Social media platforms are a good way for authors to connect with their readers. Building a relationship with readers on social media helps to promote one’s current book, and creates the author platform for future books. Given that social media is a key component of any book promotion plan, we thought we’d provide some social media tips for indie publishers.
- Define your goals. What do you hope to achieve?
- Who is your audience? If you don’t know, how are you going to reach them?
- Make social media an integral part of your book marketing plan.
Where to Focus
- Social media is more than Facebook and Twitter: it’s your blog, subscriptions, emails, website and more… and they have to work together. Post your blog updates on Facebook and Twitter. Put a link to your Facebook page, along with your Twitter handle, in your email signature. Include your website address on your Twitter profile. Put “share” buttons on each blog post and “like” buttons on your website. You get the idea.
- Having said that, only do as much as you feel you can do. It’s better to have a really well-written and consistently updated blog, along with a very active Twitter feed, than to try to keep up with several feeds and a blog where updates are spotty at best.
- Which platforms are best for authors? It depends on your topic and genre. If your book’s topic is conducive to imagery (i.e., travel, recipes, flowers), use Instagram or Pinterest to connect with followers. Facebook is a great place to connect with the home chefs among us, where you can easily share recipes and build communities around creating the dishes in your book. A book about mental health at work would be great content for LinkedIn. Most importantly, think about where YOU fit in, particularly if you are a novelist. Twitter is probably the best place to let your personality shine and allow people to follow you on your publishing journey.
- Content should inform, entertain and educate. If you have a Facebook “page,” look at Insights, which show you which posts generated the most interaction. Twitter also provides an excellent analytics page for your feed.
- Don’t automatically repost your “tweets” on your Facebook page, or your Facebook and Instagram posts on Twitter. Rarely do they carry over with the proper image attached. In addition, each platform has its own audience and reasons for being. For example, Twitter is about building relationships with new people and is a great news source, while Facebook is about sharing details with people who are close to you and groups with common interests. LinkedIn is for professionals, although some people do create more personal posts that seem a bit out of place. Instagram is about creating an image of yourself. A post you’ve written for Facebook won’t necessarily translate well to Twitter, and vice versa.
- Be genuine in your writing. It might take a while for you to “find your voice,” but you will.
- Use hashtags with abandon on Instagram. Hashtags let people search on topics and find posts that meet the search criteria. Twitter does the same, but hashtags seem to be a bit passé now. Genuine conversations don’t include hashtags, and Twitter is really about genuine conversations. LinkedIn introduced hashtags for the same reason—searches—but they haven’t really taken off.
When to Post
- The number of times to post daily depends largely on the platform. Here are some guidelines:
- Facebook page: No more than once per day.
- Twitter: At least three times per day.
- LinkedIn: At least three times per day.
- Instagram: As often as you want.
- Pinterest: Ditto.
- To catch different audiences, post at different times during the day. Early morning and late day are great for Twitter and LinkedIn. Facebook is an afternoon post, particularly on the weekends.
- Blog weekly or biweekly, and be consistent.
Building Your Audience
- Get Twitter followers by following others. They will follow you back. It’s only polite.
- Visit the profiles of your Twitter followers. Contact them if they seem like someone with whom you might build a partnership to generate book sales.
- Interact. If someone comments on Facebook, follows you on Twitter, or comments on your blog, say something back. Thank them, start a conversation and make a friend. Friends buy books.
- Include a “subscribe” box on your website. There are courses on the Internet that teach you how to build your email list and how to use it to your advantage. Send your subscribers regular communiqués via an email marketing program such as Mailchimp.
Who to Follow for Inspiration
Who better to learn from than best-selling authors? These authors have some interesting feeds which you can follow for inspiration:
Why they’re inspiring: They share a glimpse into their personal lives and interests, giving you a sense of who they are (and why you should buy their next book!).
- Daniel Silva: https://www.facebook.com/danielsilvabooks/
- Diana Gabaldon: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianaGabaldon/
- Maria Kondo: https://www.facebook.com/konmarimethod/
Why they’re inspiring: They share text from new books and advance insights into new projects. They build upon the content of their books with useful ideas for followers, giving readers an idea of what to expect in their books.
- Elin Hilderbrand: https://www.instagram.com/elinhilderbrand/
- World Wine Guys: https://www.instagram.com/worldwineguys/
Why they’re inspiring: If you’re writing about wine and food, your followers want to see what wine and food you’re into! Also, feeds include book reviews, book talks, and photos of places where a book is set.
Getting traction on social media takes time. Jennifer Aniston might be able to build an audience of over a million Instagram followers in one day, but that’s not the story for the rest of us! If you’re not sure how to get started, consider hiring an Author Marketing Coach to help you.