Social Media: How to use it Effectively
Marketing of any kind can be a very daunting concept, and that’s why lots of authors require a good, proactive publisher with the right kind of contacts that the author on their own wouldn’t have access to. But effective marketing still requires a team effort. Even with a publisher, an author can’t just sit back and wait for the sales to roll in without putting in any work. There are certain things an author can be doing in their own time to help with sales, and one of those is utilising social media.
It is a fact that in this digital age an author must be well-versed on social media if they want to make the impact their book deserves. To some, social media is an utterly alien concept, but trust us – it is not hard to learn. And once you’ve picked up the basics, you’ll realise just how invaluable a tool they are. The main selling point we can use for social media is that, if you do it right, it won’t cost you a thing. More traditional forms of marketing can cost quite a bit if you want a strong impact. With social media, as long as you target the right audience and use the correct tags, you can reach and grow your audience organically.
Here are some tips from us to you on how to navigate social media and use it effectively.
We can’t stress this enough: Twitter is your best friend. When it comes to finding new audiences, Twitter is possibly the best method out there. With hashtags you can interact with people from all over the world who are interested in the same topic. Likewise, you can tag influential people, pulling in interest from their wide fanbase. For example:
“When in doubt, go to the library.” @jk_rowling #HarryPotter #amreading
JK Rowling has 14.3m followers on Twitter, and those hashtags will connect the tweet with followers not only of JK Rowling but the Harry Potter fandom as a whole.
Twitter shouldn’t all be about you though, the best way to get a good, solid following and fanbase is by interacting with others. Find things you care about (and which accompany your author ‘brand’) and comment or retweet or like posts. Have an active presence online and people will respond to you.
Too many people use Facebook to promote their book. Ok, while there is nothing wrong with this, there is only so much you can do once you’ve let everyone you already know that your book is available to purchase. It is a lot harder to get a following organically without using paid ads on Facebook, and there may be better places you should be spending that money. Paid ads on Facebook only work when you have a very specific target audience and budget, and this is about growing your fan base without having to pay for it. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use Facebook – a presence on Facebook is still invaluable, but we would recommend you focus the majority of your attention elsewhere. If you do use Facebook, make sure you set up an author page rather than using your personal page, and treat it like a coffee shop: a casual gathering between friends and friends of friends where you can chat to them and update them on what you’ve been up to.
Instagram can get overlooked by authors as it’s a platform used solely to post photographs, and you may feel that your author brand does not suit Instagram’s aesthetic, which is fine. But Instagram can be a really good way to reach a wider audience through tags, as with Twitter. The difference however is that with Twitter you’d probably only use two or three tags, whereas with Instagram you can use lots of tags, specifically choosing from Instagram’s suggestions which ones have the most activity and will reach the most people. It is a good idea to choose a style or colour theme with your Instagram page; have a look around at other Instagram pages and see what other people do and how they establish their brand. Do you want to be vibrant, with lots of colours and sharp, bright filters? Or do you want to be classic, monotone, clear-cut? Instagram gives you the opportunity to get really artsy and creative where other social media sites don’t.
If using more than one social media site is far too daunting, there are very user-friendly programs like Hootsuite you can use which will post across all three at the same time, and will even let you schedule posts all in one go. We certainly recommend you work on your social media presence for at least one hour every day. Just go online, post some updates and comment on or retweet or like other posts. In short, show love to other accounts, and it’ll come back to you.
Finally, be careful not to focus on the wrong things. Focus on establishing your brand. Focus on establishing yourself as credible and interesting and, most of all, human. No one wants to follow a robot.