Authors: Use New Pew Center Results to Better Reach Your Readers

Authors Use New Pew Center Results to Better Reach Your Readers by Frances Caballo

Today’s post is guest authored by my friend and colleague Frances Caballo, whose wisdom and insights I’ve been following for some time now. Once you’ve read this great post on focusing on the social media platforms where your readers live, be sure to jump over to her website or blog for more great information on Social Media Just for Writers.

I’ve been feeling like a fraud.

So much so that when Joanna Penn interviewed me recently I confessed, “I need to start following my advice!”

Let me explain.

Two years ago, I wrote Avoid Social Media Time Suck. After joining social media and too many LinkedIn groups, I was spending far too many hours each day linger in the social media time warp.

You’ve done it too, haven’t you?

Then I developed a system for myself that enabled me to work more efficiently. And it worked! So instead of greedily keeping the formula to myself, I shared it with you and all of my other readers.

So, let me backtrack and explain why I’ve been feeling like a fraud of late. I’ve been spending an hour a day on Twitter.

Yep, a full 60 minutes.

I’ve been completely ignoring my advice.

But after seeing the newest Pew Research Center’s data from their Internet, Science & Tech Division on mobile messaging and social media use and reviewing my Google Analytics for the past year, I decided to forgive myself.

Do Authors Need to Be Everyone Online?

You see, I’m a huge proponent of a certain social media strategy: You don’t need to be everywhere; you need to be where you’re readers are.

Believe me, there are plenty of social media advisers and experts who disagree with me, so give ma chance to explain myself.

But most Indie authors do everything themselves, including their book covers, marketing, and publicity.No one has the time to be everywhere. Well, let me qualify that. If you have a personal assistant, virtual assistant and housekeeper, and possibly a home chef, you have the time to be everywhere online.

If this sounds like you, then you don’t have time to be everywhere and do a decent job. What you need to do instead is make time to be on the primary social media networks that your readers like to use.

That is how you can best reach your readers online.

Let me give you an example. My colleague Arlene Miller, aka @TheGrammarDiva, spends most of her time on Facebook, LinkedIn, and numerous LinkedIn groups. She ignores Twitter. (I know, I know. I just can’t convince her to spend a few minutes there each day.)

Well, she released a new grammar book this summer, and you know what? Her sales rocked! And I mean rocked. (She won’t let me release her sales numbers.)

Suffice it to say she exceeded the sales numbers of many traditionally published authors.

You know why? She spends time on the social media networks that bring her comments, shares, engagement and sales.

LinkedIn is a perfect social media network for this nonfiction, Indie author and all that time she puts into those LinkedIn groups has a huge payoff in book sales.

In my case, Twitter is the No. 1 source of traffic to my website. Twitter is where I meet and interact with influencers in my field.

Twitter is where I build a following that buys my books and shares my posts.

And Twitter is where I receive the most impressions, shares and replies (referred to as comments on other social media networks).

When I look at my situation from this perspective, it makes sense that I spend so much time on Twitter.

Twitter is awesome for my career as an Indie author and a social media strategist for writers.

Where do your readers hang out? Let’s look at the Pew Research Center’s newest study results to help you figure that out.

Of course, first you need to be clear on your reader demographics. Are they mostly female or male? Are they teens, Millenials, Gen X members or Boomers? Once you have the key demographic data, just apply them to the findings below.

New Research Social Media Data Will Help You Reach Your Readers

Here are some key findings:
  • The number of adults who use Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since Pew Research Center started tracking those social media platforms adoption in 2012.
  • Some 31% of online adults use Pinterest (up from 15% in 2012) while 28% use Instagram (up from 13% in 2012).
  • The number of people who use Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn daily has increased significantly since 2014. Fully 59% of Instagram users, 27% of Pinterest users and 22% of LinkedIn users visit these platforms daily.
  • Facebook remains the most popular social media site – 72% of online adults are Facebook users, amounting to 62% of all American adults. Seventy percent of users say they log on daily.
  • Young adults are particularly likely to use both Tumblr and discussion forums.

