A loyal social media following can be integral to marketing your book. The trick is to get followers, engage them, and increase their interest levels in your book. If you do it correctly, they will share your work with all their friends.
Many authors often forget that readers want to build lasting relationships with authors. Readers can be drawn to your topic based on genre, but they also want to discover more about your insights and perspective. Fans of an author are also drawn to the way they make a point, and the personality that is sure to come through in a book regardless of genre. These are the things that collectively engender a desire on the part of the reader to learn more.
The Internet is forcing us to become more personal as we market a book, and authors now have the tools to connect uniquely with each prospective reader. Consequently, building a loyal following via social media can be a key component of bridging the gap from stranger to trusted author.
Beyond sparking book sales, social media is the perfect place to build a brand. Building an author brand is about using social media to get to know your potential audience, their likes and dislikes as well as aspirations. This can only happen through observation, communication and engagement.
There’s much discussion about comprehensive book marketing and the need to build an online presence or author destination where interested potential readers can come to learn more and hopefully make a purchase. Let’s assume you have created a comprehensive marketing plan, implemented a well developed website with a blog and are monitoring a Facebook author’s fan page. Now is the time to begin developing relationships with others via their blogs and Facebook pages as well as LinkedIn and Twitter groups that fit your demographic. The same can hold true for Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms, if that is where your audience hangs out.
By following and engaging others through questions, support and input (when it fits your expertise), you show your interest in them as individuals and a sense of common ground that engenders trust. For instance, you can solicit your readers for new character names, or survey your audience about something you will later reflect in a book.
It is called “social media” for a reason, each of the friends that you have cultivated is in turn engaged with others of a like mind that you do not know. People that you engage are always communicating with others and many of those people are following to see what type of person you are and what, if any value you bring to the table. This is the seed that will slowly but steadily grow your current followers into a more robust and loyal social media following that can help market a book.
Consequently, every communication and opportunity to share further solidifies old loyalties while cultivating new ones organically. In other words, by showing ongoing interest in shared topics and perspectives you show your loyalty to others. They in turn will begin to learn your perspectives, personality and input, which become more prized.
As an author, relationships are also opportunities to share excerpts and expertise that are reflected or taken directly from your books.
Although every author wants totally glowing reviews, what you really need are positive but honest reviews which can only come from those with a vested interest. Other bloggers, Twitter group members, Facebook fans and those that you follow and like become excellent sources for these all-important reviews and a significant part of your author branding.
When it comes time for book tours and other tools used to market a book, presumably you will have loyal fans that will not only spread the word and participate, but also those that have insights and connections to local book stores and libraries in their area that can broaden your base. The same holds true for those authors that create podcasts, land online or terrestrial radio interviews, and gain exposure via magazines or print.
Social media outreach, communication, and engagement must be consistent. Authors must blog regularly, answer every question or inquiry, and stay involved consistently with those that they have built a relationship. This will help the following grow exponentially with each interaction.