Having a social media presence is key to creating an author platform. You are ultimately the face of your brand. Unlike other products, consumers want to know who's behind the creation of the books they read.
So when readers go looking for you online it's important that you aren't a ghost.
It's okay to start small, and you don't have to have an account on every social media platform, but you should be easy to find online.
Sometimes social media can seem daunting. It's like screaming into the void. When you start a social media account you have to ask yourself: what do people want? what do fans what? what will make new readers interested in my book?
If you have no idea what to post, then the best place to start is with the content you already have. Use your book blurs, reviews, cover photos, or anything you use to market your book elsewhere and cross-post it to your social media. Sometimes that can be as easy as sharing an ad you've already made or linking to a blog post or article about you or your book.
Always think about building a long-term relationship with your fans and followers. To build a strong, long-term relationship, always share useful, interesting and relevant content on social media. This means paying attention to what sort of content gets the most likes or shares and then making sure you most more of that and less of what people don't engage with.
Know your readers and what their interests are. Post content you know your ideal reader would love. That means staying on brand and only posting things that are related to your genre or topic. If you've written a book on environmentalism then not every post has to be about your book but you should be posting things related to that topic.
Focused on building a community for like-minded readers and turning your target audience into loyal readers. A good way to go about this is by finding other books that are popular in your genre and sharing them on your social media. By engaging in community conversation you have the potential to reach a vast amount of potential readers.
You can't always wait for your audience to come to you. Know your audience, what they like, and where you can find them online and then engage with that community. Just posting and waiting for your audience to find you won't work.
Interacting with fans and followers is crucial. Don't be passive with your social media.
After you post something you have to engage with the reactions to your post. Reply to comments, even if it's just a simple thank you or nice to meet you, and go looking for other people's posts you can leave comments on.
Also, look to join book tours and challenges; these are a great way to get your social media profile, and your book, in front of a larger audience. If you see someone do something you like to promote their book, copy AND tag them (always give credit!). This can lead to starting a challenge or thread of your own which is great for traffic.
These strategies can take time, but they will pay off. Don't buy followers or likes or anything that promises instant social media growth. Find an organic system that will be fun for you and you can keep it.
Everything you post on social media should have a call to action. A call to action is when you are asking or prompting your followers to do a specific thing. Some examples of a call to action you can use are:
- sign up for my e-mail list
- add my book on GoodReads
- check out this review!
- like and share this post
- follow me on _____(another social media platform)
There are so many other forms of affective calls to action, but no matter where you want your followers to go or what you want them to do, make sure you're telling them explicitly by including a call to action in every post.
The other great thing about social media is that almost every social media platform now have ad options. Unlike traditional ads, these ads are highly customizable.
You can target ads to people who are likely to be interested in what you're offering. The ad will take information from the followers you already have, meaning people already interested in you and your books, and make sure it reaches more people like that.
Be aware of your brand, your message, and your mission. You become the face of your brand and in the contemporary world, "your face" often means the one you choose to post online.
Building a social media platform isn't just about selling books, it's a way for you to engage with readers and fans in the community. Publishing is one of the few markets where the consumer cares and seeks to engage with the individual behind the product. Don't waste that opportunity!
Remember that you don't have to have tens of thousands of followers to have a successful online presence. You just have to engage with the community you have and cultivate that community into loyal fans and lifelong readers of your work.
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