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Now let’s take a look at some demographics.

Facebook - Frances Caballo

Clearly more women than men use Facebook, and although the numbers trend to the younger demographic in terms of users, older users are the fastest growing group of users.

And anecdotally, at least on the West Coast, the younger set is moving away from Facebook and gravitating to Snapchat and Instagram.

When I taught at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference in August, I asked members in my session to describe their social media use in one to three words. The youngest person in the group – she was in her early 30’s – described her social media use as “so over Facebook.”

I think that describes a lot of people in that age demographic.


Frances Caballo















There’s no surprise here. Women reign on Pinterest, especially among the 18- to 50-year-old set.


Instagram Demographics

If you want to reach readers who are Hispanic or Black, you’ll find them on Instagram.

Presently, this application is most popular with people between the ages of 18 and 49 but that could change. Instagram is now the fastest growing popular so we’ll have to stay tuned.

If you write Young Adult and New Adult fiction, this would be a great application for you to use especially if you can consistently come up with great visuals or text-based images.

A reason for every author to use Instagram is that the social web is increasingly visual. Use Instagram to show another side of your author profile and to share inspirational text images your readers will enjoy.


LinkedIn Demographics

The demographics are fairly evenly distributed among gender and age.

This is a great site for college graduates, job seekers, and professionals either wanting to share their expertise or learn more in their field. It can also be a great online venue for nonfiction authors.


Twitter Demographics
As you can see, just a quarter of Internet users also use Twitter, and there are more people of color who sign up to use this network.

An interesting factor is that Twitter attracts primarily urban users from higher income brackets.


If you’re not sure about your reader demographics, a good place to start is to go to your Facebook author page and check Insights, Facebook’s free analytics program once you read 35 page Likes. There, you’ll find gender and age demographics that will help you to apply he new Pew Center’s results to your social media marketing.

Now you know that you don’t need to be everywhere, just where you can find your readers.

Sell More Books with These Tips by Frances CaballoAbout the Author: Frances Caballo (@CaballoFrances) is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can find her books (including Avoid Social Media Time Suck) on Amazon, her podcast Social Media Just for Writers on iTunes, her books and services on her website, and her wisdom generally on her blog.

This is a slightly edited version of a post that appeared on her blog on September 28th, 2015.

Indie Authors earn more



A new Author Earnings Report was just published by Hugh Howey and the Data Guy, and Kristine Katherine Rusch has a very nice analysis of it.

The most striking conclusion I drew from their report that the ability to earn a living writing has dramatically changed over the past few decades. As you can see from the graphic, for any authors entering the market since about 10 years ago, the ability to earn a $100k a year living improves dramatically if you self-publish.


Here are some highlights of Kris’ analysis:

  1. Indie authors earn more dollars per book sold
  2. Indie authors sell more books because they control pricing (and can price to the market, run sales and promotions when they want to, etc.)
  3. Indie authors can publish more books (no non-complete clauses to prevent them from crossing genres, their books get out faster than traditional publishers allow, they can write shorter books than traditional publishers allow)
  4. Indies get started sooner (no waiting to (maybe) find an agent, and then for the agent to (maybe) find a publisher)
  5. Indie authors can keep their backlists alive (ongoing, never-ending revenue stream vs 6-8 weeks with traditional publishers)

Note: the Author Earnings Reports, like any statistical analyses, have limitations, and Kris describes them in her post quite well. That said, I think the conclusions drawn above are almost certainly true.

You can find the details on Kris’ Business Musings blog.

Click here for the Author Earnings Report she refers to.


Email Marketing for Authors: Introduction

Email icon with text

For authors, an email list can be the most productive part of their author platform, and one that’s often neglected in favor of chasing Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Unfortunately, this is completely backwards.

The trouble with social media fans and followers

Relying on the fans and followers approach to stay in touch with your readers has two major shortcomings: (a) these third parties own your lists, and (b) they control your access to your readers to varying degrees.