Cha-cha-changes…

A lot of changes in social media this week….
Sit down, buckle up and hold on for the ride….

Instagram has now updated its application to include videos.
Everyone can see them, but if you have an older Android phone, you will have to wait to be able to join in the fun. This could be interesting to the future of Vine. You get to choose a filter and make your video a bit more interesting then just a regular video. The maximum time is 10 seconds for one of these gems.
Check out Frank's Instagram video here... http://instagram.com/p/azfDD4OxC9/

Check out Frank’s Instagram video here…
http://instagram.com/p/azfDD4OxC9/

It can be hard to follow the updates with so many changes in social media happening so often, so where is the best place to find info on these updates?

For updates on Instagram, I read their blog. http://blog.instagram.com/ . It’s super informative and they have great information. Also make sure you are following Instagram on your account. http://instagram.com/instagram . And one more place you can check is http://instagram.com/press/. This is all their press releases and information. Instagram (in my humble opinion) is the best creative social media outlet, and so fresh for marketing ideas.

Summertime Social Media.

Summertime Social Media.


New to Facebook this week is #hashtags. Facebook has borrowed, or maybe stolen, Twitter’s business model with hashtags and video clips. Still confused about them? You can go back and read my blog on hash tags here… Hashtags are a VALUABLE tool for advertising and marking things that people can easily find. You can now search things on Facebook with hashtags. This will help you market and find like minded people. Its a great tool. Your Instagram videos can also be shared on Facebook as well.
Hope you are all having a great summer… and now as you document it on Facebook, you can hashtag it all and upload videos of your activities on Instagram…. (he he he!).
__________________________
Follow Ingrid on Instagram and Twitter!
Ingrid on Instagram. www.instagram.com/gridlocked

Ingrid Schneider is WordServe’s resident Marketing Maven. With a specialty in social media, Ingrid loves helping authors find and manage an online tribe of readers. After spending the last 15 years managing and marketing restaurants, people, and businesses, Ingrid knew that helping people market themselves via social media and online platforms was a passion and something at which she excelled. Now doing social media marketing for some great-named authors, Ingrid also loves to imagine that she is a secret agent, because she can’t disclose

with whom she is working. (Believe us when we tell you that Ingrid handles some big names, but for anonymity’s sake, we can’t disclose this TOP SECRET information.) Imagination and creativity is something Ingrid is serious about and loves to incorporate into her work with her clients.

Hashtags can help….

So…. What’s a #Hashtag?

How can a simple #hashtag help me to promote my book?  Well in many, many ways.

#Confused?

First lets define what exactly you are looking at…. #pleasehelpme.

You probably first saw them on Twitter, that is where a #hashtag originated.

It’s a simple marker of sorts.  #Hashtags over the last year have migrated from Twitter to Instagram, and Pintrest. #clever.

A #hashtag is a marker of sorts that drives you to people’s posts, and drives people to your posts. You can click on any #hashtag and it brings up all other posts with that same tag in… simply put, if you want to promote your book to strangers, a #hashtag will be one of the best tools you can use for social media platforms that utilize #hashtags.

What topics are important to you? Make a list of words that are important to you selling your book.  What words describe your book? How can you find like-minded readers, by strategically #hashtagging words that are specific to you! #buildingabrand #books. If you know what SEO is, Search Engine Optimization, #Hashtags work.

Some simple rules for #hastagging. Never put spaces between words or the #symbol. Use words that are relevant to your tweet/pin/pictures.  A great way to find more followers is to use hash tags on both sides. You do it and other people do it in searches as well….  Find people that are #hashtagging things that you care about and get involved in their conversation. #smartthinking.

Here is a simple straightforward article in the Twitter Help Center, which could help you.

Remember, that #hashtags are fun.  Don’t over use them, but do use them to find like-minded readers.  It could open many doors for you… people will find you and you will find people.  #hashtags  #winning.

