You Want Followers, but you NEED Fans.

Quality Over Quantity in Social Media

Not all social media followers are created equal. You want FANS not just followers.

Facebook is changing again! Facebook is cruel to the small business / Authors!


Before you pick up your pitch forks or WORSE throw up your hands and start throwing money at Facebook’s “boost” and other moneymaking gimmicks… let’s all take a deep breath and talk about what Social Media really means.

Now, I’ve chatted about this before in a previous blog: Keeping Social Media Social. There’s a lot of good stuff there so take a minute and go check it out. I’ll wait.



JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T SEE THE MONEY – DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT THERE: Now, you have to remember that Facebook (and all social media sites regardless of what the current party lines are) are there to make money. Yep. They aren’t charities built to help you stay abreast of the latest in popculture or to make sure Grandma got your latest letter in the mail. They may not receive your money through a subscription fee but they do make money in other ways (else how could the afford to pay employees or keep their tech up to date.)

THEY WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARDS MAKING MONEY MORE EFFICIENTLY: Like retailers who have black friday deals and like writers who follow reader trends in fiction, Social Media Moguls will keep finding new ways to make more money. Hey they gotta eat too!

So… what can authors and small businesses do?

I was chatting with my fellow Writing Wenches this weekend about the frustration many of them feel when dealing with Social Media and Marketing. They’re creative people and for the most part they seem to feel as though the “secret” to social media is eluding them… or that they simply don’t have the time to dedicate to building a following online. And yet, how to live without one!?!

YOU NEED RABID FANS NOT NUMBERS: If you have one million followers on twitter, and none of them are as enthusiastic about what you’re writing as you are, then you have a problem. I’ll admit, I have 700 or so Twitter followers and while I can’t say I know all of them – I know MANY of them. I look for their avatars when tweeting. I look forward to their posts and I often tag them in mine. We retweet each other’s posts and generally stay in touch.

Why does that matter?

Well, I don’t have a published work done yet – but when I do, I’m pretty sure at least a fair number of those 700 may tweet about my achievement and ideally some will actually be curious enough (or care enough) to pick up my book on something more than a nifty cover image and copy text on the back of the book.

But what happens if they LIKE what they read?

If they like my book I’m not JUST the author of a book they like – I’m an author they like WHO LIKES THEM BACK. Think about that for a moment. Let it stew in your brain.Now think of YOUR favorite author. That person who thousands like, maybe they are a New York Times Bestseller. You know the one… the one you’ve got a signed book from, the one you stood in line to meet that one time, the one who NEVER directly talks to anyone on Twitter or Facebook but who is shared everywhere.

Got that person in mind?

Imagine he/she tags you in a post. “@SallySomeone how’s your cat today?” HOLY HAND-GRENADES OF ANTIOCH, MY FAVORITE AUTHOR JUST TWEETED TO ME! *fan girl faint*

That’s how I’d be. And you know what else? I’d tell EVERYONE. I’d tell family, friends, coworkers, I’d tell my followers online, I’d blog it, screenshot it, and shout it from rooftops. I’d tell the cashier at the grocery store and that weird man who is standing in line behind me that smells of Funyons (I love me some Funyons, just sayin’ @fritolay) And every time, EVERY WONDERFULLY EMBARRASSING TIME, I said my favorite author’s name with a smile… someone is likely to look that person up. They might even buy the book I love.

See what happened there?

A tweet that took, what, a second to write? It turned into advertising GOLD.

Do you THINK that your 500 followers that you bought for $19.95 are going to do that? Probably not. Even if there is a real person behind each one of those numbers, they work for a company that pays them to like or follow someone and like the Social Media companies themselves – they don’t work for free. They are going to be spending their days clicking like and moving on… not reading your blogs or your books.


That’s the lesson of the day kids and its simple.  Heck, it’s in the name!  Be social.  It doesn’t have to take up all your time either.  A few minutes here and there between projects. Don’t worry about the system is “rigged for or against you.” Your goal isn’t to have ten million nameless followers – it’s to sell books and entertain REAL people. So, get out there, and find your fans! The sales WILL follow.

AND, if you’re stressing still about the social media changes… take the money you were going to use to buy followers and spend it on a social networking class. There are some amazing folks out there who offer both free and paid services on the topic. Might I suggest one of my followers (who I adore) the ever lovely Rachel Thompson @BadRedheadMediahttp://badredheadmedia.com/services

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50 comments on “You Want Followers, but you NEED Fans.

  1. Reblogged this on jemsbooks and commented:
    Great post by DeAnna Ross that makes a lot of sense to authors. We need you followers!


  2. Great advice, and SO TRUE!


  3. […] just screaming into the void with the right hashtags, increase your chances of truly finding those fans instead of followers I talked about a while ago.  Go to the search bar on Twitter’s website and type in #Romance or […]


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