Social Media Roundup #3: Create an Audience/Platform with Your Phone

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series on social media for writers. A book-worthy peg in a blog hole, the series aims to point writers in the direction of finding more information and help them make informed decisions. Have a story to tell or experiences to share on LinkedIn, Twitter or the “others” (Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest)?  Please email me or Thanks!

As mentioned in the Aug. 28th ASJA Confidential , I recently attended a “Facebook Community Boost” that focused on how small and medium-sized businesses could best utilize social media, specifically Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. While Instagram was covered in the previous column, “Getting Creative with Your Mobile Phone” also caught my eye, because I was intrigued as to how to further utilize my $900 (retail) Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for something other than pictures of my granddaughter, cats or for written or taped notes or story photos and visual records of my research.

There was a lot of discussion about “thumbstopping” in the course, with the tacit/tactile understanding that other digits could be involved as well. “The way people consume video is very different on their mobile phones” than on other devices, pointed out our presenter, an earnest 20-something sporting trendy glasses and an Afro. This is because people decide what app they want to use and then customize it to suit their needs. Thus “it becomes more personalized and accessed ‘on demand’ as the user chooses,” according to the tutorial information that accompanied the course. Other factoids:

  • There is usually a drop-off after the first five seconds of video viewing (unless cute animals are involved)
  • People check their phone an average of thirty times a day (guilty as charged!)
  • 75 percent of smart phone users choose to customize their home screen apps

Apps offer great potential in exposing your books, articles and other online content to a wider audience and array of readers.

The presenter also defined various audiences:

Core: This is your target audience, the people you know are going to read and/or purchase your work and is “based on four main targeting types: location, demographic, interests and behaviors,” explained the presenter.

Custom:  This audience is culled by importing a list of existing user email addresses for retargeting on the social media platform. “Custom audiences are an effective way for online businesses to interact with relevant users across multiple channels” according to the Facebook tutorial.

Lookalike: New audiences based on traits from other sources, such as Facebook and your website. These can be obtained by using various Facebook tools to locate people who resemble your existing audience.

Once you know who your audience is—and/or what you want them to be—you can then better tailor your social media offerings to increase their engagement. For example, Facebook research has shown that people watch longer videos when they are at home or relaxing. So whether you want to grab people on the go or catch them when they are winding down should be considered when designing your photo/video output.

Both the presenter and the tutorial offered advice on successful video campaigns:

  • Think mobile first and build mobile optimized video from the start
  • Understand how people consume video from across platforms and match your creative content to fit the various environments
  • Test and tweak the video to find the most appealing “message” and format

(Adapted from: Facebook tutorial)

You have a number of formats to choose from, some of which are better suited to certain types of social media than others. What might look fun or cool on Facebook, for instance, might appear odd on Twitter or inappropriate on LinkedIn. Visual offerings include GIFs, short videos, carousel animation, Instagram Stories, among others, taking the video duration and style into consideration based on the app and audience you want to reach. Along with being easy to use, according to our presenter, the carousel format, a single ad unit consisting  of 3-10 clickable, linked images and/or videos, “offers flexibility as well as a way to reach different audiences,” allowing users to click onto the image that appeals most to them.

OK maybe I’m not quite ready for Carousel, but I did tinker with Facebook’s top 10 list of creative apps.  I came up with a cute Instagram array of my cat Mr. Peabody (#curlyboy) and a campaign idea for readers to submit snapshots and suggestions for a possible book project, thus giving them a buy-in when it’s published. Not doing the latter until a contract is offered and signed of course, but as the Girl Scouts say, it’s always good to be prepared.

The next Virtual Client Connections is scheduled for October 30-November 2, noon to 4:00 p.m. EST on all four days. Signups are set for October 9 at 2:00 p.m. EST with appointments sent out by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, October 12. Mark your calendars! And stay tuned for details.