Indie Author Marketing: Analyzing Facebook and Twitter

I’m a big fan of data. I love reading about all the ways people are gathering analytics on books, how data helps drive decisions, and being able to know how effective people are at reaching out to others.

And that’s why for the past month or two, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Facebook and Twitter. I’ve known these platforms for a while—Facebook was only one year old when I joined in college (back when only people with college email addresses were allowed to use it) and according to my Twitter profile I joined in April 2009.

And though I’ve been using both platforms for my author platform, it wasn’t until this year that I decided to take my platform building more seriously. So, I’ve installed Google page analytics on all my blogs and websites, though it’s still too early for me to figure out how that best works for me, and I’ve been paying close attention to engagement metrics on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I have two official Facebook pages and two Twitter accounts. Here’s how it breaks down:

Facebook Twitter
Sabrina Ricci Sabrina Ricci
I Know Dino I Know Dino

In the interest of experimenting, I’ve been treating my two platforms (author platform and I Know Dino platform) differently.

Author Platform

  • Linked my blog so that every time I publish a post (twice per week) it also gets posted to Twitter and Facebook, with images
  • Include Twitter hashtags and handles when appropriate
  • Respond to any tweets directed to me almost immediately (when possible—I do have a full time day job)
  • Respond to any posts or messages on Facebook almost immediately (unless they’re spam)
  • Occasionally retweet funny or relevant tweets and share Facebook posts

I Know Dino Platform

  • Linked the blog so that every time we (my husband and I both work on I Know Dino) publish a post (also twice a week, occasionally more) it also gets posted to Twitter and Facebook, some with images
  • Include Twitter hashtags and handles when appropriate
  • Respond to any tweets directed to us almost immediately (when possible)
  • Respond to any posts or messages on Facebook almost immediately (unless they’re spam)
  • Occasionally retweet and/or share funny or relevant tweets and Facebook posts
  • Schedule posts and tweets on Buffer to post four times per day, Monday through Friday

I took a page from George Takei, and decided to scour the interwebs for videos, images, and articles to share, but about dinosaurs. There’s a surprising amount of dinosaur news to share, and our listeners and followers often email/post/tweet us other cool, relevant, shareable articles.

So far, the results have been great for my I Know Dino accounts. For comparison, here is what my author accounts and I Know Dino accounts looked like on Feb. 19:

Author Facebook

sabrina_facebook sabrina_facebook2 sabrina_facebook3

I Know Dino Facebook

Dino_facebook Dino_facebook2 Dino_facebook3

Author Twitter

sabrina_twitter sabrina_twitter2 sabrina_twitter3_nocountries

I Know Dino Twitter

Dino_twitter Dino_twitter2 Dino_twitter3_mostlyUS

Observations and Takeaways

As you can see, the engagement metrics on I Know Dino are much higher than the metrics for my author site. And I know that is because I am posting more frequently on I Know Dino. One particularly interesting comparison is the “Your Tweet activity” for both accounts. On my author account, it tells me the impressions from the past 28 days but on I Know Dino, there are so many more impressions that it tells me the impressions from the past 7 days.

On both Facebook and Twitter, I get an idea of where most of my fans and followers are (unsurprisingly, the U.S.). What was surprising was Twitter telling me on I Know Dino the countries and regions of my followers, but this information didn’t appear on my author account. This surprised me since my author account currently has 5.77 times more followers than I Know Dino.

Other observations:

  • Twitter and Facebook now share a fair amount of demographic information about your audience, as well as their interests
  • People seem to like the posts/tweets with puns in them
  • People also like the posts/tweets with questions, and we get a fair number of responses
  • For our dinosaur audience, news of dinosaur discoveries are very popular
  • Even though I Know Dino doesn’t have too big of a following, I’m pretty happy with the number of people engaged and the reach it has
  • The author platform gets a lot of engagement when I post book reviews, probably because the author helps promote it

Some takeaways:

  • Figuring out the audience and sticking to the brand is important
  • Responding is also important
  • Cross promotion is the best and easiest way to expand reach
  • It is possible to grow!

As one last comparison, here’s a breakdown of the number of Facebook likes and Twitter followers for both platforms. Keep in mind that I’ve been using my author accounts for 3 years longer than I Know Dino.

Facebook likes Twitter followers
(Jan. 31) Sabrina Ricci 229 763
(Feb. 19) Sabrina Ricci 233 768
(Jan. 31) I Know Dino 140 123
(Feb. 19) I Know Dino 147 133

My next step will be to start treating Facebook and Twitter more differently and measuring my results. The audiences on Facebook and Twitter are different, and people interact at different times and different ways on both. So it would make sense to focus on what works best for each.

What do you do to build your author platform? How do you track what works and what doesn’t? Please share in the comments!


2 Replies to “Indie Author Marketing: Analyzing Facebook and Twitter”

  1. Hey, I’m the first to Like this! Thanks for the breakdown. It is always inspiring and useful when an author (or whomever) shares personal data and results, and the following insights. I’ve started the year off doing the same, but to a lesser degree. I’m encouraged to install Google Analytics, thanks to you, but easier said than accomplished. Gotta figure out the “how” of installing GA and then how those data points compare to the actual Twitter/FB stats, if they do and if that’s relevant. As the old NBC star promo states…”The More You Know.”

  2. Happy to share! I love when other authors share in-depth data about their platforms, and now that I actually have some insights, seemed like a good time to share mine :). I’ve found the installing GA was fairly easy, but the figuring out what to do with the data is a bit more challenging…

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