presence is necessary. For me. Where are you guys hanging out?

Author: Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie is the administrator of BookDoggy.com and writer of seven published novels. His self-publishing journey has been mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online Magazine, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. You can learn more about Martin on his Amazon author page.

49 thoughts on “The Only Three Social Networks I Need”

  1. I’m with you on Facebook – my profile page, not my author page. It swems to have the most interactive traffic but I don’t know what it does for sales. I post on twitter for sharing and occasional personal announcements. My third is Google+ but I need to learn more about how to use it effectively. I rarely go onto Goodreads because I find it difficult to navigate and hear about too many issues between authors there. I am just becoming acquainted with Stumbledupon and want to learn more about that.

    1. Stumbleupon is easy. They show you random stuff and you either like it or you don’t – but if you like it, they will show you more stuff similar to it. Easy-peasy.

      You can also submit stuff to it, too, like blog posts about your books. 😉

      Try it. It’s neat. 😀

      1. I think if you’re accomplishing your goals via Stumbleupon or Google + or wherever then you should stick with it. I’ve sold books because of my presence on FB and Twitter and I know readers have found me through Goodreads too. If I don’t see results then I may as well be writing. Actually, I probably should be doing that anyway. Thanks for your thoughts, Yvonne and Lorraine.

  2. I took a step back this year from many sites, and am mainly on Facebook, (page and account purely for author friends). I drop into Twitter as and when I remember but my sales do bump when I have been active there, so tried harder just lately, and Google + on occasion.

  3. I rarely ever use my Author Page on FB … just to post the occasional promo and that. That way I’m not mucking about other people’s pages and other group pages where we already get far too much pointless promotion. No one clicks on those things unless they’re friends, and that’s kinda defeating the point.

    1. I’m kinda doing the same thing, Rich. I wasn’t spending any time on my author page so I’m trying to migrate my followers from there to my personal page. If I really want to get to that 50/50 writing/promoting balance I need to make those kind of decisions and stick with them.
      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Interesting – you and I went through a similar process this last year and ended up with the same results. Those three sites are the ones I concentrate attention on – the rest were time drains for me, although I’m sure they work well for others.

    1. Yes, I’ve been watching your every move Melinda (insert evil laugh here).
      Your point is well taken. Some might be time drains for you and I but if they’re working for someone else and they find them effective then that’s where they should be. I just think, for me, I need to put a limit or a cap on the amount of effort I’m putting in. There, I even said that out loud.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. I think you’re right, Martin, that we ought not to spread ourselves too thin when it comes to marketing efforts.

    Facebook, as frustrating as it can be these days in terms of reach, is still my number-one social media destination. Based on my time actually spent on the site, Google+ is probably my number 2. I enjoy my interactions there, when I think to go…but Facebook still sucks me in most often. My number 3 is Twitter, but typically I go there just to check my mentions; as you have said, it does seem like my stream is just one long “buy my book” commercial, and I haven’t gotten around to unfollowing the offenders.

    I think you’re right about Goodreads being a place to connect with readers, but I don’t spend much time there, either — and when I do, it seems like I’m mostly in the author-only forums. Need to fix that. Maybe I’ll make this my summer project…

    1. “…Goodreads being a place to connect with readers, but I don’t spend much time there, either — and when I do, it seems like I’m mostly in the author-only forums.”

      That is my problem too, Lynne. I know I should join book club groups or something but I have no idea what to say to them/in them. The threads I enjoy seem to be full of other authors.

  6. I opted to ditch all but FB and Twitter- and I linked accounts so I only have to post in one place. Too busy to manage many more social media sites.

  7. When I first started I went on Goodreads. I’ve changed covers, changed titles and I have yet been able to get a Librarian to correct the issues. I visit once a month or so and post books I’ve read. If Amazon would make GRs as easy to fix issues, I would spend more time on GRs. I am at a loss why GRs asks us to upload books and upload excerpts when Look Inside and Download a free sample is available on Amazon. I haven’t developed much of a following there. But most of the groups are lead by authors. I’ve only been heavy into Twitter for several months. I have not learn social media as well as I need to. I’m writing and promoting my indie titles. Promotion is a learning curve all it’s own.
    I’m learning FB. And my FB posts get into my twitter feed. I have a page on Google Plus. I visit a couple of times a month. I backed out of LinkedIn. I’m not job hunting. The things that work for me are networking and paying it forward with other authors, group promotions and building my newsletter subscribers. I want to learn to use my blog effectively. I’d rather master that first. When I take a step back and look at the array of site, I see each wants a piece of the author. But hey! I already willed by body to science. I gotta leave them something to work with. Meanwhile, I have books to write.
    Jackie Weger

    1. I’ve had problems with Goodreads too. Forget about getting a librarian to correct a problem. I spent about three months of back and forth e-mails to no avail. Still, I’m going to put all that behind me and concentrate more on Goodreads this year.

      1. Yikes, I guess I got lucky on Goodreads. I had a cover change plus I had two versions of the same book showing. They made the changes within a day. If either of you need the contact info of the person who helped me let me know and I’ll forward it.
        And, I use LinkedIn to spread the word about my workshops and speaking engagements. I post notices and send out emails to my contacts updating them from time to time. It’s basically get in and get out very quickly on there though. I’m a selfish LinkedIn member, it takes a lot for me to read a post on there.
        Thanks Jackie and J.P.

  8. I concentrate on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads, altho I’m doing more on StumbleUpon and having fun there. But agreed, there are just too many places to spread a finite amount of energy. I do find that I tend to follow some sort of ebb and flow, back off of one for a while, concentrate on another, which may end up working much like price-pulsing in that when I ramp up on one, it seems fresher and reaches new people. Been too lazy to compare sales to effort, though, so no hard numbers to back that up.

