We get it — social media is daunting. But here’s the secret: There is no single right way to be on social media. *Sigh of relief*
Every author should be on at least one social media platform, so check out these tips below to find what works best for you and how to make the most of it!
Highlight the basics
No matter what platform you’re on, make sure you’ve got your basics covered. You want your username and profile picture to be the same, if possible, across all your social media accounts. That way, your followers can easily recognize that it’s you on whatever platform they’re on.
This also includes adding your author bio, website and other social media links wherever possible. And, of course, if you’ve got a book coming out, you’ll want to include buy links right at the top of whatever platform you’re on so everyone can see!
Pick the right platform for you
Try not to feel too overwhelmed with all the different platforms – choose the ones that work best for you and build up slowly. Work with what works best for you, where your audience is, what you enjoy most and where you feel most comfortable engaging. If you know you aren’t going to enjoy making videos, then don’t worry about starting a TikTok account.
As long as you’re active somewhere readers can find you, that’s already a step in the right direction. When you’re ready, you can always take on another platform. Even though they’re on the internet, people can tell when posts and interactions are genuine, so if you aren’t having a good time, your followers will be able to see that.
Creating content doesn’t have to be a time-consuming ordeal. You can even post the same things across all your different platforms, though keep an eye out on the different formatting.
Also, don’t be afraid to reuse content. Some of your followers might have missed you posting about a podcast you were on, so don’t worry about posting about it again. Reusing content helps take the load off you, and it’s also a great way to recognize the people who took time to review the book, interview you, etc. But make sure you have some sort of plan when you post: Be creative with your content — don’t post the same thing over and over — mix it up and plan out posts in advance if you can.
And if you’re worried you’re posting too much about your book, here’s a secret: You aren’t. In fact, you probably aren’t posting enough about it. Not everyone is going to catch every single post of yours, so don’t worry about inundating your platform with stuff about your book. It can be weird talking about yourself, but you should be proud of that book you’ve written — and the people following you are following you because they want to know more about you and your career!
We know most authors want to spend their time…well…writing! Social media can seem overwhelming when trying to keep an active presence on various platforms — honestly, it’s a full-time job. And if you’re looking to save time, consider utilizing scheduling apps to create content in bulk so you don’t have to post in real time. This saves time and allows you to focus on what you love most! Different apps work for different platforms, but a few of our favs are Buffer, HootSuite, and Later.
Using social media to network
Use the search tool on each platform to see what’s trending and where you can join in on the conversation by using the same hashtags. It’s also important to always tag locations, companies, authors, etc. whenever possible. You want people to see you’re talking about them. This gives them the opportunity to share your posts to their network, which will hopefully make it back to yours.
In addition to following people who follow you and other readers, consider following accounts in the industry, other authors, bloggers, book stores etc. You can even follow media outlets and reporters local to you, as well as any local businesses, organizations, associations, etc.
And don’t forget to repost other authors in your genre, as well as interacting with them via replies. Promoting yourself and your work is great! But it all goes back to networking. The more you engage, the more likely their followers will see you and consider following and learning more about you and your work.
Building an audience
Does social media translate directly to sales? Probably not. But acquiring an engaging audience and building your author brand are both equally important, and cultivating that dedicated fanbase can indirectly lead to sales.
As you build your following, people will want to see that you’re active, so try and set a goal for yourself to post frequently. This can start with 1-2 posts a week and then slowly increase until you feel comfortable posting more often.
In addition to posting, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re frequently engaging not just with people who follow you but also with people you follow. Carve out time when planning your posts to also reply to comments, read posts from other people, and share posts when possible.
Jennifer Vance is a publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.