Many authors are turning to social media as a form of advertising to promote their books, build a fan base, and connect with readers in a way not possible in the past. Whether you’re new to social media or already have several active accounts, using sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to market your book makes good sense. But what makes a successful social media platform? Being social!
The more authors post and share content, engage with their readers, and reach out to form new connections, the more buzz they are able to generate about their books. If you want people to sit up and take notice of you — and your book — commit to posting, tweeting, and/or blogging frequently and regularly.
Before you get started, ask yourself, Who is my audience? And where do they hang out? A young adult audience, for example, is more likely to use Twitter and Instagram; cozy mystery fans tend to hang out on Facebook; and LinkedIn is a good place to market a non-fiction business book. Once you’ve targeted the most effective social media sites to promote your book, it’s time to socialize!
Here are the tips, which are applicable across all social media platforms:
1. Check out what other people are doing.
Familiarize yourself with what kinds of things other authors and book lovers post, what gets the most feedback, and what doesn’t work. Then, once you’ve chosen your social media platforms, follow or “friend” lots of people in order to grow your network of potential fans. With any luck, they’ll follow you back and/or share or retweet your posts. Leave friendly, insightful comments wherever possible to up your chances of connection with others.
2. Post good content.
Statistics show that people respond favorably to pictures, funny memes, quotes that resonate, and humor. But you’ll quickly lose followers if you’re constantly flooding your social media with hard-sell tactics to buy your book. A good mixture of fun, entertaining, or informative posts mixed with occasional news about your book will keep your followers engaged. Many authors post pictures of their book’s cover, information that relates to the theme of their book, or teasers about what they can look forward to next.
3. Post regularly.
People will lose interest if they only see posts from you once in a while. For the best results, commit a certain amount of time each week to social media. Some authors use a calendar and plan their posts weeks in advance; others post frequently and spontaneously. Whatever your style, the more you post, the more likely it is that people will retweet or share your posts with others. Feeling uninspired? If you don’t have anything to say, retweet or share other people’s content. Or share links to other authors you admire. They’ll be thankful for the acknowledgment and may even return the favor!
4. Be authentic.
Your readers want to get to know YOU, so don’t try to copy other authors or celebrities — or your readers will sense your inauthenticity. By posting content that reflects who you are, what’s important to you, and what’s relevant to your book’s genre, followers will feel a connection to you — and your book.
5. Match the tone of your tweets to your book.
Is your novel lighthearted and humorous? If so, refrain from posting dark, serious content. If your book is non-fiction and aimed toward professionals, your posts should be professional and credible as well. Is your book historical fiction or a fitness guide? Draw from other sources (historical photographs and events, or tips from your own journey toward fitness) to provide content that is informative and/or entertaining, and — most important — linked to your own book.
6. Engage with your followers.
Show your friends and followers that you’re engaged and grateful for them by responding to their comments. You can also continue the dialogue with questions: What should you name your next Western hero? What weight loss tips have worked for them? What’s the scariest setting for a horror novel? Always be personable, polite, and calm in your responses. And don’t engage with trolls or react to negative comments to avoid coming across as immature or unprofessional.
Remember: Building a strong social media platform takes time. If you’re just starting out, be patient — and be social, even if it goes against your introverted nature. If your book is still in the works, now is the perfect time to start building this platform and generate a little hype. Then, when the big day arrives, you can post across multiple social media sites that your book is published and available to the public!
If you’re unsure how to get started with social media and make connections with your target readers, Outskirts Press can help! Tap into the power of social media with our new marketing service, the Social Media Set-Up and Strategy Toolkit.