Why should authors use social media?
If you’re self-marketing, social media is a free way that you can advertise yourself and your books. There is also the potential to reach a large number of people, as there are more than one billion Facebook users and almost just as many Twitter users. However, what social media is most useful for is engaging with people who already know who you are. It is a great way for fans of your books to ask questions and find out when your next book will be released. Social media is essential nowadays for reaching new readers and reconnecting with old ones.
“Always keep in mind that your ultimate goal in using social media is to expose more people to your book.” Read, Is Social Media to Blame for your Poor Book Sales?
What Should My Pages Look Like?
The first step is setting up official social media pages. For authors, I recommend you
- start with three of the top: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Plus. If you set up too many pages at once, especially if you’re a newbie to social media, you’ll end up not keeping up with posting, and as a result people will not bother following that page.
- Don’t use your personal Facebook profile for marketing. Personal profiles are harder to search for and very few people feel comfortable friending someone who’s essentially a stranger, as this allows you to view their information at the same time that it allows them to view yours. Instead, set up a professional Facebook page (note that I said page, not profile) and list yourself as an author.
- For Twitter and Google+, you can choose to have your professional account be the same as your personal one, but if you’re choosing to do this then you must make sure these profiles are set to public (so that anyone can view or search for them), and that you do not have any embarrassing or personal information on these pages.
- Fill out as much of the page info as you can for any profiles you set up, and include keywords in the description which describe yourself as an author and your books. This will help people searching for books similar to yours find you.
- It is also important to include a call to action on your page, which encourages people who are interested in you to take the next step. I suggest encouraging them to follow you and linking them to a website where they can purchase your books.
How Do I Get Followers?
Getting people to follow you on social media platforms is not going to be easy, but there are a few things you can do.
- The first thing is to reach out to your friends and family for help.
- Invite all of your Facebook friends to like your author page, and
- add people that you know personally on Twitter and Linkedin or other social media.
- Following others is also a good way to get people to find your page, so follow other authors and people in your industry, particularly ones with a small following like you.
- Finally, make sure to interconnect everything so that people who find you in one place will be able to easily follow you everywhere; post links to your social media sites on your official website, as a footer in your emails, and on your other social media pages.
“If your readers are choosing to follow you, then they have similar interests, so share what’s interesting to you.”
What Do I Post?
People suggest that in order to keep your pages high up in search rankings, and in order to maintain follower engagement, you should post at least a few times a week.
So, what do you post? The number one thing you should be posting about is you and your books.
- Post about progress you’re making on your book or
- author events that you go to.
- Try to include pictures or videos whenever possible, as posts with images get twice as many likes and shares as posts with only text.
- Also, don’t forget to tag people, events, and locations when relevant to the post to make it easier for people to find you
- (and don’t forget the hashtags, either).
If you don’t have time to write during the week, consider “guest bloggers.” Other authors/writers are very willing to write for others, especially if given a byline that links back to their site. Just be certain that you have the final say on when the article is posted. Other options include a short post on a great article you read and linking back to it, or written interviews of authors. The key is to keep your blog as fresh as possible.
When you have an official release date for your book, make an event out of it.
- Make an announcement of the release date on all of your social media accounts and
- then do a countdown to the date with interesting facts about the book,
- updates about the progress in publication, and
- engagement with the fans through questions, contests, and book giveaways.
To fill in the extra space, share relevant articles or funny pictures about writing and reading. Chances are that if they’re choosing to follow you, then they have similar interests, so share what’s interesting to you.
Call to Action
As in your page descriptions, make sure that each post you make has a call to action. This can be
- to buy or pre-order your book,
- to write you a review,
- to follow you,
- or anything else that will benefit you as an author.
It can be easy when dealing with social media to get caught up in likes and followers, but you should always keep in mind that your ultimate goal in using social media is to expose more people to your book. Therefore, your entire page and every post that you make should reflect this goal. Having a million followers doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t able to translate that into book sales.
“Marketing means connecting with a larger network of people, bringing the work you’ve created to a larger public.” — Joel Friedlander, Marketing Your Book