  9. My favorite discussions are on Google and LinkedIn but I think Facebook still rules because people have so much time and connections invested in it, that they won’t let it go. Time goes by too fast on FB

    1. I agree. It’s pretty clear. I post an excerpt or a link to a book (mine or someone else’s) and often someone posts that they’ve purchased the book.
      Thanks Elisabeth.

  10. My blog is my online home. It’s where I feel comfortable and happy, so that is where I spend my time and energy. I average about 3 blog posts a week, and all my posts are linked to Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads, and perhaps LinkedIn [can’t remember]. Most of those posts have absolutely nothing to do with my books, but they have everything to do with me and my passions. Not very effective marketing, I know, but it’s the only form of ‘marketing’ I can sustain.

    With almost 500 blog posts to my name, I figure my tortoise technique will pay off in, oh, ten years or so. 😀

    1. That’s a lot of blogging. Good for you Andrea. I’m writing blogs way more than I was a year ago. I think it’s a great idea. You’re potentially connecting with others and practicing writing at the same time.

      1. I hadn’t really thought of blog posts as practice, but you’re right, they have had an effect on my writing generally – for the better I hope. 😉

        1. Several years ago at a writers festival I listened to a panel of bestselling authors. Each of them talked about practicing writing and becoming better writers. I’ve always remembered that. If those guys, who have sold millions of books, are trying to get better at what they do then I sure as heck better do the same thing.
          I figure each blog I write helps with that.

          1. I agree completely! My background is technical writing, so I thought I ‘knew how to write’. But creative writing is very, very different, and I still feel as if I’m just an apprentice wordsmith! The learning never ends. 🙂

    1. Yes, I agree and I’m dreading learning about their infrastructure. As I said it is on my list, but it’s a very long list.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Eve.

  11. I’m mainly on Twitter and I’m trying to do more on Goodreads and Google+. I also use Linkedin and StumbleUpon. I don’t like Facebook and I’m liking it less and less each day, except for private chats. Talking trivia to more than 1200 people who aren’t listening isn’t my cup of tea. Yes, there are the book promotion groups, but that’s become a post and run scene.

    1. Although I still find FB effective I agree with you it can be frustrating and I know I’m being manipulated by the FB masters.
      I haven’t spent much time in the book promo groups in quite some time and it is frustrating that only a small percentage of my friends can read my posts but I still think they remain the big dog. And, I feel like I should be there.
      Thanks J.P.

  12. interesting. I won’t use FB because of its grabby ‘everything belongs to us’ policy. And they are slow to respond to serious breaches which cause offense and/or are bulllying.

    Goodreads – as a reader – has been very good. Some nice groups where we can be authors and readers.

    linked In – some interesting NZ writerly things going on there.

    Twitter linked to everything else so I don’t waste time going there!

    Might try Google+ if you [people think it’s good.

  13. On this basis I should abandon all social media and go out talking to people, live and in person. It does far more to promote my books than all these electronic whirlpools put together and is far more fun.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some great people via Linked-in and gained tremendously from doing so. I hope I’ve also contributed a little here and there. But it’s not a scratch on meeting people you can shake hand with and sign books for.

    As one who still uses a quill and ink, I find all these etherial electronic media difficult to make sense of, so probably never get more than a fraction of the value others seem to feel they offer. Shucks.

    1. Thirty years ago the conversation we’re now having would probably have sounded totally out of this world, but now it’s commonplace. You’re having fun out in the world and it’s working for you so yes, I agree, why mess with it.
      Thanks for commenting.

  14. Martin —

    I am interested in where you post on Facebook that results in sales of your books. Are you talking about particular pages or groups? Something different than the beta reader groups you’ve mentioned in your books? Something different than your own author’s or book pages? I would appreciate some details.

    Also, I think your decision to concentrate on GoodReads is a good one. It’s where serious, critical readers go for book recommendations. And if you count yourself in that class, you can come away with gems.

    1. Just on my own personal FB page, Mary Anne. I occasionally post in masterkoda but I see results from posting on my own page. I do it sporadically though. Nobody wants to see post after post advertising books.
      Thanks for commenting and yes, Goodreads, here I come.

  15. I agree, Martin, and although I’m up on many different social media platforms, find Facebook the undisputed champion, with Twitter right behind. I too work with Stumbleupon and have just gotten into the workflow of posting things on my library of sites, even the ones that aren’t necessarily that effective… in kind of a “why not?” business model! 🙂

    But FB is most important, no matter what the gripes. I worked for a long time with a media site and had access to their backend, could see where all their clicks came from, and it was astonishing just how in the lead FB was every single day of the week… by thousands. No comparison, at least not right now, with any other social media site, including Twitter.

    So we work what works! 🙂

  16. I’ve been on FB, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads for a long time now, and recently joined Pinterest. All of it is taking way too much of my time. Because I do a lot of public speaking I have the best opportunity to sell my books and I love that most. There are a lot of regular free webinars by experts that teach how to use Social Media effectively, but it all takes time as well. Sometimes I feel I’m too long on the runway and no time in the air. Finding a balance is tricky, but I’ll stay with all of my present ones, speed reading whenever possible, and hope I’m not losing out…

    1. Sounds like a smart plan Ester. I figure we’re so hooked in with the information we get from Indies Unlimited that if there’s another network that’s rocking we’re going to hear about it.
      Thanks for commenting.

  17. It’s alright for children of the cyber age to talk in cyber riddles, but as a quill pusher with a hard mental block when it comes to anything related to computers, I am confused by all these acronyms like SEO, SERP, URL and so on. As a result much of the current discussion is meaningless to me. Could someone please write an explanatory list of their meanings?

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