Surviving the Summer and Social Media

Let’s talk about how hard it is to get things done right now. Ugh!! Personally, I have been battling getting things done because I am so busy with summer activities, or the heat makes me lethargic (and it’s been a HOT one). For those of you writers who are also parents, your life is especially tricky because the kids are out of school. I just got back from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and I am late with this post. Summer can dish out some unexpected adventures. Remember to be prepared. Learn from me, and I am sorry to those who are a victim of my summer.

Summer in Pine Ridge
photo by Amanda Jensen Photography

I decided to make a list of my best tricks for making summer social media survivable.

First.

Schedule whatever you can ahead of time. Block off time to work for a few hours on social media, and do yourself a favor if you are living in Denver: find the nearest icebox with Wi-Fi and work there. Seriously, take time out and work in a isolated place where you can knock a BUNCH of work out.

Schedule your Facebook posts. Did you notice that with the latest update you can schedule and date your posts? It’s kind of the coolest thing ever!

Second.

GUEST BLOG!! Ask people to blog for you, and you should extend the same courtesy to others. This is the best way to skip a little and give a little. The best thing about guest blogging is that you are able to cross-market with some of your author friends/co-conspirators.

Third.

Take advantage of being outside.  You can take some epic pictures with Instagram and use them in your future blog posts.  Be creative and take trips that could be relative to your blogs.  Strategize.  (If you missed my blog about how to use Instagram, find it here.)

Summer in Telluride

Fourth.

Remember that people are not on Social Media quite as much in the summer.  The times that trend are a little bit different depending on your target audience.  More people are on later at night.  Try some test posts to see what time you are getting the best feed back.

Fifth.

Make sure you have all your accounts linked.  Tools like this plug-in make things easier. Link your Twitter to Facebook and your blog to both.

I hope you all survive the heat and have many summer adventures the next month.

What is your best trick to survive the summer? What makes social media easier when you are busy?

Take Beautiful Pictures with Instagram

I get random questions from people all the time, “Ingrid, how do I block my Aunt Beatrice who won’t stop tagging me in pictures that are not even of me?” These are the things I know. These are simple things to me, but to some of you figuring this out is like wrestling with air: impossible. So I always love your input on what to learn and how you can better use your social media skills to influence your tribe and build your readership.

What is happening in my social media world? My new obsession: Instagram!

Yes, I am a little bit late to this game, I know. (It is very rare that I am tardy, but on this one my friends, I AM!) My friends have all had it for a few years, and I have watched them. I have played with it many times, but it was for the “elite” iphone users. I have had T-mobile for years, and yes, they lock you into a contract, and then you are stuck. But Instagram for Android was released a few months ago, and I hopped on the bandwagon with no convincing.

Instagram is doing well. In case you didn’t know, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars. You don’t even know what Instagram is? Well, check this out. Here is a picture of mine; right now I am at the Telluride Blue Grass festival.

What is Instagram? Instagram is a free and fun way to share your life with family and friends with edited fun photos. Each picture is taken through your iphone or android phone. You then choose to edit your photo through with very different filters. Instagram’s intuitive set up lets you link your photo to your social media world, either via Twitter or Facebook.

As an author, Instagram can be a valuable tool in using pictures to tell stories about your life and the life of your books.

1. Maybe if it is a novel, you can post pictures of things related to your characters; be creative. I would love to hear your ideas about how you can use this tool to create more buzz and excitement for your books.

2. Connect with your audience, your readers, and your friends. Publish your fun photos. Be creative and show a little bit of your world without intruding into your private world. Use this as a valuable tool to connect. It is a necessity to connect with your readers visually. Help paint them pictures of things you want them to understand about your books.

3. Hash tag your photos like you do on Twitter, and if you can, pick the same Twitter name for your Instagram name. I would love to hear your feedback and see your Instagram photos.

Follow me at @gridlocked on Instagram and Twitter. ☺ Let’s take beautiful and inspiring pictures.

