Friday Roundup: Why Authors Need to Use Social Media

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Episode 2 Why Authors Need to Use Social MediaWelcome to the Friday Roundup where you’ll find practical tips for marketing your books on the social web. This week’s segment includes summaries of four blog posts I found on the web,  and of course, your tip of the week on why authors need to use social media.

Let’s start with your weekly tip.

This week’s tip is an answer to the question, “Do I really need social media?”

Of course you do.

I tell authors that if you are content selling your books to your friends, colleagues and family members in your community then don’t bother with social media.

But if you are interested in reaching readers beyond your zip code range, then social media is a must.

As an Indie author, you may not have a publishing deal with a New York-based publisher that manages a marketing department for its authors. But don’t worry.

Social media levels the playing field.

When I look at the Facebook pages and Twitter profiles of Indie authors and compare them to what traditionally published authors have, often the Indie has a better presence on social media.

That’s because you’re the one putting in the time chatting with new friends and fans, retweeting your readers’ content and becoming friends with people across the nation and maybe even around the world.

The more work you put into personalizing your social media presence, the more you’ll receive in terms of content shared and book sales.

Social media isn’t magic, but it can be magical at times. It will allow you to make connections that you never dreamed would be possible.

So don’t shy away from plunging into the world of social media whether you start with Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Start somewhere, grow your presence, and then move on to the next platform where you’ll find your readers.

Now for the second segment of the show …

I scoured the Internet and found some great posts how to create and improve your social media strategy and how to excel on Twitter. I know you’ll enjoy hearing about them. You’ll find links to these articles in my show notes on my Friday blog. Okay, now for the blog posts:

First up, I read Rebekah Radice’s post, Steps to Instantly Improve Your Social Media Strategy. 

Her advice is you need to start by defining your goals. Ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to connect with?
  • What type of content do I want to share?
  • What are you trying to achieve? Is it just book sales or do you also want to get to know who your readers are?
  • How much time can you realistically commit to social media?
  • What does success look like? Is it all about book sales, your income from your books or something else?

I can’t overstate how important it is to spend some time addressing these questions.

Next, make sure you stand out on social media. Focus on the readers for whom you write and find out what they want to read in your blog posts, your social media posts and your stories.

Get to know your audience. Are they women, men, teen girls or more broadly, young adult? As much as you want to write for everyone, narrowing your niche will enable you to hone your message, reach your audience, and sell more books.

Once you know your readers’ demographics, use the social media networks they use.

Next, how do you represent your brand in every social media post? What brand are you trying to build and how will your content further your brand?

Finally, check your analytics programs. You have access to free analytics for most of your social media networks so use them to determine which content your readers love and which ones that just don’t care that much about. By doing this, you’ll know what to post week to week.

Have you ever wondered why some authors succeed at social media while others fail? Or why one writer seems to make interacting online seem effortless? The difference is a solid social media strategy.

Next up is a post I found on Forbes by Stuart Leung: Template For Success: 5 Keys to Creating A Winning Social Media Plan.

His suggestions may seem simple, but they reflect principles at the very core of social media.

Like Rebekah, he stresses the importance of spending time thinking about what success on social media will look like. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish.”

If you just want to sell books, you might want to forget about social media and turn to Google advertising. I’m serious.

Social media is about people; not about business and not about authors who write books.

It’s about relationships. Leung recommends that if you use social media, you need to be active, and you need to nurture your growing community of followers.

You also need to be transparent. Don’t broadcast your message; communicate directly with your readers. Allow your readers to post their impressions and reviews of your books and even ad an image on your Facebook page. If you are nervous about a reading, tell them. If you’re undecided about a book cover, ask them to help you select one. Involve your readers.

Next, let’s talk about Neil Patel’s post 15 Twitter Hacks that will turn you into a twitter ninja.

Are you ready for his tips? Here they are his best tips:

  • Create lists of people you follow on Twitter. Doing this will save you a bunch of time when you turn to Twitter to curate content or find materials to retweet.
  • Use hashtags. Hashtags will help people find your content.
  • Neil says that the best times to tweet are between 9 am and 3 pm EST. I recommend that you check your analytics or use an app such as SocialBro or Tweriod to determine when your followers are online.
  • Include hashtags in your bio.
  • Use Twitter’s Advanced Search feature.
  • Subscribe to public lists. Go to MakeTechEasier to read a post on the five places to find lists to follow.
  • Use Twitter keyboard shortcuts. There’s a list of them on the blog post.

Finally, there’s 7 Reasons Why Authors Need to Use Social Media,

  • Social media networks inform the world about your website and blog. Every author needs a website and a blog; that’s a given. But how will anyone know you have a website if you don’t use social media? And what about your blog? If you are updating it weekly, which you need to do, who will know you went to the trouble to write a new post if you don’t syndicate it to your social media networks?
  • Social media can attract a wider audience to your readings. It’s great that you invite friends, colleagues and book club members to your readings. I’m sure there are other people in your community who might like to attend as well. Facebook is especially good at spreading the word because your friends can share your posts with their friends and soon you’ll have plenty of people to fill the seats.
  • Social media platforms strengthen the bond between your readers and you. Romance writer Sharon Hamilton has experienced tremendous success with her Facebook page. Through social media, she’s developed a street team of supporters who share her posts. In return, they receive freebies or swag. Social media gives your readers an opportunity to communicate directly with you. They don’t have to go through a publicist; they can send you a tweet or a private message via Facebook and LinkedIn. Or they can ask a question in a comment on Facebook or even add their posts to your Timeline. The same is true for other social media networks. By enabling your readers to contact you directly, you can nurture your relationship with them.
  • Social media offers opportunities for you to promote your books. There is a caveat with this suggestion. You can use social media to promote your books, blog posts, readings, websites, sales, etc., but you don’t want to overdo it. The general rule is that you can promote your news in 20% of your posts; in 80% of your posts you will tweet and inform your following of blog posts that other experts in your niche have written.
  • Social media enables you to build your brand. You are your brand. What you blog about, write about, and post about defines who you are to your readers. For example, my books are about how writers can use social media. I tweet about social media, I teach social media, and the majority of my Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook page posts are about social media. Because my audience is authors, some of my social media posts are about writing. For example, my Pinterest account has numerous boards on social media infographics but I also have pinboards with quotes from famous writers, pictures of interesting libraries and bookstores, images of bookshelves and quotes about the love of reading. I also have writing-related pinboards. Everything I post or pin on social media reflects my brand.
  • Social media will increase your inbound traffic. You want traffic to your blog and website, right? Traffic to your website and blog will increase when you inform the world about them via your social media channels. You can track the number of visits by signing up for Google Analytics (it’s free) and watching trends in your inbound traffic.
  • Social media will decrease your marketing costs. You could hire a publicist, but publicists can sometimes be expensive. With social media, you reduce your costs and take full control of your social web presence.
  • Social media will decrease your marketing costs. You could hire a publicist, but publicists can sometimes be expensive. With social media, you reduce your costs and take full control of your social web presence.

If you’d like to learn how to become more efficient at handling your social media marketing so that you’ll have more time to write, check out my book: Avoid Social Media Time Suck.

Further Reading

Social Media Just for Writers

Blogging Just for Writers

Avoid Social Media Time Suck


Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

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