Social media has become an essential part of an author's marketing toolkit. With the right strategy, social media can help you connect with readers, build your brand, and promote your work. With millions of active users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, social media marketing has become crucial for authors to build their brand, expand their reach, and increase book sales. If you're an author looking to make the most of social media, here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:
1. Choose the right platforms for your audience.
Not all social media platforms will be the best fit for your audience. It's important to do some research, determine who your ideal readers are and figure out which platforms they are most active on before you dive into posting. This knowledge will help you tailor your content and engage with the right people.
If you write young adult fiction, you may want to focus on Instagram and TikTok, which are popular among younger audiences. On the other hand, if you write non-fiction aimed at professionals, LinkedIn may be a better fit. Don't try to be everywhere at once – focus on the platforms that will give you the best return.
Determine who your ideal readers are and figure out which social media platforms they are most active on.
2. Create a consistent brand image.
When it comes to social media marketing for authors, creating a consistent brand image is key. This means using the same profile picture, header image, design and colour scheme across your social media platforms. It also means using a consistent ‘voice’ in your posts and interactions with followers. It also helps if your handle/ profile name is the same or as similar as possible across any platforms you intend to use.
For those of you who are familiar with me, you probably recognise my brand primarily uses teal with accents of yellow and grey. This consistency helps to build recognition and trust with your audience and makes it easier for them to remember and find you online.
Don’t worry if you need or want to re-brand down the line as you evolve, that’s totally normal. My branding started as soft pastel colours which were used throughout my picture book series. Once I started evolving into book coaching I decided it was time to switch things up. It’s probably worth taking some time to think about what colours represent you and your brand before you start creating graphics. The lovely Amy Purdie has some helpful explanations on the meaning behind colours, you can check them out here.
Use the same design and colour scheme across your social media platforms.
3. Engage with your followers and build relationships.
Social media is all about building relationships and connecting with your audience. As an author, it’s important to engage with your followers and build a community around your book. Respond to comments, and messages, start conversations, ask questions, ask for feedback, and share behind-the-scenes glimpses into your writing process. This helps to create a sense of connection and loyalty among your followers and can lead to increased book sales and a more dedicated supportive fan base. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and let your followers get to know the person behind the books.
Many first-time authors are worried about sharing photos or videos of themselves. You might want to try doing it initially in a safe place like my Aspiring Authors Community before branching out to do it on your own pages. While it does help to build those connections, you can share behind-the-scenes images of your hand, writing or typing, or a shadow of you while out for a walk. Have you got a pet? Share them, pets are a great way to engage and create connections. You could even create an avatar for yourself, this is especially useful if you are writing under a pseudonym.
Engaging with your followers helps to create a sense of connection and loyalty among them.
4. Share valuable content, not just self-promotion.
While it’s important to promote your work on social media, it’s equally important to share valuable content that your followers will find interesting and engaging. This could include articles related to your genre, writing tips and advice, or even just funny memes or inspirational quotes.
Share excerpts from your book, behind-the-scenes glimpses into your writing process, author interviews, book recommendations, and insightful blog posts. Use a mix of text, images, videos, and infographics to keep your content diverse and appealing.
Everyone loves a chance to win freebies. Running contests or giveaways on social media is an excellent way to generate buzz around your books. Ask followers to share your post, tag friends, or comment on your content for a chance to win a signed copy of your book or exclusive merchandise. This not only increases engagement but also helps expand your reach as participants share your content.
Whatever you chose, you want it to be relatable for your ideal readers. By sharing content that your followers enjoy, you’ll build a stronger relationship with them and increase the likelihood that they’ll interact with and share your posts with their own followers. Remember, social media is about building a community, not just promoting your own work.
One of the things we share in the Aspiring Authors Programme is a template to help you get started with your posting so you’re not spending hours each week coming up with ideas.
Share valuable content that your followers will find interesting and engaging.
5. Use paid advertising to reach a wider audience.
While organic reach on social media can be limited, paid advertising can help you reach a wider audience and promote your work to people who may not have heard of you before. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer targeted advertising options, allowing you to reach people based on their interests, demographics, and behaviours. You can also use advertising to promote specific events, such as book launches or signings. Just be sure to set a budget and track your results to ensure you’re getting a good return on investment. Experiment with different ad formats, such as carousel ads, video ads, or sponsored posts, to see what resonates best with your target readers.
I wouldn’t advise starting out with paid advertising. Spend some time seeing which types of posts engage your followers most and then use these types of posts to get started. Paid advertising is something to consider down the line once you are established, know your audience and have a following that knows and trusts you.
6. Use Hashtags.
Hashtags are a powerful tool for expanding your reach and attracting new followers. Research popular hashtags related to your genre, writing, books and yourself as an author, and incorporate them into your posts. This allows users who are interested in similar topics to discover your content and potentially become your readers.
You can include up to 30 hashtags on a regular post, and up to 10 hashtags on a Story on Instagram. However, 3-5 are optimum to be seen and keep them relevant. LinkedIn has no limit on how many you can include, again, it’s suggested to keep it to 3. Facebook suggests using up to 5 hashtags and Twitter 2 per tweet. By selecting the best hashtags for each post, you'll be able to target your desired audience and create more meaningful connections.
Hashtags allow users who are interested in topics similar to those you post to discover your content and potentially become your readers.
7. Monitor insights and analytics
Keep track of your social media performance using analytics tools provided by the platforms. Monitor metrics like engagement rates, reach, clicks, and conversions to understand what content resonates with your audience and what strategies are providing the best results. Use this data to refine your social media marketing approach.
Again, when you’re starting out, just get used to posting on a regular-ish basis initially, you can get into the analytics once you are into a routine.
Keep track of your social media performance using analytics tools provided by the platforms.
Social Media offers tremendous opportunities for authors to connect with their audience, build their brand, and promote their books. By taking on board the 7 tips above and staying true to yourself you can maximise the potential of social media to boost your author career. Embrace the power of social media, and let it become a valuable asset in your marketing toolkit.