25 social media success tips for authors
We’ve been discussing ways for authors to use social media for a few posts now. First we discussed the fact that social media is one tool you can apply to the many strategies in your book marketing campaign. Next, we looked at an overview of some of the most popular social media sites. Today, we’ve got 25 tips that will help make your social media process a successful part of marketing your book.
- Be visible. As with good old-fashioned face-to-face networking, you must be seen and heard to create relationships, which is the key to successful social networking.
- Be a real person. Use your real name – not your company name – unless you’re building a company page (or channel on YouTube). Your readers want to create a relationship with you, the author, not your books or publishing company. While it’s important to show up, it’s even more important that you be yourself. Authenticity goes a long way in the social networking realm.
- Brand yourself. Use the same headshot and screen name, if possible, across all your social media sites. This will help make you easily recognizable to your readers/friends/followers.
- Be personal. If you’re a stickler for privacy, social media probably is not for you, because it’s impossible to build authentic relationships without revealing something of yourself. This is not to say you should share your every move or reveal information that could jeopardize your safety. And no, your Twitter followers don’t really care what you had for lunch. But giving your friends and followers – your READERS – a glimpse into some aspect of your life will help them feel like they know you. As a result, they’ll want to check in regularly, eagerly anticipate your book when it comes out, and perhaps most importantly, tell other people about you.
- Engage with your readers/friends/followers. People are reading your blog, liking your page, or following your Tweets to hear what you have to say, so make sure it’s interesting. Share your writing, publishing, or marketing process. Interview other writers, bloggers, or book marketers. Stay ahead of the trends in your niche or industry.
- Be responsive. Yes, you may get tired of hearing it, but you’re going to need to remember it: the first word in social media is SOCIAL. If your visitors/readers/friends/fans take the time to like, share, or comment on your posts or Tweets, acknowledge them!
- Niche yourself and stay focused. You’re ahead of the game when it comes to niching, because you’ve already written a book with a specific audience. While a cornucopia of offerings can be interesting on your social media sites, the more you limit your posts to the specifics related to your book topic, the better you will likely do, particularly in terms standing out from other authors. Readers and followers who love what you offer will easily recognize your site as one that interests them. As a result, they’ll want to check in regularly, eagerly anticipate your book when it comes out, and perhaps most importantly, tell other people about you.
- Use images generously. Some of the most popular folks on social media sites are those who post a lot of inspirational content – specifically posts that utilize appropriate imagery. Credit pictures you borrow, or purchase inexpensive images from 123rf.com or istockphoto.com.
- Toot your own horn. If your book wins an award, let your readers/friends/followers know. Don’t hesitate to share your successes with your readers. Talk about client wins, new speaking engagements, and any book signings and events you schedule. In all likelihood, your readers/friends/followers will want to support you and share your good news, particularly if you discuss it in an interesting way that gives them value.
- Be a giver first. No one likes to have someone come at them with their hand out. It’s a bit of a dated phrase, but one still worth mentioning: go for the win-win. Rather than always pushing your book or asking people to like your page or posts, figure out how you can help others.
- Be positive. Even though we all have a bad day now and then, no one really wants to read about your whining or complaints. The caveat to this is if you have a problem you’d like others’ input to solve, or you have resolved a challenge and want to share your process. Make it educational, not pessimistic.
- Forget the naysayers. Some people still insist that social media doesn’t work. Ignore them.
- Put some time into it. One of the coolest things about social media is that you can connect with hundreds (or thousands) of people all over the world. It would take you decades to meet people in those numbers on a face-to-face basis. Social media speeds up the process, but it still takes time. Be willing to invest some real time in the process, and don’t expect miracles overnight.
- Be willing to take risks. That old aphorism, “Don’t try to be all things to all people,” was never truer than in the world of social media. The reality is that not everybody (even all of your friends or subscribers) is going to like everything you post. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post it. Depending on your personality, your tolerance for conflict, and the subject matter of your book, you may or may not want to post controversial materials. If you’ve written a political or religious book, you can garner a lot of followers via social media – but just remember, it’s a public forum and those who disagree with you can see and comment (depending on your privacy settings).
- Take your arguments offline. Controversy notwithstanding, take any serious disagreements offline. Refrain from making someone wrong, belittling, or otherwise creating disharmony on your blog or social media sites.
- Be the expert. Within your industry or area of expertise, you must have an opinion and be willing to take a stand on one side of an important issue. Use your social media sites to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert. Others will soon start to notice. Before long you may be invited to share that knowledge on sites other than your own.
- Be a connecter. One of the easiest ways to help is by making connections between others. Every post doesn’t have to be about your book or related to your niche topic. If you know one reader/friend/follower would benefit by knowing another reader/friend/follower, give graciously by introducing them.
- Hold contests. Put on your SBM* hat and come up with creative contests to promote book saes. Ask readers to tell you the last word on a particular page. Ask readers to post photos of themselves holding your book on your social media site. Have them write an alternate ending. Reward those who have the most friends purchase copies. The ideas are endless.
- Publicize your events. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and EventBrite are great tools for publicizing your events. Use YouTube to create a short promo. Whatever you do, use your social media to let people know where to come and see you in person!
- Ask questions. Polling is a great tool available on certain social media sites. This is a great way to find out what readers think about topics in your niche. Perhaps you can even get ideas for your next book.
- Answer questions. While asking questions allows you take the pulse of your readers/friends/followers, answering them is another great way to demonstrate your expertise.
- Have a plan. This is probably one of the biggest failings when it comes to authors’ use of social media. First, create a book marketing plan; then figure out where you can use social media within that plan. Don’t leave it up to chance.
- Be respectful. Self-promotion is a good thing, but it’s essential to understand where, when, and how to do it. Toot your horn and advertise your events on your wall, site, or blog (within reason). DO NOT post ads for your book or services on other people’s blogs or sites. I’m fairly forgiving, but if someone posts an ad on my Facebook wall, I block them. No explanations and no second chances. It’s taken me two years to build the following I have and I am unwilling to let others co-opt my effort without at least asking. Certain group pages do allow self-promotion – but be careful to read, understand, and follow each group’s guidelines.
- Be consistent. One of the biggest keys to success with social media is showing up regularly. You cannot check in once every couple weeks and expect to build a following. Neither do you need to post a dozen times a day. Find a reasonable schedule that works for you – probably at least every couple of days.
- Have fun!!!! I love networking and meeting people. I love having conversations with strangers and exchanging interesting ideas. Remember the social aspect of social media. Don’t let this idea of selling a book or landing a client drive your every move. If you’re not enjoying yourself, your posts will probably feel forced and be boring. Trust me, your readers/friends/followers will see through you, and you probably aren’t going to have a lot of success.
*Savvy Book Marketer
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