Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Social Media Might Just Work - Lynne Garner

Hoglet self-annointing
This picture received the most feedback
I've always been a little dubious about social media and doubted if it can actually reach the people you need it to reach. Well at the end of last month (Sept 2014) Facebook proved to me that if you put up the right content it can work. Unfortunately the right content I put onto a Facebook page had nothing to do with my writing, but it did prove to me the possible power of social media. So much so that I wanted to share it with you.

Anyone who knows me knows I run a not-for-profit hedgehog rescue from my back garden. At the beginning of September I started to care for a litter of four very small hoglets. I've been charting their progress by taking photographs and posting them onto the hedgehogs Facebook page. I uploaded a small album of images showing the hoglets reaction to new food (they started to self-annoint). I didn't think these images were anything different to similar ones I'd put up before. But there must have been something different because within a few hours the page had 23 new likes and the images had reached a staggering 11.2k people. To put this into context in the first year of creating the page we only had 93 likes across the entire year.

I was so astounded that I took a couple of screen grabs of the stats - I do like the odd graph here and there.
 
Screen grab from the hedgehog Facebook page
Before this spike the average update would receive between 40-50 page views but now even those that don't catch the imagination are receiving higher numbers. And when I've ask people to share an update the numbers have rocketed. Also one of the many people who liked our page is obviously a fantastic marketing person because she's introduced a further 12 people to our page by sharing our updates.  
 
As you can see the number of page likes just keeps going up  
So this has proved to me that Facebook can work if you give the people what they want. Now all I have to do is replicate this with the social media marketing for my writing.

Simples ...  I wish!

12 comments:

Nick Green said...

Just have links to your books on the hedgehog pages. Even if just one person in a hundred clicks, that's still a good result. It's about getting books in front of eyes, after all.

This is encouraging and depressing in equal measure. What price great art, I wonder? Maybe if Leonardo had lived today, he wouldn't have painted The Last Supper, but Teh Last Cheezburger ov mi Kittehs. That would certainly have gotz more 'Likes' and LOLz.

JO said...

Like Nick, I find this slightly depressing. Give people what that want - cute pictures of hedgehogs - and you get visitors. But anything different or that need thinking about, and doesn't come with cute pictures - that's much more difficult to 'sell'.

Jan Needle said...

Ere, I 'ad that 'edge'og in the back of my cab once. Great bloke. Bit spiky, but wha'eva. 'E give me a bit of advice, gratis (and for nuffin). If you want to be the next Shakespeare be a bleedin animule like 'im. Makes sense.

More seriously, doesn't this indicate that social media DOESN'T work?

Lydia Bennet said...

Facebook is heaving with cute critters (baby sloths, sea otters holding paws, all aw moments) but it's very different clicking on a photo or clicking like, to actually spending money on a book. As Nick says, do use your hedgehog page to advertise your books, it would be an interesting follow up to see if your sales go up. I showed in a previous post that Twitter generally doesn't sell books - Facebook will sell some, but it's the same problem with all social media now, there are just so many voices on them, all shouting into the aether. If you got on the bandwagon early, you got more attention (and sales) and can maintain that via the algorithms of amazon and Facebook etc, but coming later to the party isn't so effective in terms of sales.

Lydia Bennet said...

ps, I just 'liked' your page, but there's nothing on it to suggest you are a writer, a couple of links under the profile pic and 'about' would make a difference.

Lee said...

Problem is, people often don't know what they want. Instead, give them what you want -- you might end up lucky.

Reb MacRath said...

Try writing a book about hedgehogs?

I'm not sure there's any one Answer. But I wouldn't be too quick to write off FB or Twitter. Claude Bouchard and Luke Romyn make effective use of the latter--daily and extensively--balancing touts for their work with amusing banter and touts for other writers. Of course, both of them are closing in on a million Twitter followers, so even a 1% response will get the snowball rolling. Still, pure shout-outs don't do much...while balanced You-oriented posts/Tweets may get results.

julia jones said...

Wot Reb said - Hedgehog lit must surely ROCK!

Jan Needle said...

plenty of spines to print the book's name on, for sure...

Lynne Garner said...

Hi - thanks for all the comments. I do try to not mix business with my hobby but I'll give it a go. I did write a book about a hedgehog (a picture book) it sold well and has only just gone out of print. The issue was (according to the editor in the US) that because the US (which is my biggest market) don't have native hedgehogs books about this subject don't sell. I did point out they don't have tiger, elephant, hippo, kangaroo etc. but these characters in picture books still sell.

Lee said...

Reb, have you read anything Luke Romyn writes? Out of curiosity, I had a look at an Amazon sample. One paragraph was enough. But to be fair, lots of people consume McDonalds stuff too. Obviously, there's a place for it, a market. But I'm too old to be impressed by numbers.

Nick's Last Cheezburger, eh? He's right -- utterly depressing.

madwippitt said...

You might like to remind the US folk that Mrs Tiggywinkle was a hedgehog and sold pretty well :-)

And I was one of the people who loved this pic. Love the idea of self anointing in food too, but suspect that I'd be a darn sight less attractive pictured covered in chocolate gateau ...