Facebook vs. Twitter: Where The Readers Are

Photo by Ed Yourdon (flickr cc)Facebook or Twitter? It's a question that people seem to have definite feelings on. Most people prefer one strongly and see the other as a pain. In the past, I've made it no secret that I'm a Twitter girl. I like the fast pace and the simple interface. I like that I can follow a bunch of people and get a little nibble of everything. And frankly, I use it as my blog reader now since I never seem to have time to keep up with my Google Reader.

However, over the last two months or so, I decided to put more effort into my Facebook presence. Many established authors swear by Facebook for connecting with readers, and I know that people are way more likely to be on Facebook than Twitter.

So I begin to put focus on FB and not just by copying tweets over there. FB and Twitter are inherently different in the kinds of updates that "fit." I also made the point of keeping FB more reader-focused than writing-focused. Twitter is filled with my fellow writers who don't mind hearing about word counts or craft-related things. But FB seemed to be getting more pure readers, so I didn't want to bore them with the technical side of writing.

And you know what? Yesterday, the difference in "crowd" became noticeable.

I posted a question on both Twitter and Facebook asking what I should put on a stamp I'm going to use when I send out signed bookplates. One option was my tagline "For the Fearless Romantic" and the other was "Greetings from The Ranch."  For those of you who aren't aware, The Ranch is the BDSM resort in my series.

So the results were very telling. Almost every one of my Twitter followers said the Fearless Romantic one. Then on Facebook, every vote was for The Ranch. It was amazing how divided it was.

And then I realized the difference. My writer friends were going for the one that spoke more to "author brand". We've been trained to think that way, to have that marketing hook. But my READERS who are already fans of the books were thrilled at the thought of having "Greetings from The Ranch." One line is meant to "sell" the books to new people. The other serves to entertain people who love the series already.

So, it was an easy decision. Anyone who is asking me for a bookplate is already a fan. Therefore, this needs to be for them. It's not about selling someone new on the book. If this were for promo material at a conference or something, the fearless romantic line would be the better fit. So it was a lesson in knowing who your audience is for something.

BUT, back to the point, this also showed me the clear distinction. Twitter is where my writer friends hang out. Facebook is where more readers are. (At least from my own anecdotal evidence and what I've heard from other authors.)

So which one should you do? 

Short answer: Both

Longer answer: If you don't have time for both, do which one you enjoy the most because that's the one you'll probably thrive at.

But here are some things to consider and make a good case for cultivating both...

Why Facebook Is Important?

  • It's the most likely place fans will look for you besides your website.
  • Not everyone is a social media addict (like we writers are). Your every day person may not read blogs, have a google plus profile, a Twitter account, or a Goodreads account. But even the most social media averse person probably has a Facebook page. My grandparents have one, my parents have one, my high school teachers have them. I'm hard pressed to think of someone I know who DOESN'T have one.
  • It allows you longer updates because not everything can be said in 140 characters.
  • It gives you the chance to put up exclusive content and sneak peeks to give your readers something extra for following you and reading your books.
  • You only have to post an update one or two times a day. So there is more opportunity for interaction about one topic.
  • It's easy for people to share you with their friends.


Why Twitter Is Important?

  • There is an incredible writer community on there. Writing is a solitary business. Hanging out on Twitter is like the office water cooler. You can go there for gossip, encouragement, or just to vent to each other. 
  • Some readers do prefer Twitter and that will continue to grow.
  • It is a wealth of blog link love. Like I said, it acts as my blog reader these days.
  • It's more casual than FB in my opinion. Since you can update throughout the day, each update doesn't have to be super profound. : )
  • It's easy to share things via Twitter.
  • It doesn't have all the restrictions like FB. And your followers see your updates--you don't have to pay extra to "promote".
  • You don't get a crap ton of emails anytime someone comments on something.
  • It's less of a commitment for someone to follow you on Twitter. Most people won't "Like" a FB page unless they are a fan already. But many people will follow you on Twitter just to check you out and see what you have to say. So it's easier to introduce yourself and your books to new people.

Each obviously has benefits and drawbacks. But I think if you can manage both, you're going to find you have a more well-rounded online presence. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you and connect with you.

So, if you aren't already there and want to hang out with me, you can find me on Twitter AND Facebook. ;)

What do you think? Do you have a preference? To those of you on both platforms, do you find a difference in the "crowd"? As a reader, do you seek out authors on any particular social network?

Round-Up Time: Best Writing Links of the Week #atozchallenge

 It's that time of the week again. Time to round up the best writing links I've come across this week (and last week since I missed doing a round up while I was out of town.)

Here we go...

On Writing/Publishing:

Sara Megibow Sells Romance – What Do You Need To Know About Submissions? | Romance University

Four Secrets About Writer's Conference Faculty - Marcy Kennedy

Pens for Paws Auction <--Check out a good cause

Reading and Writing Negative Reviews | Wistfully Linda

Writing Conferences–Beware of Crossing Deer « Kristen Lamb's Blog

Julie Anne Lindsey | Don’t Quit Your Day Job «Musings from the Slush Pile

Sierra Godfrey: Back away slowly from 1-star reviews

Sierra Godfrey: A year of baby and writing

Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller | The Red Pen of Doom

Romance novelists are secret, epic army of man boosters | The Red Pen of Doom

My favorite quality in a romance novel - Kat Latham


On Blogging/Social Networking/Business:

