The Complete Guide to Social Media for Writers
So you’ve written your book. The hard part is over. Now you’re trying to figure out a marketing strategy when you’ve got no budget and no experience promoting books.
The good news is that there is a totally free way to promote your writing. Social media marketing is going to be a key part of your strategy. Here, we break down why it’s important for authors and how to use it to your advantage.
Do Authors Need Social Media?
If you want to sell more books and widen your audience, then yes! Without exception, every author needs social media. And as a self-published author, your social media strategy will be even more critical to long-term success.
Unlike other marketing channels, social media creates the opportunity to be uniquely personal with your audience. And for authors, this can be especially valuable to building a brand and connecting with new likely readers.
If social media seems daunting to you, or you really dislike particular platforms, it can be helpful to pick one platform you already know you like and are comfortable with and focus exclusively on that platform. It’s important to keep in mind that each platform will have different demands for how frequently you should post and what type of content performs best. But we’ll discuss this more in a bit.
Why Authors Need Social Media
As a writer, you aren’t only selling your book. You’re also selling your brand. And your brand just happens to be you. This means that a social media strategy for authors should put them front and center of the brand.
Regardless of which platforms you ultimately choose to use, it’s essential that you cultivate an author identity that will resonate with your audience. Then, you can use your social presence to connect with readers in a meaningful way.
Your readers want to get to know you. And new readers that find your page and like what they see will be even more likely to become readers in the future.
Just remember that social media for writers is a long game. It may not reap results right away, but with dedication and consistency, your social profiles could generate hundreds or thousands of new fans, and eventually, people who will buy your books.
Which Platforms Should You Use?
The best way to decide which social media platforms are right for you will be to first define your audience and your goals. This will not only help you to identify the right channels for your message, but it will also give every post purpose.
Is your goal to connect with current and future readers? Or do you want to reach influencers and book bloggers who can help amplify your brand? Facebook and twitter are great places to reach readers, while Instagram can be ideal for connecting with influencers who might want to promote your book on your behalf. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are definitely the big three, but there are also other book-specific social sites that can be highly effective.
It’s also important to set goals in terms of how frequently you want to be posting on social media and how much time you want to be spending engaging with your fans. Consistency is key here, but that can be overwhelming and time consuming.
First, automate your posts. There are plenty of tools to choose from (many of which are free or very affordable) that will let you schedule your posts in bulk and automatically share them throughout the week.
Then, determine set times – either daily or weekly – to get online and engage in real time with your followers. This goes a long way. As your following grows, it may be impossible to keep up with every post. But just being sure to pop in on popular threads or respond to thoughtful comments can really boost your brand image.
Remember, it’s all about making that personal connection. And don’t let yourself get too caught up in the numbers. Take time to celebrate the small success, even if it’s just a new follower or two.
Content Tips for Social Media
Run a live Q&A session
Facebook Live can be a great way to connect with your readers and answer all of their burning questions. These events are ideal for upcoming book releases or to announce a brand-new series you’re working on.
Ask followers for their opinions
Check in with your followers and let them know you care by posing questions. These can be about your books, or even simple things like what they’re currently reading or their favorite flavor of ice cream.
Poll your followers
This can be a fun way to start a conversation, but it can also be a great way to learn key data about your readers. Thinking about branching out into a new genre? Create a poll to find out how many of your readers like that genre.
Post cover reveals
If you’ve got a fancy new book cover to show off, snap a pic and share it with your fans.
Make a Pinterest board to share prop and character inspiration
You can even show your readers how you imagine your characters look, or what the settings of the books resemble.
Go behind the scenes of your writing process – including photos of your workspace or places you go to get inspiration
Everyone loves a workspace inspiration photo. And if you’ve got any furry companions that keep you company while you write, that’s a great photo op to share with your fans.
Provide updates on your progress
If your readers are anxiously awaiting the next installment in a series or a brand-new standalone release, keep them apprised to your progress. You could also share excerpts from whatever book you’re currently working on to generate excitement. That can also make your followers feel like they’re part of an exclusive group.
Share quotes from your books
Using Canva, you can create really artful images to display your favorite quotes from your work. These are super shareable content that your readers and followers will love.
Share memes/ articles about books and book lovers
One thing you know you and your followers all have in common is that you all LOVE to read. So share your love of books through memes and listicles all about books and book-lovers.
Share fan art
If you have fans sending in fan art, you definitely want to be sharing that on your social pages. With their permission, of course.
Support other authors
Spread the love by using your platform to plug other writers you like. And maybe they’ll even return the favor one day.
Share your reading list
This is an easy way to create simple, engaging posts that don’t take too much time to put together. And ask your followers to share theirs in the comments!
Share playlists for characters or books
Get a Spotify account and create playlists for each character or the whole book. You can make them public so your readers can enjoy them and feel even more connected to their favorite characters.
Social Media Strategy for Authors in 2021
Whatever your strategy is, be sure it’s consistent and on-brand. Setting goals for your social media will help give every post purpose. And be sure to check out what other writers are doing to get inspiration.