Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Talking about my friend and encouraging her to use social media

November 19th, 2008

I love to chat with Angelia Sparrow (wiki). She’s a professional author who writes male/male romance novels and short stories. Her genre isn’t something I would read but our conversations teach me a lot about the publishing industry and the writing process.

Because I’m a friend (and occasionally a pushy and selfish one at that), I want to help her do well. The best way that I know how I can help her to succeed is to suggest ways to harness social media. She doesn’t always follow my advice because she’s got a family, another job, is trying to write and doesn’t necessarily have the time nor skills to play the social media game effectively in order to do it successfully. She’s also writing for a niche audience that isn’t ever likely to make it possible for her to become the next megahit author. (If she does, I’d be the first to congratulate her.)

But even with out that, there are a few small things you can do which don’t require much time and effort that can help increase your visibility and she’s done some of them. First, she has a website. It is angelsparrow.com. The site has contests involving her work. These help increase her audience of people who might want free stuff and rewards her fans. She also has a blog which she updates pretty regularly. It includes announcements, reviews, etc. It also has rss feeds. (Hard to believe but some blogs don’t have rss feeds even now.) This means that her new posts show up on rss search engines, on Google’s blog search and Google will regularly check her blog for updates.

She’s also engaged in social media elsewhere, including on LiveJournal, a blogging community which has a large and active fan fiction community. She’s been there forever. This presence means that she can leverage her fan fiction audience for her non-fan fiction writing. The audience she built through years and years of involvement can be used to help her sell books and her short stories. LiveJournal (wiki) loves to celebrate its fan writers gone professional. Or even its professional authors who just happen to use the service. Plugging your work, asking for help or advice for your work, all of these fit into the culture of LiveJournal’s communities. No one is going to question her doing that. In fact, they are more likely to celebrate it.

I’m totally in love with twitter so I’ve spent a lot of time badgering my friends to use the service, even as I tell them it isn’t for everyone. Thus, last night I was happy to find out that Angelia Sparrow is on twitter. If you’re a professional author (or even a fan fiction author), twitter can be a great way to connect with your audience, to maintain relationships, to reward fans, to let them know what is going on. Her twitter follow list is small and she could probably do with having a few more replies at people she follows so she utilizes twitter for its strengths more… but that she’s on there? Great. It is another way to connect with her fans. Still, if you’re not looking to spend much time on twitter, what she’s doing is probably the right way to go about it until she has a better reason and more time to engage.

Another thing she’s doing right (but could probably do better at) is she has a FaceBook page, is planning to create (or has created) a fan page for her work and created an event on FaceBook for her book release. These don’t require much time and effort to maintain if you’re talking about only a small potential pool of interested people. FaceBook has a lot of people on it and you can connect with your personal network of alumni, professional acquaintances, former classmates, friends and fans. Those people are just there. The site might not be intended as a way to create or utilize your fan base but FaceBook gives you the tools to do just that. So use them to do that and connect. And Angelia Sparrow does.

The one thing that I like when I give advice to Angelia Sparrow is that for her, she’s selling a product: A book or a short story in an anthology. This means that she doesn’t necessarily have to obsess over where her traffic is, how many visitors she gets a day, taking traffic from FaceBook or Twitter and trying to convert those visitors into visitors to her site. And then having to make that sell in terms of clicking on ads or buying services on her site. Analytics aren’t the be all and end all. The end game is using the right social media strategy to help her writing and sell her books. (Which can be bought from a couple of places like her publisher or Amazon.)

She does what she needs to do. She engages in a way that allows her to make good use of her limited time in her busy life. She connects to her core audience. So while she isn’t a major player in social media, isn’t cutting edge with how to utilize social media to generate sales, she’s still taking the right steps, steps that anyone who is in a similar position should be taking. I don’t think she probably is aware that she’s doing that because I think she’s just doing what feels right for her. Awesome.

Twitter privacy

October 24th, 2008

Fandom can have some real issues with privacy.  And parts of fandom are really making a move towards twitter as a way of connecting with other fans, getting news, etc.  If you’ve locked your entries so that only friends can see your twitter updates, ValleyWag is running a story you need to know about: Your locked posts are visible to all who view the xml feed for that. It just reiterates the one truism on-line that you should always remember: Never put anything on-line that you don’t want the world to know because your information can become public.

