Whether you’re an established author with a large fan base or a hopeful self-publisher looking for a wider audience, you need to be on social media. If you’re looking for literary representation, an online following can be proof that you appeal to an audience and have potential. If you’re launching a book you can reach more readers to hopefully boost more sales.
But for authors, marketing on social media can be a very tricky path to navigate. Social media marketing for authors needs to focus more on growing a following and engaging with the community rather than directly advertising “BUY MY BOOK.” Here’s a few tips to boost your social media appeal and grow your personal brand.
Create a Great Profile
A comprehensive and enticing profile is an essential for all of your social media endeavours and will form a solid base for you to market yourself and your books from. Make sure you have a clear, high quality head shot for your profile pictures, and fill out all of the “about me” areas sincerely, concisely, and in your unique tone.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” applies here as much as in any aspect of life. Keep your posts upbeat and optimistic. Tone of voice is very difficult to convey on social media, so steer away from sarcasm, especially if you’re commenting on a contentious issue such as abortion or immigration policy. In fact, it’s best to steer away from those sorts of issues altogether unless they are a critical part of your work.
If someone is trolling you, don’t bite back. Delete nasty comments or block repeat harassers, but don’t stoop to their level.
Inform, Give Back, Listen, Contribute
Filling up your social media with “BUY MY BOOK” posts is the fastest way to lose all of your followers and any good reputation that you had. For authors, marketing on social media is not about directly generating sales from your social media (that should be a pleasant bonus). Your focus should be on growing your brand and creating a fan base.
With that said, your social media posts should be entertaining and informative. Share articles, stories, amusing memes or pictures… stuff that will keep your followers convinced that you’re an asset to their feeds.
Once you’ve established yourself as a “giver” – someone who shares great content and offers things for free (whether that’s advice or excerpts from your book) – you can directly ask for people to buy your book. But these posts should be done rarely and humbly, and in the most creative or interesting way you can think of.
Engage With Your Audience
The beauty of social media is that you can have genuine 1-on-1 interactions with your audience. When someone comments on your posts (and they should be – if they’re not you need to seriously look at your content) you should respond to them. It’s all about cultivating a great reputation.
Imagine a dinner party where one guest sits there and talks all about himself for the whole night, then gives you a business card and leaves, versus a guest who asks about you and takes a genuine interest in what you’ve got to say. Who leaves a better impression? Exactly. This is what social media marketing is all about for authors.
Share Some of Your Book
This can be as simple as posting an excerpt on Facebook, or linking back to an extract on your blog. Or it can be as creative as starting a Twitter account for your characters. Find a way to share some of your work as a nice little taste-test for your fans, old and new. The proof should be in the pudding!
Lots of followers on social media doesn’t necessarily translate to lots of book sales. You will hear lots of authors lament about this online and insist that social media marketing doesn’t work for authors. Incorrect. Social media marketing works for authors if it’s done correctly and tactfully.
Of course it’s not going to work if you shove blatant marketing into their faces continually. But with some crafty content and some clever personal branding you can generate a following of loyal, buying fans.