Thinking about Social Media for 2019

It's the end of the year and the time when many of us do a little reflection. What do we want 2019 to look like? What will we do differently, do better? 

I've got a book coming out in February (THE CHEF'S SECRET in case you want to help an author out) and that means a lot of promotion. Few authors have the luxury of just sitting back and letting their publisher shout about their book to the world. Marketing budgets are slim and even bestselling authors are finding that they need to do more to get their book noticed. 

A challenge that we're all facing is that the world has changed a LOT in the last year. One of the big things that changed is how we are using social media channels. We no longer trust Facebook, the biggest social media company. Weirdly, people are flocking to Instagram, not realizing that the channel is just another branch of the scandal-ridden platform. It's harder than ever to find authentic followers. 

It means that I have to start thinking about how to shift my strategy for the year ahead. Let's start though, with what I'll keep doing. 

  • Engaging: This has always been the most effective action I can take when it comes to social media. Having conversations with other people is what makes social media social, after all. It's also the way that I have met countless other authors, readers, librarians, book bloggers, chefs, historians, personal idols and celebrities. I have met a number of people that have become friends, and many that have been instrumental in helping me spread the word about my books. It's also the way that I will gain more followers--more authentic followers. People see the interactions, and the people I'm engaging with are more likely to recommend me or my books to others.

  • Following others and weeding out those people who are following me, but are not using their social channels: This has long been a tactic used on a few different channels (namely Twitter and Instagram) to get people to follow you. It doesn't work as well as it used to because of changing algorithms, but I find it is still one of the best ways to find the followers you want. Look for people who might review and read your books. Look for people in your genre, with interests like you have. Even if you only have 10 people out of every 100 follow you back, they're more likely to be the right people.

  • Facebook and Instagram advertising: Facebook is no longer the darling of the social media world, but despite how many people say they are leaving the platform, it's still the most effective way to reach the right people. 

So what will I be doing differently?

  • More Instagram posts and stories: It's a channel with high engagement and stories most of all. I'm not generally a fan of Instagram stories, because they are ephemeral and feel tacky visually to me, but people love them, so I'm determined to love them a bit more this upcoming year. If you are not sure what to do about Instagram, you are in luck. In my work with HubSpot as a social media professor, I've developed a 1.5 hour course all about how to get going on Instagram. It's free and while it says it's for businesses, I would argue that as an author, you ARE a business. It launches in January, but you can sign up here to be notified about its launch. Also, Instagram is doing this helping save indie bookstores. Readers are loving Instagram. 

  • More video: Hands down, this is where it's all at: video responses on all channels; video and live video on Instagram and Facebook; and of course, on YouTube. This year I'm determined to become a little friendlier with the camera. I spend a lot of time on camera but am still not used to doing it for my own projects. I vow to change that this year. 

And yeah, this is work, all of it. Would I rather be writing? Hell yes. But that's not going to push my books out to the world at large. So I make time each week to write and time to work on promotion. I want 2019 to be an amazing year for my books, and to open up as many new doors for opportunities as I can. It's not going to happen if I don't make it happen, so let's go 2019. This year is going to ROCK. 

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About the Author

Crystal King is a 25-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and the forthcoming THE CHEF'S SECRET (February 12, 2019, Touchstone Books) about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website: crystalking.com

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