With so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Get involved, but don’t over do it.
The Point of Social Media Marketing
It’s not just about selling, it’s about building a community of loyal readers. Social media can connect you with readers all over the world. Building a community of like-minded readers will keep them engaged and interested for longer.
Social media allows you to go to where buyers already “live” instead of trying to make them all come to you. Find out which platforms your “ideal” readers use regularly and start interacting. Don’t spend precious time on platforms that aren’t a good fit for the type of community you’re trying to build.
Social media provides opportunities for interaction and relationship development. It’s more than just serving ads to users. Take the time to interact, comment, answer questions, share engaging content, and invest in the long term.
It also allows you to show personality and express yourself to readers. In the digital age, readers want to hear from authors. They want to learn about their lives and writing and find the intersections. It adds more layers to their reading experience and provides community.
Choosing Social Media
How do you decide which social media platforms to use? Define your ideal reader and examine which platforms they are most likely to be using. It’s also important to consider your own skill and preferences as well. If you dislike using a platform, you’re unlikely to interact on it consistently.
Facebook Pages (NOT profiles): Facebook is the most used platform. It provides opportunities for building long term communities and relationships. It is easy to start and carry on conversations as well. The Facebook audience is mainly adults in the 18-49 age group, with slightly more female users.
Twitter: Ongoing conversation is an important aspect of Twitter. It’s interface is geared toward “in the moment” types of conversations. It’s also a good platform for news and updates. Twitter is popular with both men and women in the 18-49 age group, and nearly half of users are on the platform at least once per day.
Instagram: Instagram is mainly a visual platform geared toward creatives. It offers author/creator/business accounts which give different statistics and options to users. Because it is owned by Facebook, it’s easy to link accounts and simplify posting and messaging. Instagram has an easy conversation style. It’s main user groups skew toward a younger audience, with 18-29 year olds being the largest age group.
YouTube: This is also a visually-driven platform. It provides opportunity to express style and personality. In general, video gets the most interaction on social media. Authors can make use of this platform with book trailers, readings, Q&As, etc. YouTube is popular with pretty much everyone.
Pinterest: Another visual platform, it is also informational and filled with users ready to make purchases. Pins are shareable between users and the board format easy to use. Users can easily follow specific interests and save pins to their own boards. The platform is very buyer-centered and has high conversion rates. The user profile is mainly female and popular in the 18-64 age group.
Setting Up Author Profiles
Author profiles on book-related sites are similar to social media, but require less ongoing interaction. They do allow you to connect with more readers and may open up promotional opportunities as well.
Amazon Author Central: This not only allows you to set up your public profile on Amazon, it also gives you access to sales reports and the ability to manage your books. Create your account, claim all of your books and update or fix any necessary information, track sales of paperbacks, fill out your profile details, connect social media accounts, look into the ability to utilize paid ads. You can also get followers on your Amazon profile.
Goodreads: Creating or claiming your author account allows you to manage your public profile and start collecting friends and followers. Be sure to add your books to your profile, connect a blog (if you have one) and connect your social media accounts so interested readers can easily follow you. You will also have the ability to host giveaways, though they are a bit pricey at $119.
BookBub: Create or claim your author account and start collecting followers. BookBub offers paid ads and features, as well as newsletter spots. Newsletter spots are very effective, but also more expensive than many other newsletter promotions.
My Book Cave: Create an account and set up your author profile. Add all of your books as reader magnets in order to see stats and give each book a content rating. MBC offers features and promotional opportunities and listing-building magnet promotions. Magnets are a good way to build your email list and collaborate with other authors.
LinkedIn: Create your account and set up a professional profile. Be sure to list your work and education experience, then list all of your books as publications. You can also list any writing or literary awards you have received. This is a great place to make professional contacts in writing and publishing. You can also publish blog-style articles directly on LinkedIn.
Another reason to set up these profiles is that Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, and MBC will often send out new release alerts to your readers/followers for free!
Setting Up Accounts and Profiles
Fully set up all accounts with an author pic, bio, social media links, books links, contact info, and “verify” where available. Use the same profile picture on all accounts for consistency and recognizability.
Customize where possible to stand out from others. This is different on each platform, but make sure to add custom cover photos, customize background images, choose unique colors when possible, and get rid of any tabs or features that don’t apply to you and your writing. On Facebook you can customize tabs, choose what your call to action asks and leads to (buy now, sign up, contact, etc.), and you can add one landing page to your profile (book link or website).
Update images often. Always use professional looking graphics, and only use images you own the copyright to. If you update a profile photo, be sure to update it on all platforms.
Pin posts/tweets to top of the page and update them often. This is a great place to highlight announcements, new releases, questions you want readers to answer, or giveaways you’re hosting.
Next week we’ll talk about how to make use of your social media accounts!