Introduction to Social Media

I love social media

Last week’s post gave highlights from the social media workshop at The Christian PEN’s editor convention. If you happen to be new to social media, here is a beginner’s introduction to the most popular social media networks.


LinkedIn has more than 300 million users. Eighty-four million users are in the US, and there are three million business pages.

LinkedIn is considered a network of professionals. Some consider it very under-used as a social media outlet.

LinkedIn can:

  • build your reputation
  • demonstrate your expertise
  • keep you current in your industry

To find jobs:

  • Click on “Jobs” on the drop-down menu on the home page of LinkedIn.
  • Highlight Find Jobs” and type in a keyword.
  • Don’t limit yourself by inserting a ZIP code.
  • Click the “Apply” button, then add your cover letter.

To create a LinkedIn profile:

  • Choose good keywords in your profile.
  • Keep your profile up to date with experience, skills, training, education.
  • Only accept a connection from someone with shared connections—check out their profile first to avoid spammers.
  • Always send a personalized invitation or message—do not send mass messages.
  • Ask your contacts to recommend you.
  • LinkedIn profile will appear in search engines.



Twitter had one billion users in 2013. There are 241 million active monthly users, 100 million daily active users, and 36 million unique monthly visitors.

Follow these tips to use Twitter as part of your social media plan:

  • Create a professional profile.
  • Make the background attractive to followers.
  • Make tweets that are relevant to your audience (clients).
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Provide answers that your audience is looking for.
  • Choose hashtags that directly relate to your audience. (Visit to see what hashtags are trending.)
  • Use no more than two hashtags.
  • Tweet regularly.
  • Don’t hijack a stream. (Hijacking means posting several times in a row.)
  • Post graphics.
  • Tag people in tweets (by using the @ symbol).
  • Respond to tags and DM (direct messages).
  • Thank people for following you (but make it personal—don’t send an automated message).



Pinterest launched in 2010. By its third year it had 70 million users. Eighty percent of users are women and 80 percent of pins are repins. The average number of website visits per pin is two. More repins equal more site visits.

Here is why Pinterest should be part of your social media plan:

  • Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter/Bing/Yahoo.
  • Their “Show Only Platform” means it’s all visual (which is more attractive and attention-getting).
  • Pinterest is basically a big corkboard that visually shows you as an editor.
  • Mary DeMuth is one example of an author who has tripled her web page views since becoming aware of how to market effectively on Pinterest.

Here are some tips for using Pinterest effectively:

  • Don’t just use it for fun—have a business strategy.
  • Post every pin on Facebook and Twitter (cross-pin on Facebook and Twitter).
  • Post 20 helpful things for every self-promotional post.
  • Use to track people who pin your posts.
  • Pin about speaking topics, genres, contests/giveaways, books worth reading, resource books, authors to follow, grammar rules, fiction tips, etc.
  • Pin a variety of pins every day (not all the same kind).
  • Follow a lot of different people.
  • Track re-pins (not followers).
  • Comment on other people’s pins.
  • Have your first board be your business name.



Facebook—you know it; you love it (or at least have heard about it). The data on Facebook is pretty amazing:

  • FB has more than 1 billion active users.
  • FB has more than 50 million pages.
  • 76% of Facebook users log in once a day.
  • 30% of Americans get their news on FB.
  • The #1 reason for users unliking a brand is uninteresting posts.
  • The #2 reason for users unliking a brand is too many posts.
  • Short posts get up to 66% more engagement than longer ones.
  • 35% of users like a FB page to enter a contest.

Use these tips to best utilize Facebook:

  • Create content that your audience wants to see.
  • The more your post is shared, the more people FB will show it to. (FB has a new algorithm: if 50 people share your post, FB shows it to 50 more people, and so on.)
  • Use graphics.
  • On your ADMIN panel, click on “See Insights.” This shows you the best times to post. When are most of your posts seen?
  • Be personal, engaging, and authentic.
  • Respond to comments/messages.
  • Don’t buy followers (don’t spend money on ads).
  • See your “fans/followers” as a community.
  • Use the “event” feature to host an online party or contest/giveaway.


Expert Advice

Thomas Umstattd and Kristen Lamb are two experts on social media. Following are some of their best tips.

Thomas Umstattd:

  • Use social media as a part of your comprehensive strategy with e-mail marketing.
  • Meet people on social media and convert them to an e-mail list.
  • Gear content specific for each social media outlet.

Kristen Lamb:

  • Your social media/online marketing plan should be ever-changing, never “set in stone,” and revised often.
  • People are on social media for the purpose of connection and community. Anything outside of that is disregarded.
  • Branding is more than name recognition. It is how people feel when they see or hear your name. This includes everything you do on social media. Your name is one of your most precious possessions, so be prudent where you put it.
  • Your website is your home, brand, credibility, reputation, store front, and community.

Other social media experts to follow:


Share with us—what is your best tip regarding social media? What works really well for you? What doesn’t work? What do like about social? What questions do you have? Let’s begin the conversation!

(Note: Data from March 2014.)


Christi McGuire headshot

Christi McGuire has been in the Christian publishing industry for 15 years and has published hundreds of parenting articles and dozens of curriculum units. She also enjoys assisting aspiring writers through the writing, editing, and publishing process, from the beginnings of a manuscript to marketing their books via social media.