What if your readers don't read traditional blogs? This is a question both Jessica and I have wrestled with as young adult/new adult authors. Most 30 and under readers don't follow traditional blogs, and a growing number of teens use Facebook less now that their parents and grandparents have accounts. So how does an author reach YA or NA readers online?
First, start with Twitter. Teens and new adults are used to text-length conversations and aren't hampered by that 140-character limit. Twitter is edging out Facebook because teens can interact with celebrities (including authors), live-tweet with other fans, get up-to-the-minute news, post their Vine, Instagram, or Tumblr content, and share their thoughts.
Second, don't write off Facebook. Despite the leveling off of Facebook users in the 18-29 demographic, the social network remains number two. For these users, Facebook remains a place to keep up with their friends and can serve as a hub for all their social media (They often link all their accounts—Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, etc.—here.)
Third, once you've mastered the above, consider one of the visually driven networks. Young/new adults gravitate toward visual images, easily-digestible information, and content that can be shared with a click of a button. And they like to spread their attention around. For example, the thirteen-thirty year olds I know use four-seven social networks each. So, pick a visually driven network you feel drawn to, work on doing it well, then consider whether you're crazy (read: ambitious) enough to add more.
Excluding messenger apps like Snapchat and Kik, the following are networks teens and new adults use daily:
- Instagram: For users who want to post pictures (with or without custom filters) and 15-second videos with hashtags. Teens follow friends, celebrities, and certain hashtags (like #Coverlove, #Bookstagram, or #CurrentlyReading).
- Pinterest: Create virtual bulletin boards your readers can use to connect visually with your story or series. Pin or repin pictures on character or story-world boards. (Consider copyright before choosing to repin).
- Tumblr: Many YA authors, including John Green and Kiera Cass, have Tumblr pages. These authors use their pages to blog short thoughts and reblog fan-created memes, GIFs, fan-art, fan-fiction, etc. Followers are harder to come by here than on Instagram or Pinterest, but teens that use Tumblr spend hours reblogging posts that interest them. Tumblr posts can be shared on Twitter and Facebook as well.
- YouTube: Set up a YouTube account to upload book reviews, book trailers (60 seconds or less), character interviews, or how-to videos specific to your brand.
You don't have to master every single network. Try one, and see if it fits. For example, Jess and I co-host a Tumblr site entitled FictionCrush, and I have just started dipping my toe into the world of Instagram. We've both had some success. If these networks can connect us with our readers, I'm sure we'll continue. If not, both of us are free to drop back and try something else.
What about you? What social networks do you use? Which one seems to connect you best with your readers?
Which social networks should YA/NA authors focus on? @CharityTinnin offers suggestions. #IndieTuesday via @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
.@CharityTinnin offers suggestions for finding YA and NA readers online through social networking apps. #IndieTuesday (Click to Tweet)
Charity Tinnin’s fascination with dystopian lit began in high school, so it's no surprise that her debut novel, Haunted, would be a YA dystopian. Now, she mentors high school students at her church, works as a freelance editor, and lives in the foothills of North Carolina. When she’s not editing for a client or working on the State v. Seforé series, she spends her time reading YA and discussing the merits of fictional heroes online. Speaking of the Internet, Charity loves to talk about YA lit, TV, and State v. Seforé. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or her website to continue the conversation.