58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love | Copyblogger

What Mascara, Thai Food & Julia Child Can Teach Us About Social Media Success - Kristen Lamb

The 7 Bad Habits of Insanely Productive People | Copyblogger <--LOVE this


What You May Have Missed Here in the A to Z Challenge:


Got Rhythm? Finding It In Your Story



How To Dish Out Backstory In Digestible Bites 



Ian Somerhalder - Boyfriend of the Week



Kink & BDSM 101 - What It Is & Why It's So Popular In Books



Like Me! - How to Create Sympathetic Characters



Man Up: Writing Male POV



The (Not So) Dreaded Synopsis



Orlando Bloom - Boyfriend of the Week



Picky, Picky - The Danger of Authors Being Too Clique-y on Twitter



Question: Book Series/TV Show You Wish You Could Experience Again for the 1st Time


Whew, all right, that's all two weeks worth. What have been some of your favorite links this week?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! :)


Picky, Picky - The Danger of Authors Being Too Clique-y on Twitter #atozchallenge

Photo by Callee MacAulayAs I mentioned yesterday, I just returned home from the Romantic Times convention. I went to a lot of workshops and got some great information. And one of the workshops I went to was about social media and promoting your brand. The speaker was a publicity expert and she had a ton of terrific things to say.

But one of the things that gave me pause was when she started talking about the infamous Twitter Followers vs. Follower count. She said your "popularity" holds less water if your counts are similar. Meaning, you have 5k followers but you follow 5k people. It's assumed that you're just doing the automatic "follow back" thing. So, she recommended putting people on lists--where they don't show up on your follow count and they don't know you're following them but you can still see their tweets.

Well...I'm not sure I agree with this approach. It kind of sounds like the popular girl only being friends with the nerd in private but not in front of her friends. I am patently against the auto follow back (see my post on Enough with the Quid Pro Quo if you want more on that.) However, I think only following your select group of friends or clique is actually missing a great opportunity. I wrote on this a while back on my writing blog, but I thought I'd run it again since this whole "only follow an elite few" advice is still being given.

Of course, this is just my opinion, but here's what I think...

The Danger of Authors Being Too Clique-y on Twitter

In the Twitterverse, there is this impression that you must be really important/supercool/whatever if you have a high number of people following you, but you personally only follow a handful of people. Basically--everyone wants to be your friend, but you only grant that "privilege" to an elite few. (High school never ends it seems.)

Now most people who do this do it not because they're being a "twitter snob" but because they don't want to be overwhelmed by three thousand peoples' tweets. I TOTALLY get that because I follow over 2k people and that got way too hard to manage, so I had to start using lists (in a different way than mentioned above, more on that later). And if you're, for instance, an editor or an agent--where everyone is seeking your attention--it makes sense to limit who you follow only to people you truly have a connection with in some way.

However, I think for an author this practice can really shoot you in the foot instead of helping you. We are writers. We want to connect with readers. We want to sell books and build a fanbase. Right?

So why-oh-why if you're an author would you only follow your "clique" of friends and not follow your readers, the people who are paying their hard-earned money to buy YOUR book?

I know it's silly, but you know how much better I feel about an author if I @ her/him on Twitter and the person responds? All of a sudden, this author's coolness factor has jumped off the charts. It makes me like them more. It makes me want to support them and their books because they are REAL and FRIENDLY and APPROACHABLE. And if they follow me, then wow, I'm really won over.

On the other hand, if I follow an author and they don't follow me (fine), but then they ask questions of their readers/audience and I respond--and get no response or even a general "Thanks to everyone who commented", then I feel a little huffy. Now if you're Stephanie Meyer or Stephen King or whatever, then it's understandable. Uber-fame gets you a pass. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about your average author who has a few thousand followers. 

When they don't respond or acknowledge, plus don't follow--the impression that is left is--this author thinks they are too important/busy/big-time and don't feel like their readers are important enough to acknowledge even after they've asked directly for their help. So when that same author hops back on Twitter and is announcing their book release or contests and asking for retweets--well, I'm just not that motivated to go out of my way for them.

So the question is, as an author, how do you 

a) Make your readers/followers feel important? and 

b) Do so without being bombarded daily with 80 bazillion tweets from people you don't know?

Answer: Lists

Twitter allows you to make both public and private lists. Then you can use a program like Tweetdeck and have your main column be just the tweets of people on that list. For instance, I follow over 2k, but there are only about 200 on my "super awesome people" list. It's private, so no one can see if they are on my list or not. But this makes it manageable to follow, while I'm still able to follow "in general" the other non-list people in another column and can click if something pops up that catches my interest. And if I end up interacting with someone who is not on the list and making a connection, it's easy enough to add them to my super awesome list.

Doing this allows me to have my cake and eat it too. I can have my clique of people who I talk with regularly while not alienating new people who may become great friends or readers or whatever one day.

Now, having said all this, I do not follow everyone back. If nothing catches my eye in their profile, they seem spammy or only focused on promo, or we seem to have nothing in common (or I just don't have time to go through my new follows, which is the most common reason lately), I'll wait. If they talk to me at some point, then I'll probably go follow.

And please oh please don't go follow a whole bunch of people just to drive your follower count up. It's spammy and useless. That's what gives that follow vs. follower count a bad reputation. But if you find someone who interests you, it's just a click.

So what do you think of this method? How do you feel when an author you like interacts with you or follows you? How do you feel if they don't do those things? And do you think someone is less awesome if their follow vs. follower ratio is closer to even instead of lopsided?