In the last several weeks, we’ve discussed a range of topics. We started with applications that help writers to curate information. Then we moved on to a variety of social media dashboards that can help you schedule your updates throughout the day. Finally, I shared a number of applications that can compute your metrics and provide an analysis of your engagement and conversations on social media.
Despite the information I provided, many people remain confused about what they should say in their posts. Authors often ask me, “If I can’t always post about my own books, what am I supposed to say?”
You may remember the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, you promote your colleagues, other writers, and great posts and 10 percent of the time, you can promote your books, readings, and awards.
If you’re still feeling confused about how to best present the information you’ve curated, don’t worry. Just keep reading and you’ll learn how to write the best social media updates and posts for writers.
The Freedom of Just 140 Characters
On Twitter, the character limit is 140 but the first rule is to keep your tweets to 100 characters if possible. Doing so, will increase your retweets simply because there will be room for the “retweeter” to add his or her username and add a comment such as [Great tips!].
Here are some sample posts. Notice how succinct these tweets are.
- Self-Publishing Basics: The Copyright Page dld.bz/cEPkJ via @JFBookman
My only suggestion here would be to add a # in front of the word Copyright to create a hashtag.
- eBook Marketing: Is Buying a Great Book Review Your Cup of Tea? dld.bz/cA6TF via @jimhbs
- Offer a free eBook, report, or video when anyone likes your FB page http://goo.gl/g9bAE
Again, my suggestion would be to add a hashtag before the word eBook. But aside from that recommendation, the tweets are perfect.
She is clearly trying to attract writers who use social media to promote their books. This is a well-written tweet. She could also have written it this way:
- #Author tip: when you post do others listen? #Social #media management podcast. http://ow.ly/nfPVV #writers
You’re probably wondering what you as an author could say. Here are some examples that cover an array of genres. All you need to add to these tweets is a URL. If you are promoting a colleague, then add a URL and a Twitter username.
- Love #Spain? Read this novel based in #Sevilla + link + name of the book
- Are you a #hiker? 7 Tips on How to Find the Best #Hiking #Boots + link
- Great story by +colleague’s username about overcoming #cancer
- San Francisco #Writer’s #Conference is this February +link #amwriting
- Do you love reading Indie Authors? Visit http://www.indieauthornetwork.com #readers #bibliophiles
The first tweet is a sample tweet from an author about his or her book. The second tweet would theoretically be for a writer who wrote a book about hiking or local hiking trails. The third tweet is an example of how writers can help each other. The fourth tweet is presumably by a writer encouraging other authors to attend a conference. The fifth tweet introduces readers to other Indie authors. The hashtags in this example help readers and self-described bibliophiles to find great books to read.
Facebook Status Updates
On Facebook, try to stand out with a dazzling image. Some users will post a long paragraph for an update and this may trigger wonderful engagement with their fans and friends. However, it’s preferable to keep posts to about 80 to 100 characters. We all feel the effects of text overload these days and your fans are more likely to read short posts than long posts.
Here are some examples of short Facebook posts:
- This week’s Monday blog is on 7 Great New Twitter applications. You may find the perfect one for you. Please share! + link
- Here are three possible covers for my new book. Which one do you prefer? + 3 images
- I’m trying to decide on a name for my blog. Which of the following examples do you like? + Potential Titles of Blog
You could also post an image with an uplifting or thought-provoking phrase or provide background information on the characters in your novel. If you want to make others smile, post something funny that won’t be construed as offensive.
If you wrote a travel book and just returned from Barcelona, share your best photos. If you wrote a gardening book, capture an image of your favorite rose bush or tree this season. Ask questions, seek engagement, return to your profiles and pages during the day to acknowledge comments, and make time to engage with your friends and fans by clicking on your Home tab and seeing what they have to say today.
LinkedIn posts generally contain a blog title and a link, although you could include about 600 characters of text, but again, shorter is better. You’ll want to inform your connections and keep your posts professional. Discuss issues in self-publishing, share the name of your cover designer or webmaster, and don’t forget to promote your colleagues’ books and blogs.
Some people use Google+ as a blogging platform. You can definitely write long blocks of text here but again it’s preferable to write tighter posts. Sample posts could include a blog title and link or a short statement with an image similar to the examples given for Facebook.
Be sure to repin images from your blog and other parts of your website. You can also upload images taken in the cities where the characters of your novel live. Start pinboards on your favorite books, libraries, bookstores, your colleagues’ books, writer quotes, and other related topics. For ideas, see my Pinterest account.
What do you frequently post about? I’d love to know!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of 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, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.
Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web