Fan History: August 2008: Traffic sources in the world of social networking

September 1st, 2008

It’s September 1. It feels like a good time to talk about traffic again and issues in getting traffic. Once again, I’m looking at Fan History’s traffic. This time, it is for August 2008.

I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I love twitter. I love the community. I love reading about the business end of running a startup, running a blog, running a website. Lots of time is spent talking about the whole traffic issue, linking to people’s blog posts about getting traffic. They tend to emphasis breaking traffic down into several areas and then talk up promoting your project in various areas. I’ve broken these categories down into the three following areas: Microblogging, social networking and social bookmarking. You’re supposed to interact on these spaces to help build up an audience who will be interested in what you have to say. I’ll explain how Fan History does that below each chart.

Have I mentioned I love Twitter? I do love Twitter. (And you can find me on Twitter at purplepopple.) I’ve set up various accounts on Twitter to aggregate Fan History’s recent changes page for the English version, and the Spanish version. I get some traffic from Twitter because I mention Fan History once a day. It would probably be more if I had more followers or if our recentchanges twitter account was promoted more. Unlike a number of other services, I am an active participant on twitter because I love the community and I learn a lot from it.

pownce is a newer service. I post to pownce from ping.fm but I’m not checking it or following it much. Not much of a surprise then that I’ve gotten one hit from them. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a service I want to invest my time in with the goal of generating traffic.

friendfeed is about community to a degree. I have my friendfeed set up with pretty much every service I use. I have probably five friends on it. If you follow me, I follow you. I check it once a day. If you’re following my friendfeed, you inevitably get slammed with links on some days when I’m busy promoting Fan History. I’m just not involved with it the community that much. I get more hits from there than I do from Pownce though.

I used to be a big fan of identi.ca. There appeared to be a great wiki community that looked like they were going to use it because the creator was a big name in the wiki community. People’s usage of identi.ca seems to have trailed off, with folks going back to twitter or trying out different services. I post there because of ping.fm and check it once a day. My followers list is pretty small. I’m not surprised at the lack of traffic from the service.

Social bookmarking is something I don’t really do. I’m kind of locked into the whole traditional bookmarking thing. I love mine. And I love sage, a Firefox plugin.

Still, it seems to be everyone’s goal to hit it big on digg as a way of generating a traffic spike, pushing down less then desirable mentions on search engines and making people more familiar with your site. So I and others affiliated with Fan History use digg to promote Fan History. We don’t really advertise digg submissions, don’t ask that people digg our submissions. Rather, we tend to go for bulk quantity submissions as we have over 475,000 articles on Fan History. When we’re actively doing bulk submissions on Digg for fandom oriented articles, we can get some digg traffic but those 10 to 20 hits take a lot of work. It sometimes doesn’t feel worth it.

FanPop is almost a social networking site for fandom. I used to promote Fan History on it a lot. I didn’t do that much in August because in July, digg traffic made it not seem worth the effort of doing that. Unlike digg, we couldn’t submit everything and the kitchen sink. We had to submit in very specific categories after finding the right spot. Still, it was a pleasant surpise of sorts to find that FanPop seemed to consistently give us three to eight hits a day. It is something worth looking at and going back to and adding more links to our content there.

delicious is a popular personal social bookmarking tool. It is a really popular social bookmarking tool inside fandom, where Fan History operates. There are probably over a thousand links to Fan History content on the site. It just doesn’t generate much traffic for us. A lot of times, it feels there really isn’t much of a community behind the site and bookmarks are trapped behind locked doors of people’s own links. We seem to get the occasional hit if we add a hundred or so links but on the whole, it really isn’t worth our time to use as a way to generate traffic.

stumbleupon. One day in August, we got 68 visits as a result of stumbleupon. A friend e-mailed me to tell me we made it after he stumbled across Fan History on stumble. We submit there but the stumble bump had very little connection to our attempts to use stumble to promote our content.

