Start with an Audit
If you already have a website and blog and have tried using social media, you’ll want to begin with an audit. I recently ran a special on social media audits, and many of the writers who hired me revamped their websites and social media marketing on their own.
Once you know what’s working and what can be improved, you can create a plan for moving forward.
Establish Your Goals
What do you hope to achieve through a social media platform? Is it simply to sell books? If that’s your goal, what I’m about to tell you will be disappointing.
Few people can sell boxes of books simply by using social media. (Gasp! Can you believe a social media expert is saying this? If I’m anything, I’m 100% honest.)
If your goal is to sell books, you need to use social media and:
- Blog at least weekly.
- Collect email addresses.
- Conduct blog tours.
- Host giveaways.
- Write guest blog posts.
You can definitely sell books through social media. Plenty of writers have been successful, but I encourage you to look at this goal differently.
In other words, I encourage you to use social media to develop relationships with readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, literary agents, and colleagues. Invariably, those relationships – in conjunction with stellar content – will help to move your books off the virtual and real bookshelves.
Invest the Time in Guest Blogging
I can’t stress how important it is to write guest blog posts. My guest posts have brought me new Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and blog subscribers. Awesome stuff.
And it invariably brings in book sales as well.
But your most important concern at this point is helping readers to become more aware of you as a writer and your books and that’s what guest blogging can help you to achieve.
Take the Time for Blog Tours
There are two forms of blog tours. I’ve been on blog tours where the blogger reviews my book and where the blogger wants me to write the post.
Whichever type of tour you select, a blog tour will help to raise awareness about your new book.
Granted, blogging isn’t technically social media but I consider part of an author’s social media strategy.
Now, let’s move on to the heart of social media.
Sign Up for the Networks that Matter Most
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I don’t recommend signing up for every platform available. No one has time for that.
Besides, you’re readers aren’t everywhere anyway.
There aren’t any studies that prove where readers hang out online, but there are reports from the Pew Research Center on which networks people of specific age groups and sex tend to use.
That research makes it clear that young adult and new adult readers are on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Young adult and new adult readers are on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter ” quote=”Young adult and new adult readers are on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter “]
YA readers also love Snapchat. Haven’t heard of it? Snapchat is a mobile application teens use to send images and messages to their friends.
An appeal to Snapchat is that the messages self-destruct after they’re read. However, you can take screenshots of the messages and keep them into eternity. Businesses have already begun to use this network to market to kids. That’s smart marketing.
But I digress ….
Getting back to the research, we also know that women flock to Pinterest, and there are more women than men on Facebook. So those networks are perfect for romance, erotica writers and other forms of women’s literature.
To learn more about the research and how it applies to writers, be sure to read this post, How to Target Your Readership.
Engage with Your Following – Minimize Self-Promotion
There’s little point to being on social media if you aren’t going to engage with your readers, colleagues, and bloggers.
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In addition to promoting your blog posts and books, spend time every day retweeting, repining (images on Pinterest), sharing Facebook posts, commenting on a LinkedIn update, joining a conversation on Google+, and leaving a comment in one of your LinkedIn groups. This strategy is how your find readers, friends, followers, and fans and grow your network organically.
While we’re on this topic, never send the following four tweets:
- Stop sending tweets announcing how many people you followed or unfollowed using one of many applications.
- Don’t send direct messages to your new followers asking them to check out your website or read a story. In fact, stop sending direct messages unless you’re trying to contact someone you know to convey your email address or phone number.
- Think twice before sending someone a thank you for following. In the early days, I did this but I don’t anymore. I think your time could be better spent doing something else, like writing a blog post, working on your next book or finding content to retweet.
- Don’t send ten tweets in a row. It’s not nice to flood someone’s timeline with a day’s worth of messages in the span of a few minutes.
Balance Your Privacy and Comfort Levels
How comfortable are you with sharing details of your life with thousands of people? Some people find this intimidating.
If you feel uneasy about having thousands of friends, I encourage you to start a Facebook author page. Actually, I think it’s important for you to have one anyway.
If you don’t want people to know that you’re married or who your friends are, then keep your Facebook profile intimate and use your Facebook page for the business of getting to know your readers and sharing content that they would like to read.
If you are a sexual or physical assault survivor, you’ll want to read this post, Social Media for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors.
Once You Start, Keep It Up
Don’t you hate it when you visit a blog or a Twitter account and see that the author hasn’t written an update in six months?
Don’t ever be that person.
Once you start, keep going. Plan ahead. Write your blog posts before going on vacation. Use a scheduling application to schedule your social media updates a week or two in advance.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Once you start blogging & using social media, keep it up via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Once you start blogging & using social media, keep it up via @CaballoFrances”]
Just keep it up.
Next week I’ll discuss another component of a social media strategy for authors: the content calendar. So stay posted.
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Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers