Which Social Media is Most Effective in Reaching Readers?

More of the population is using social media than ever before. For authors social media is an excellent way to meet and mingle with readers. In fact, compared with book signings or other traditional ways of meeting readers, social media is easier, more immediate, and ongoing.

We get to interact from the convenience of our homes in between loads of laundry while we sit in our pj's. (Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you!) We can instantly meet a variety of people all over the world. And then with a little bit of effort, we can continue to “see” those people around cyberland.

In addition to the convenience for authors, social media benefits readers too. As a reader, I love getting an inside glimpse into the personal lives of my favorite authors. I’m always fascinated to hear about their writing process. And I’m thrilled when they take a minute to interact with me personally.

Social media is a fun and beneficial way for both readers and writers to mingle—at least that’s been my experience so far. But where’s the best place to hang out? On blogs? Facebook? Twitter? Yes, there are others, like MySpace or LinkedIn. But the top three current hot spots seem to be blogs, facebook, and twitter.

Between the three most popular, is one more effective than another in reaching out to readers? After all, we don’t want to spin our wheels and waste effort. We want to make wise use of our limited time and go to the places that will help us the most.

As I’ve traversed the hallways of various social media sites I’ve come to the conclusion the sites will only be as effective as we make them. Each one has pros and cons. But ultimately, the success or failure depends on how well we use them.


The Key to Using Effectively: Writing quality posts and visiting AND commenting on other blogs
Pros: More in depth communication, deeper sharing, learning more about others
Cons: Can take quite a bit of time to not only write posts but also visit other blogs, which can subsequently lead to blogger-burnout


The Key to Using Effectively: Sharing personally AND being interested in the personal lives of others
Pros: Quick way to stay in touch with others, especially about the non-writing aspects of life
Cons: Not the best place to advertise for our writing accomplishments (I recommend establishing a separate a Facebook Page geared more specifically toward our books and writing. See this post.)


The Key to Using Effectively: Making it mostly about socializing, encouraging, & building community
Pros: Easy way to chit-chat; quick way to post helpful links; unprecedented opportunities to meet business experts (agents, authors, social media experts)
Cons: Tweets come and go very quickly which makes it difficult to keep up with everyone (having a way to organize followers into lists can help)

I suggest a combination of all three. I try to mingle off and on throughout cyberland. I know there are some who have all three inter-connected so that blogs will automatically post to twitter and facebook, and so that their tweets will post onto facebook or vice-versa. This may save time and work to some extent.

But . . . I’m convinced that the most effective way to use all three is in the personal factor. The more personal we can be with those on our sites, the more we’ll benefit.

Here’s the thing, I know several authors who ONLY use one social media, like Facebook. They don’t blog or tweet. And yet, they do an excellent job of interacting with their readers—making a point of responding to each reader who leaves a comment. They’re using social media to personally connect and that’s the key.

Could they reach out to more readers if they branched out into other social media? Maybe. Could they extend their online presence? Probably. But by using one and doing it effectively, they’re accomplishing more than if they used ALL of the social media and only plugged their books.

My suggestion? Jump in and try new social media. Watch what others are doing. See what works and what doesn’t. Learn how to make the most out of each site. Don’t be shy. Step out of your comfort zone. Participate. And most of all, be personal.

What social media do you like the best and why? What are the pros and cons for you?

P.S. If you'd like a chance to win a copy of The Preacher's Bride, make sure you head over to the trivia question of the week and leave a comment there!


  1. I use FB to stay in touch with old friends, not for my writing world. I think being a published author is different. I enjoy twitter but am not addicted or having conversations all day with people. :) I like the combo of blogging and twitter. And you're, as soon as something stops being personal - it's ineffective.

  2. I like blogging the best. Gives me a chance to show my art and tell a bit of me. For me, Facebook is a place where I can catch up with people I actually know. Family, friends, and colleagues. I like Twitter. I've heard it described as a cocktail party. Or sitting in a waiting room and eavesdropping. It's Facebook without all the silly games. I seem to follow a lot of tech type people so am able to keep up on the latest changes. Like Twitter's new interface. Coming soon!

  3. I use all three but blogging is my favorite. It's like an ongoing conversation with others that can go deeper than the shortness of tweets.

  4. So far I've found that the most common way readers contact me is via my blog.

    A few do it via Facebook, but so far have had no readers (at least, readers who are strangers to me) identify themselves to me via Twitter.

  5. I like this comparison. My favorite is blogging, but it takes the most time.

    Great information.


  6. Blogging works best for me but it is time-consuming as you said. Next I like Facebook but I have only recently said yes to requests of people who I really don't know that well. Then Twitter--but I find that not as useful as I can't keep up either. But it is nice having options. It used to be just Shoutlife.

  7. Glad to see 'em all discussed!
    It's a matter of time for me, so FB and the blog work best!

    Blessings, and C U soon!

  8. Blogging still takes the cake for me, but Twitter is growing on me and I go in spurts on Facebook. B/c I'm a visual person it is fun to see pictures of my friends and their growing children.

    See you soon! ;D
    ~ Wendy

  9. Still balking at Twitter...I've decided I'll know when the time is right and take the plunge then.

  10. I'm enjoying blogging and agree, you have to put in some effort but the returns are great. On twitter, its great to connect, network, and you just never know who you might have share a laugh with.

    At this stage I only have a personal page on facebook; when the time comes to setup a page - I will definitely to that. ;)

  11. I think you nailed the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

    My biggest challenge with social media is the time it requires to visit with other people. It's hard to do quality writing, meet deadlines for editors, work on longer projects, AND keep up with all three venues.

    So I just do the best I can. And I prioritize.

  12. Good post. Important topic! We can fritter away a lot of time, trying to stay on top of it all and end up feeling scattered and unproductive, also drained from having not written.

    I had no use for Twitter early on, but now love it for the way it brings me potentially useful information from various spheres of interest, writing yes, but also other things I'm involved with.

  13. Very interesting, Jody. The only one I haven't joined yet is Twitter. Still trying to find a balance between the other two...

  14. Definitely a combo of all 3. Some are easier for me to use and I think it is a personal preference. :O)

  15. I haven't met a social media I didn't like! ;) I'm a social person, so I love them all, however, I've found that for connecting with readers, blogging has been the best for me. For connecting with the big fish (agents, established authors, editors) Twitter has been the best.

    GREAT post, and great tips on how best to use each venue!

  16. Great tips! I've just started Twitter myself...but I do find it's hard to find time to do all three and write outside of social media. It's almost like a full time job!

  17. I agree. It takes time to do all 3 and to do them personally. I try to budget a little bit of time into my schedule most days for social media and treat it as part of the job. The trick is keeping it from taking over!

  18. Hey, Jody!

    Just wanted you to know that yesterday I asked about your book at B&N. They said it won't be available until the actual release date... so I'll go back. :0)

    Excited for you!

  19. Like you said, I think the key is to make it personal. I've really enjoyed twitter and blogging as a way to connect with other writers, and Facebook more as a way to connect with friends. Sometimes I just turn it all off in order to write.

  20. Blogging is my favorite, and I feel I'm becoming a better blogger all the time. I have a Facebook page to keep up with family and friends. I'm totally confused by Twitter. My problem is, I can't Twitter unless I'm at home, and I have to use that time to write.

    I'm thinking about getting a smart phone so I can twitter on breaks and lunch and at the gym, etc.

  21. I blog. I don't quite get twitter, but I don't get or like texting either. As for facebook it has had so many problems over the years I'm not comfortable with it yet.

  22. Definitely blogging. I've tried Twitter, but I'm still trying to figure out how to make it work for me. I use Facebook for people I know personally; maybe someday I'll get a page...

  23. I like blogging and twitter. I WISH I was more into FB. Really I try. That counts for something, right? *I'm still waiting on pins and needles for my pre-order's to come in the mail. That's right, more than one. I plan on giving away copies to my favorite reader friends. =)*

  24. I'm an absolute twitter nut. I don't know whether I've met any new readers there, but I've made some wonderful friends (many through chat sessions like #litchat and communities like #amwriting) many of whom I've now met several times in "real life". it's also been great for those silly little chance encounters - I regularly search my favourite author Banana Yoshimoto and have met some super people that way, and I've got to do some articles simply by being around when people have asked "anyone know about...?"

    I think the most "productive" has been Facebook, simply because I do lots of live readings, and it's great for the actual project management by creating "events", but for me Facebook is the least personal so my least favourite (I don't think I've found any readers at all through my blog but I've got to have some great debates and have interviewed some fascinating people).

