Good Social Media Practices for Authors

In today’s ever-growing world of independent publishing, authors are relying on social media to get the word out about their books and projects. In fact, many traditional publishers are also looking at social media following to determine how well a self-published author’s work might fare when traditionally published. However, if you want to keep your social media following, you have to advertise and promote your books in ways that don’t turn off your readers or potential readers. So, how can authors make sure that their material is seen and promoted without clogging up social media with buy links and posts that may seem spammy?

1. Use Multiple Platforms

Today Facebook has the largest audience of all platforms. However, Facebook has changed its algorithms so that promotional content shows up less on people's newsfeed. While readers want to know about your books and projects, they also want to see news from their friends and family. When an author posts on Facebook, less than 2% of their friend's list will see their posts. The first instinct authors have is to simply post more, but this practice can end up looking like spam to your followers.

Facebook shows your posts to the people that interact with your page the most. This means that your posts are being seen by the same few people over and over again and the chances are they’ve already bought your book because they interact with you frequently.

Instagram on the other hand, has the best engagement rates of all social media platforms and people can easily connect by searching hashtags for the genres and authors that they enjoy. One of the most popular hashtags for Instagram readers is #bookstagram. YouTube is another social media site that is gaining traction quickly.

YouTube is currently the second largest search engine in the world, just behind Google. Many authors who work solely with words do not realize the potential impact of videos. Authors can do questions and answer videos, create and share book trailers, interview other authors or people in the industry, and much more.

Authors can also benefit from blogging and sharing their posts on Pinterest. Traffic from Pinterest to website blogs is higher than other platforms and can bring in new traffic from blogs that you have pinned months before. Pinterest referrals also have a high bounce rate - however, always make sure that your content is easy to read, navigate, and has value.

Marketing on social media can take up a lot of time, but when you utilize different platforms and spread your posts out, you can reach more people, more frequently, without feeling or seeming like a spammer.

2. Schedule Your Posts

Not all social media platforms have an easy way to schedule posts; however, there are many apps for that, such as buffer and Hootsuite. When you schedule your posts you ensure that you are posting consistently (very important) and at the right times.

When you look at the analytics of your social media profiles, you can determine the time people are most likely to interact with your pages or groups. Authors are not always available to interact with their readers, but scheduling posts can help your readers engage with your content even when you are not online.

If you can sit and nail down a great marketing plan with interesting posts and eye-catching graphics, you can spend a few hours scheduling all your posts for the week and be able to focus on writing the rest of the time.

3. Create Groups on Facebook

One of the biggest downsides of Facebook, as mentioned above, is the fact that only 2% of your followers will see your posts. One way to overcome this challenge is to create reader groups. When you create a group, your readers choose to be in it. Readers can join or leave groups whenever they want. People in your reader group want to hear about your books. Posts in groups will be more visible, and you can also track your group analytics.

Learning about your group analytics can make your posts more efficient. Your group analytics will show you how many people are active in your group, seeing your posts, and also shows the demographics of your group. Authors can use this insight to schedule posts and create content that their group members want to see.

Groups also feel exclusive to readers. When authors post content for their group members only, your readers feel valued and rewarded for reading your work. They are more likely to respond to posts and be involved. Make sure that you tell your group members to adjust their settings for notifications on your group so that they will see all posts not just highlights or posts from friends.

4. Post About More Than Books and Pay Attention to Your Design

When authors only post buy links or teasers from their books, they can easily come off as spammy salespeople. Readers look at authors as celebrities, and they want to know more about you. Posting about your personal life (what you are willing to share), what you are doing, things that you like, and other aspects of yourself make readers feel more connected to you.

Posting about more than your books also help authors to develop a brand as well. Your brand should be a reflection of your writing but also what readers can expect from your business. Building a brand is one of the most important parts of building your business and one that authors should not neglect. When your readers feel like they are part of your brand, they are less likely to report posts as spam or unfollow you.

On that same note, make sure you focus on the design of your posts - this cannot be emphasized enough. People want posts that are visually appealing, have character and taste. Your design reflects your brand - make sure it represents you and that it has consistency. If you do not have experience with design, hire someone that does - this will pay off in the future.

5. Interact with Your Readers and Other Authors

The most important interactions you have on social media are your direct communications with your readers. When you use social media to give back to your readers or reward them, they are more likely to interact with you, sign up for your newsletter, follow your page, or join your group.

Frequently hosting a giveaway for signed paperbacks, e-books, swag, or other author gifts makes readers feel valued. Networking with other authors through social media is also important. You can participate in group takeovers, release day celebrations, host giveaways, and more to be able to reach new readers. Hosting giveaways that require readers to share a post or retweet the giveaway can increase your engagement and is a free marketing tool that every author should be using.

So to summarize...

Marketing on social media is a must for all authors, but you don’t have to look like a spammy salesperson when doing it. Make sure to follow these five guidelines for your marketing on social media to increase your following and build your brand!