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Social Media Marketing for Authors

FEATURED IMAGE New York Book Editor 2 4 2019 Social Media Marketing for Authors

You’ve written a book and now it’s time to market it. You’ve heard that social media is a good place to start, but you don’t know the first thing about using Facebook or Instagram for book marketing. How do you effectively find your audience on these social platforms? What do you say when you reach them? Can you still market your book if you have no money and almost no time?

You’ve got questions and we’ve got the answers.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to market your book, your brand, or both, on social media.

Why You Need Social Media

Maintaining a presence on social media is a must for any writer these days. Heck, even William Shakespeare has a Twitter account. If a playwright from the 16th century, who’s been dead for over 400 years, knows the importance of social media, it’s all the more reason for you to use it.

But seriously, social media provides the perfect opportunity to market your book. Here’s how it helps:

Social media increases your brand awareness

Simply by creating an account on a social media platform and posting regularly, you can get in front of people who may not have found you otherwise. You’ll be able to build a community of likely readers on the power of social media channels like Twitter or Instagram alone.

You can humanize your brand through social media

Your readers want to know that you’re a human and just like them. Instead of being a faceless entity that, according to your book blurb, lives in Maine or some other imaginary place, you have a personality, you have opinions on current events, and you live in the real world. Being relatable can boost sales for your book.

You can engage with your audience over social media

Piggybacking off of the last point, you can also attract readers when you interact with them. Social media allows you to ask questions, respond to comments, and connect with your readers in meaningful ways. I regularly reach out to my favorite authors over Instagram and am always delighted when they like one of my comments or reply. It motivates me to read more of their stories because I just like them as a person.

Social Media Marketing for Authors

You can use social media to manage your reputation

Even if you’re not on social media personally, your name may be. Perhaps you’ve already published your book and people are talking about it on social media. You want to be a part of that conversation. Most social media platforms are free to join, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sign up and start interacting with your community.

You can create another stream of income through social media

You can monetize your social media account and make money while also engaging with your community. For example, you can create videos about your book on a YouTube channel and then enable ads on your videos. This is an easy, additional way to make money from your book.

All of the above reasons are especially important for self-published authors. You won’t be able to rely on marketing and reputation management services from a big name publisher if you’re doing it all on your own. You’ll need to get as much exposure as possible, and the first place to start is on social media.

Which Social Media Platform Should You Choose?

Speaking of starting, which social media platform should you use to market your book?

Go with whatever platform that you enjoy the most. If you hate Facebook, don’t use Facebook to market your book. Here’s why: You’ll find reasons not to use the platform that you hate. I personally don’t get SnapChat and I’ve fizzled on Twitter, but I open Instagram multiple times a day. So, Instagram would be my top pick for marketing my book because I’m comfortable there. I know the lingo. I understand how it works.

What about you? Which platform is your favorite to use on a daily basis? That’s the one you should venture out on to market your book.

Also, remember that you’re not limited to just one network. You can get active on multiple social platforms. However, a word of caution: Don’t spread yourself too thin. Spending too much time on social media can ultimately lead to burnout. If you feel overwhelmed by social media, keep it simple and return to your favorite platform.

3 Tips for Marketing Your Book on Social Media

Now, let’s discuss how to use your chosen social media platform to market your book. (By the way, we’re sharing 9 ways to use social media for book marketing at the end of this post!)

1. Define Your Audience and Your Goals

Who would you like to reach? Readers? Influencers (like power reviewers and book bloggers)? Other writers? Literary agents? Publishers?

Now, what goal do you have once you reach this audience? Do you want to increase direct sales of your book? Do you want to get more people to review your book? Would you like to connect with your current readers so that when your next book comes out, you already have a community of people who are excited to read it? Would you like to network with other writers so that when they recommend must-read books, yours is mentioned?

It’s a good idea to have a goal for the time you spend on social media.

It’s a good idea to have a goal for the time you spend on social media. Here's why:

Having a goal means that every time you post, you have a purpose. Each post gets you closer to goal.

2. Schedule Your Social Time

Social Media Marketing for Authors

If you’re like many authors, you’re writing on the side as a serious hobby. Perhaps writing has even become a part-time job. But, whether it’s a pastime or a part-time, one thing is certain: You don’t have a lot of time for marketing on social media.

This is why you must make every interaction count. Having a goal for social media is important, but just as important is scheduling your time on social networks. Schedule what you’ll do and for how long you’ll do it. Here are a few examples of how to divide your time on social media:

  • Reply to comments for 10 minutes each day
  • Spend 30 minutes each Monday finding and following five new accounts
  • Take 10 minutes to leave a meaningful comment on each new account followed

Scheduling your time may seem restricting but it helps you meet your goals. If you open Instagram knowing exactly what to do, you’ll make the most of every minute.

3. Schedule Posts

You don’t need to be on social media every day to post regularly. If you find that social media time is eating away at your writing time, take advantage of tools like Buffer and schedule your posts ahead of time.

You can create dozens of posts in one sitting and then schedule them to be posted at different times throughout the week.

Scheduling posts will help you create a better marketing campaign. Because you’ll be writing out all of your posts at once, you’ll be less redundant. Your marketing messages will be more cohesive since they’ll likely build on each other. Plus, batch composing is an efficient use of your time.

Whenever possible (and especially with promotional posts), set it and forget it.

Celebrate the Small Wins

Social Media Marketing for Authors

Remember that marketing on social media isn’t just about selling your book right now today but also about creating a community of engaged fans. That can take a while— a long while. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, celebrate each step that gets you closer to your end goal.

Got a reply back from a respected book blogger?

Added a new follower?

Met all of your social media goals for the week?

All of the above are reasons to celebrate. You did it! Give yourself a pat on the back and keep moving towards the target.

Additional Resources

Before you go, check out these related posts:

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