LiveJournal is one of the major homes to fandom on-line where people frequently refer to other content located elsewhere. As such, Fan History spends a lot of time using LiveJournal to promote our content. We’ve also found that using LiveJournal helps with our SEO and, unlike digg, we can get traffic from LiveJournal months after the initial plug. It’s fabulous. When I get together with other people, I tend to plug LiveJournal as an awesome source for traffic because of that. Our traffic looks pretty consistently high as a result of LiveJournal referrers. That happened with us plugging Fan History on LiveJournal a total of maybe only eight days out of the thirty-one. LiveJournal is also a place where, unlike many of the services mentioned in this post, I’m actively involved. I use LiveJournal. I post regularly on LiveJournal for my own private use. I engage others on the service. It’s like twitter for me. … Only as opposed to discussing the business end of what I do, I discuss the fan end.

InsaneJournal and JournalFen are LiveJournal clones. JournalFen has an established community of fan fiction and fandom people over 18. I’m not really involved there these days. It just isn’t my community. When we get traffic from JournalFen, it tends to be connected to Fandom Wank. As Fandom Wank can be a major reputation hurter, we’re not generally aiming to be mentioned there.

We use InsaneJournal like we use LiveJournal. It just isn’t used that much because it doesn’t have the depth of communities that LiveJournal has, doesn’t have the audience that LiveJournal has and doesn’t generate comparable traffic. Those things limit the usefulness of InsaneJournal.

MySpace generates a few hits for us here and there. Fan History mostly gets plugged on MySpace groups and in my profile. We’re not expecting it to be a major traffic source. It would be nice to get a bigger audience there but just not sure how to do it. And I’m not that interested in slogging through the service to become involved.

FaceBook is similar to MySpace. I promote it on my profile. It gets fed my comments from ping.fm that also go to twitter. The lack of a good search tool probably hurts our potential to get more traffic as a result. I use FaceBook to keep track of my friends, for occasional wiki things, for event finding. I’m not involved in the fan community located there.

We occasionally promote Fan History on bebo and orkut. Neither has been a particularly useful traffic driver and the fan community tends to fall outside my comfort level. So while that community is large, I don’t know it well enough to try to capitalize off of it.

LinkedIn gives us a few hits. Most of these are off my profile page. LinkedIn is another one of those sites I don’t always understand so trying to leverage it for more traffic can be a bit confusing. I’m not really involved in the community there either.

blogspot links are not ones that we create. We tend to get them after we plug Fan History on LiveJournal or after we e-mail a blogger and ask for a plug. blogspot doesn’t offer an easy way to contact people. That makes it hard to ask for plugs for Fan History. If it was, we’d probably spend a lot more time making such requests.

Conclusion
The services where I’m most active as a community participant are the ones where we get the most traffic. It is probably why LiveJournal will continue to be our primary tool to promote Fan History.

Got Readers? A Guide to Gaining Popularity for Your Fan Fiction

July 10th, 2008

“Got Readers? A Guide to Gaining Popularity for Your Fan Fiction” was a post I wrote for FanLib a long time ago. It finally got posted. It is my quick and dirty guide to getting readers for your fic. Since I originally wrote it, I had a few more ideas for how to get readers that could be worked in. They include using twitter, orkut, Yahoo!Answers, bebo and ning. Yahoo!Answers is one that I’ve seen a bit more of recently. (But that could just be because I’m looking.) People post to Yahoo!Answers asking people for help with their story. Having had urls in a few answers over there, I don’t know how much it would help with traffic to the issue being discussed as compared to other options, but it does help increase visibility in the wider community.

A caveat of sorts: Not everyone wants to get readers and if that is the case, promoting your fan fiction isn’t necessary.  (I do very little promotion of my own work for instance.)  If you want readers and you wonder why you’re not getting them, then you should probably do this.  One lesson that fandom constantly reinforces is that it isn’t the best work around that gets the praise and those aren’t necessarily the authors getting book deals.  You have to market yourself if you want to get that book deal and get those readers.

Canonical URL by SEO No Duplicate WordPress Plugin