  25. Since I have a blog, I'm following your suggestion of leaving a comment on other blogs. LOL
    Personally, I use Facebook the most. I love being in touch with other authors, friends, and family. It seems to work best for me with my writing schedule.
    A thought-provoking blog today--thanks.

  26. Thanks for breaking down the pros and cons for all three. I haven't ventured past blogging yet, and it helps to see what good aspects belong to other forms of social media. I'm leery of trying anything right now since my time is already so stretched.

  27. The personal aspect of whatever form of communication we choose has to be the secret to its effectiveness. I like blogging best because I know that the majority of readers are there because they want to be... they've deliberately come... and there is an opportunity for more extensive conversations with them. But Facebook and Twitter have the advantage of more casual, less time-consuming encounters and the possibility of reaching others who haven't found my blog. There's a benefit to all three so I suppose focusing more on one will depend on the person's goal.

  28. I like blogging best when I really have something to share that's longer than a couple of sentences. Or, when I want to review a book I liked or interview an author I like. Facebook is great for keeping in touch with people. But, I keep forgetting to use Twitter/ When I do, I'm not always sure what to say. Sometimes I tweet about an interview or review; more often I share someone else's website or blogsite that I've discovered.

  29. Hi Jody! I just got word that my copy of the Preacher's Bride has shipped... woo hoo! I'll send a pic when I get it!! Congrats... that must be so exciting for you! As far as social media, I use FB and blogging and I'm *working* on twitter. I use all three for work so I'm used to all three but it's taking me some time to get motivated to incorporate twitter into my personal life.

  30. I favor blogging. For some reason Facebook doesn't call to me.

  31. I do all three -- blog, twitter and facebook but Blogging is definitely my favourite form of social media -- although it does take a LOT of time.
    W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

  32. Blogging is my fav, I feel like I really get to know people. Facebook and tweeting annoy me ;p

  33. I like blogging the best. But all my non-writer friends who are BIG readers don't do any social networking. They find their books through reviews in newspapers, library picks, and, of course, browsing book stores. I'm curious if there are studies on how the majority of non-writing readers find and choose their books. I guess that's a bit off topic! Great post Jody!

  34. My fave is blogging, because I meet so many interesting and soul-nourishing friends, and I've grown as a writer from all I've learned here.

    I also enjoy Facebook, because it's quick and fun, and I can keep up with friends and relatives.

    I haven't jumped into the Twitter waters yet.

  35. Hi Jody,
    A really good breakdown of the social media pros and cons. I blog once a week...a long post on marketing and overseas trends...a bit of geek thrown in (lol)My blog is becoming known in my writing community as the got to read blog which is gratifying and frightening at the same time.... I have a duty each week to write the best and most informative post I can. To do this I use twitter to research topics. I often find too much great info so I post links to my amplify page which feeds into facebook and twitter. I have followers in all these different media. I zip into your blog from time to time because it is informative and refer to you in my blog. Today I saw Rachel Gardners tweet about your book in the best sellers list and I popped over to say congratulations before I started to write my blog post on social media. I was surprised and pleased to see your topic...(brilliant I thought) so of course I will be linking to your blog post yet again.
    Maureen (New Zealand)
    BTW Congratulations On The Preachers Bride!

  36. I've found that I enjoy using Twitter. I like the fact that I have to present a poignant thought in 140 characters or less.

  37. Hi Jody -

    Blogging is my favorite social media, but keeping up is a challenge. Facebook is fun, but I don't attempt to visit the separate author pages. It's too much to handle.

    Susan :)

  38. Interesting post, Jody. Blogging is my favourite where I can just talk about writing, about characters and other aspects of our Works In Progress.
    Facebook, is where I interact with family and friends.
    As I have not joined Twitter, can't say much about it.

  39. I use (and love) all three. And I agree with you about the personal touch. It makes it easier to connect with readers, especially since many of them may be following your blog AND your tweets AND your Facebook page. It starts to feel too impersonal after awhile when it's the exact same thing in every place.