P.S. My favorite new joke: How much does a hipster weigh? An Instagram. If you don’t get it, don’t worry. :)

Goodreads

Here is some Social Media just for authors and just for readers. You are probably thinking, “Am I dreaming?”

No! It does exist, and it is an amazing place to devote time and energy. This little heaven for authors is called Goodreads. Goodreads has approximately 4.6 million users. While it may not seem to be as grand as Facebook’s 800 million users, these 4.6 million users are just on Goodreads as readers!

Goodreads is a place people go to only to think about reading. What an awesome concept. There are no random pictures of kids, like on Facebook, pictures of things you can’t afford like on Pinterest. Instead, there are readers, some virtual books shelves, and people talking about BOOKS!  Think about this as Facebook just for authors and their audience.

What are some of the things that you can do on Goodreads?  You can create an author page that “fans” can share with others.  Within Goodreads, you can also start pages specifically for your book. ( I do not encourage people to start book pages on Facebook, just fan pages.  But on Goodreads, you can have both, and they link back to your author page.)  It’s designed just for you, the author. You can easily chat with your readers, add video clips, and link it to your Facebook and/or Twitter pages.

I recommend to authors that they spend money on Facebook, programming a page with their books, so it directs them to buy the author’s books. If you are an author with many books, start a store on your fan page. Goodreads does this for you! (Score!) If your book is on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, it is automatically connected to Goodreads.

Goodreads is super user friendly and very intuitive.  When you sign in, there are tips and tricks that are posted on their pages everyday.  It will give you more ideas and walk you through the site.  This makes it very easy to learn and be more adept in controlling the site. Have fun with this site, and don’t just put your books on it, but really get involved. Dialogue with friends, readers, and other authors.

These were my three tips from Goodreads when I signed in today.

My personal favorite thing on Goodreads is their quote section.  You can add quotes from your book or quotes from your favorite author. I love to search the quotes by words and topics. There are no ads with these quotes, and it is such a great resource for writing. Quotes are also a good way to promote yourself!

Goodreads is definitely a top social networking site for authors.

Go here to start your adventure as a Goodreads author. Also, here is some great information about how to effectively utilize all that Goodreads has to offer: Using Goodreads to Promote Your Books

Have you been using Goodreads to promote your writing? How so?

Spring Fever and Social Media

It’s almost summer time, and focusing on social media is becoming especially difficult. I think it is Spring Fever. I have a little fever; actually, I am burning up, and it’s hard to focus on anything right now. So I admire you writers who are actually sitting down and getting ‘er done! In lieu of my spring-induced ADD, I want to talk about three elements that I am loving about the world of social media.

1. I recently had a Word Serve author ask me about Good Reads. Yes, another platform for you to market, represent yourself, and interact with people socially. ANOTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE, REALLY? Yes. And I get it. As overwhelmed as you can be, it is more work and another learning curve, but I actually like Good Reads for those of us who are really “reading.” I find it to be an authentic community of readers.

Here are a few of my favorite things about Good Reads:

First, I love the quote system. I search quotes here ALL the time and add my favorites. It’s extensive, thematic, and easy to navigate.

Second, Good Reads gives authors a chance to be very interactive with their readers. Groups, book clubs, discussions, and great author profiles are available where authors can integrate their blogs, twitter, videos, and advertise upcoming events for free.

2. I am in love with the Facebook extension. (It’s a little geeky, but true.)  Socialbell is a browser add on for Facebook. Socialbell makes browsing the internet from Facebook so much easier. You can only use it if you have the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. I hear that Safari is coming soon.

Here is a picture of what it looks like on my computer screen. I am really enjoying this little plug in seeing that I spend a lot of my time on Facebook, and it enables me to post straight from the plug in to my Facebook pages as well. Go to their website and check out the video.

