You've probably heard that you should have a social media presence and that you can reach a lot of readers through social media. But trying to stay on top of social media can be overwhelming. Where can you start? Here are some simple social media strategies to help you grow your reader base.
Setting up your social media and spreading the word
- Decide now what social media you will use—it’s okay not to try and do it all! Just choose one or two to begin. We recommend beginning with a separate author page on Facebook (you will need to create a regular profile page first) and a Twitter account. An author page on Facebook will allow you to schedule posts and market to your readers in the future.
- Brand yourself by using the same professional author photo, similar headers, and a bio that clearly states you are an author.
- Invite friends and family to your Facebook author page to start out with, and ask them to share the page with others. Also invite them to follow you on Twitter.
- Invite friends from your regular Facebook profile page to like your author page.
- Let readers know where they can follow you! Include this information on your website and in the About the Author section of your books.
- If you haven't already, create an Amazon author profile and include your social media handles.
- On Facebook, invite those who have liked your author posts to also like your author page. You can do this by clicking on the link that shows how many people liked the post (at the bottom of the post) and it will bring up a window with the names of everyone. On the right, you’ll see an invite button. Click that to invite!
- On Twitter, follow people who look like readers. Search for key words such as "reader" or "bookworm" and start clicking! It's really good to see if they enjoy your genre. They’ll often follow you back. Use an app like Crowdfire to unfollow people who don't follow you back, because Twitter will only let you follow a few hundred more than are following you.
What to post?
- Keep current readers excited by posting about new releases and updating them on the progress of your current projects.
- Don’t overpromote your books. While readers love to hear about books they love, they do get tired of always being asked to buy.
- Post content that readers will be interested in, like funny book-related memes or pictures and links to interesting book-related articles or blog posts. Readers love to share or retweet these posts, which will bring even more readers to your page.
- Give your readers links to blog posts you write, along with a short summary (one or two sentences) of what it’s about.
- Let readers get to know you by posting interesting, funny, or sad things that happened to you today.
- Help your readers feel involved by giving them polls! These can be general book-related polls, or polls specific to you, like which title readers like best for your next book, what covers they like, what character names they think you should use, etc.
- Tell your readers about giveaways and contests (especially your own) that they can enter.
- Responds to readers’ comments or questions.
How long should posts be?
- Facebook: These can vary in length, but long posts do not usually generate a lot of interest. The ideal length is 40-80 characters, so try to keep your posts short. If you're posting a link or image, still include a short sentence to generate reader involvement; questions work well.
- Twitter: You can use 140 characters (links take up no more than 19 characters), but the ideal length is 71-100 characters.
- Blog: The ideal length is 1600 words. Readers stick around to read blog posts! Just make sure to break up the text into sections with several paragraphs and headings.
How often should you post?
- Facebook: 1-3 posts a day (at least two hours apart)
- Twitter: 3-8 tweets a day (at least 90 minutes apart)
- Pinterest: 5 pins a day
- Instagram: 1-2 posts per day (consistency is very important with this one)
- Blog: Once a week
If this looks overwhelming, don’t worry! The biggest contenders are Facebook and Twitter (though some authors have strong feelings about other platforms), so if that’s all you have time to do, then don’t worry about doing more than that. Make a schedule that works for you, even if you can only tweet once a day, post on Facebook twice a week, and blog once a month.
Other social media strategies
Keep in mind that you can use the same general content for all your posts! Say you post a funny meme on Facebook; you can also tweet it, pin it, and Instagram it, after modifying the length and feel to fit each social media outlet. A blog post can also be briefly mentioned in a Facebook post or a tweet, with a link to take readers there. If you're feeling rushed, you can even link to a reader's blog post that you think your readers will find interesting.
Another time-saving social media strategy is to schedule your posts or tweets in advance for the entire week; that way you can get it done in one sitting.
Above all, remember that the most important thing is to keep writing. Choose to do what you can on social media, and don’t stress about the rest!
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