Users need only eyes and an iPhone to see that the family of mainstream social media that has dominated digital marketing and online community building for the last decade is shifting—rapidly and drastically. Twitter is predicted to lose 32 million users by 2024 due to Elon Musk’s takeover and the ensuing technical issues and increase in hate speech on the platform, and under Meta, Facebook and Instagram have disenchanted users with an algorithm that prioritizes reels and recommended posts over actual friends’ content, resulting in lower engagement on both platforms.

This fateful upheaval of the current social media landscape means big opportunities to innovate the book marketing mix. Publishers need to be proactive in forming strategies to reap the unique splendors of a new host of social media platforms, and one channel is especially promising: Geneva.

Geneva is a platform for written posts in forum-style “homes” centered around a particular interest or group. Its mission is to bring together the best of communication platforms such as Facebook groups, Zoom, Reddit, and Google Calendar in one centralized, core platform while avoiding the rampant presence of bots and trolls by requiring a phone number to register. The platform, especially popular among Gen Z women and TikTokers, emphasizes community over the hierarchical structures of other channels such as Instagram. It offers a cozy and safe vibe for its users, aided by its clean, warm design.

Geneva has already proven itself to be fertile ground for a plethora of online book clubs. With users flocking to communities centered on common interests and media, it follows that books can attract the same type of following, should publishers and authors agree to foster these spaces. Consider creating Geneva homes for appropriate titles that function as a sort of on-demand book club and community-building space, a place where readers can easily gather for conversation with other like-minded audience members and fans of the title. Users can discuss a work’s merits in real time, a live version of the occasional back-and-forth at the bottom of a dusty Goodreads review; they can share photos of their reading nooks and swap recommendations in the vein of “if you like this, you’re sure to like _____”. Homes are spaces for readers to rally around their favorite authors and titles.

This is beneficial to publishers because it fosters the inextricable word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing method. Geneva is a platform where readers can engage with authors and books in new ways, generating buzz that reverberates well beyond the walls of the home. Furthermore, participation in these types of online brand communities is associated with commitment to the brand itself, a promising consideration for author platforms.

Another potential area of opportunity for publishers and authors using Geneva is the ability to use the app’s video conferencing function to host virtual publicity events. Where Zoom and other video conferencing apps host users for short sessions and send them on their way, events hosted on Geneva can create communities of users that persist beyond the event and, through the creation of a ‘home’, house these groups in the very platform in which the event takes place. Once the event is over, the ‘home’ persists, and attendees have a built-in group chat to keep the discussion alive. The elimination of the creator-audience hierarchy creates a unique opportunity for author-reader interaction, and consenting authors may consider participating in the conversation to build value and engagement.

As one of the oldest media and communication industries, book publishing is rarely lauded for being “ahead of the curve” when it comes to marketing. The traditionalism of this sphere is often discussed with a sort of passive acceptance—but neglecting to be proactive in identifying the newest avenues for book creation, marketing, and promotion is only going to keep this industry stuck in a false heyday of the past, hindering opportunities for authors, industry professionals, and readers alike. With the social media landscape undergoing a cataclysmic restructuring, publishers need to innovate new strategies for marketing and promoting authors and titles using the unique opportunities provided by upcoming and alternative social media platforms, and Geneva is a great place to start.

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