3. Facebook bought Instagram this past week, and they bought it for a cool billion dollars. Instagram is a very fun photo-sharing platform. People do use it to post their pictures. You can’t share anyone else’s photo’s like Pintrest yet, but you can have a ton of fun on it. You can share your Instagram photos on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Tumblr. Iphone users have had it for years, and this month they have opened it up for Android users to join in the fun. I am constantly looking for creative ways for people to promote their books.  Instagram offers filters to make your pictures look professional, retro, and just over all fun. If you haven’t started using it, this springtime is perfect to start and have fun sharing photos with your friends.

What are some creative ways that you have used new social media for marketing your book?

Social Media and Your Book Release

Often, authors ask me what they can do to put their book in the social media limelight. While it is not difficult to accomplish, as we have discussed before, there are a few important steps that you can take to ensure that your book receives the attention it deserves. Here are a few ideas that scratch the surface…

1. Start Immediately I had a client named Dan (all names have been changed to protect the innocent).  Dan had a wonderful book coming out in about six months.  He was so excited, I am sure he felt like he was going to give birth to a baby, or as close as guys get to this feeling (besides kidney stones).  Dan wanted to wait until his book came out to get all social media going.  Although waiting can still be effective, I don’t advise this or think it is best. Make sure you are lined up with all of your social media accounts now. Do you have Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, and maybe even Google Plus?  Make them look pretty. Get your friends and family on board and let them know what you are doing, so they can be your biggest cheerleaders.  Don’t wait. Start today.
2. Start Blogging and Guest Blogging  Here are my three simple rules for having a successful blog:

* Be consistent. Same time, same day.

* Don’t be too wordy or too simple.  500 -700 words is a good mark. Don’t over blog. Sadly, I just unsubscribed to one of my favorite blogs because I would receive two or three updates from that person a day. Save the poetry you like for your Facebook page.

* Be consistent. Oh, I said that? But it is valuable. I want my blogs in my inbox the same time every week.

Guest blogs need to be done strategically.  Pair up with friends who blog as well. Showcase yourself.  It can be a win – win for both of you. Promote it well,  and you both will end the day with a bigger audience.

3. Create A Data Base. Compile an email list and blast it out to all your friends and family.  I use Mail Chimp: it’s easy, it’s free and it does a great job managing a database.  There are some other ones that people have told me about,  author Lucille Zimmerman said that AWeber is great.  Celebrate great reviews, talk about new projects, and keep people on the inside of your circle, making them feel valuable.
4. Give Away Books. When your book is going to come out, encourage your friends and family to buy a copy.  Sure if you are REALLY close to them, you can give them a copy for free, but still get them to buy one and give it to a friend.  (Ever heard of Guerilla Marketing?) If your publisher gives you books to give to your friends and family, tell them they can only have one if they agree to write a review on Amazon after reading it. If your book is about the church, give it to church leaders ask them to help promote your masterpiece.

Get your books in the hands of “tastemakers.”  What is a tastemaker, you ask? Acoording to Urban Dictionary, “Tastemaker: An individual who’s determination of what’s stylish influences a significant quantity or quality of people resulting in a supportive trend.”  A tastemaker is someone who is savvy and all-knowing. It could be your best friend or your coffee shop barista. You want your tastemaker friends to talk about your book; people listen to tastemakers.
What is your best tip to be socially media savvy? 

Ingrid Schneider is WordServe’s resident Marketing Maven. With a specialty in social media, Ingrid loves helping authors find and manage an online tribe of readers. After spending the last 15 years managing and marketing restaurants, people, and businesses, Ingrid knew that helping people market themselves via social media and online platforms was a passion and something at which she excelled. Now doing social media marketing for some great-named authors, Ingrid also loves to imagine that she is a secret agent, because she can’t disclose with whom she is working. (Believe us when we tell you that Ingrid handles some big names, but for anonymity’s sake, we can’t disclose this TOP SECRET information.)  Imagination and creativity is something Ingrid is serious about and loves to incorporate into her work with her clients.