  40. I have a personal FB but I'm a bit burnt out from it right now.

    Blogging is definitely my favorite form of social media. I like the personal avenues that can be explored and the connection with other bloggers. It's more in depth and revealing than FB and I like that. I'm not a fan of mini-updates. It's fine for "I'm going on vacation!" but if I'm going to get to know someone, I'd rather read some blog posts.

    That said, I know people who use Twitter very effectively. But they're more of the instant info type. I may go that route one day, but for now, blogging is the way for me.


  41. I use Facebook to keep in touch with my family and friends. I use Twitter and Blogger for my writing buddies. I really can't decide which I like best! They're all useful and a lot of fun. :)

  42. I use all three, and I like them each for different reasons. I do have separate FB pages, one for personal use and one for my writing. An issue I have is when people who like my writing want to friend me personally. I'm not comfortable with that. I share a lot of information about my child I don't want just anyone to know.

    Also, I have found that when I get to know people on Twitter who don't use their real names, I don't know who they are out of context. Some have sent me friend requests on FB or emails, and I have no idea who they are b/c they don't reference their Twitter handle. LOL I use my real name for everything!

  43. Jody, I love Twitter. It's short, sweet, and to the point, but when done with a personal touch,as you say, it can be a very effective way to mingle in cyberspace.

    Case in point: I met you on Twitter! Personal relationships developing as a result of Twitter are delighting me. I am a relationship-oriented person, and over time, Twitter is weaving a strand of friendship within my followers. I didn't get on Twitter to make friends, but to use as a social media tool. I've heard from others that friendships are forming for them, as well.

    Blogging is a great thing. I spend a lot of time reading them... but, I cut my teeth on essays and short stories, so I get tripped up by not wanting my Blog to feel like a casual chat to my readers. I can be too perfectionistic about it, and not Blog often enough--or so I read from Blog gurus. I hope to step up my Blog posts this year, and maintain the quality I prefer. After all, Blogs are going to be there for a long time. So, I'm giving myself a little grace that it's better to write something of quality less often, something readers savor and feel inspired reading, than post poor quality content.

    I don't use Facebook and have no plans to start a page. I must focus on my WIP this year!

    Much success with your new book, The Preachers Bride!

  44. since i found tweet deck I'm a Twitter for sure

    facebook is used more on a personal level with friends and family.. I try to let them know bits and pieces of what's going on in my own writing world

    I'm trying the whole blogging thing. So far it's not too bad but I do love to talk a lot and when I don't get any comments or very few it saddens me...makes me try harder though

  45. I love blogging, because I learn so much about writing and people that way. FB I don't utilize as much as I should and twitter is both fun and a way to catch current happenings that are happening in the industry & players.

    The biggest thing is to be genuine in any social media as you've said and to never put so much into it that writing suffers. I had to learn this the hard way, which is why I've scaled back. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  46. I use all three of the tools you mention in exactly the way you describe. I rarely cross-post from one to the other. If I write a blog post, I put a little description in my tweet of why it might be helpful. Since my FB audience is different (mostly friends and family), I might provide a link to my blog with a description that's a little more personal. I never want people to feel like I'm just broadcasting my stuff.

    Blogging (and commenting on other blogs), re-tweeting other folks, and spending time engaging with friends on facebook does take time, but I find the rewards are so great that it is worth the time. I've "met" so many amazing people this way. I'd be glad just for that even if none of them ever bought a book of mine.

  47. I use all three for different things but I am most obsessive about Twitter.

    I use my blog to test out short stories and ramble on about life in general, an Facebook started out as something that I only shared with family and friends but that has snowballed recently too.

    I actually think all three of them are very helpful.

  48. Goodreads! Goodreads! Goodreads! Love it because you can share what your reading and the more people who participate, the more likely it is your book will be recommended to other readers.

    Also, it's great for contests. I've worked with authors before and we've held a Goodreads contest where anyone could enter and one book would be given away. Soooo many more people (around 30+ per contest) added his book to their reading list after the contest then they would have otherwise. It's an AWESOME - super easy - tool for authors.

  49. Great post!
    I have only started blogging and tweeting over the last few months.
    I would have to say blogging is my favourite form of social media.
    However Twitter is very useful for following the Big Fish in the publishing world ... and also like another person put here in comments, Twitter is great inspiration for blogging posts.
    I enjoy blogging too as you put your voice out there on a public platform and you learn too what works and what doesn't for the reader.

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