Can Social Media Help Market Your Book?
How to use social media for book marketing is a question on the mind of every author and publisher. In the best-case scenarios, authors can use social media channels to communicate with fans, build a following, and promote their books. Therefore, it’s easy to see why for many people social media and book marketing go hand in hand — but it relies entirely on authors using it effectively.
In some circles, experts still feel social media is of questionable value in promoting a book. But more of those opinions may change as social media endures and becomes ever more present in people’s lives. At Smith Publicity our view on social media is straightforward: If authors can afford to pay someone to handle their social media, or if they have sufficient time to do it well on their own, it can be a useful way to augment a book publicity campaign.
While there are agencies known for promoting a book through social media, such services are typically combined with digital marketing and paid advertising. So, in reality, they aren’t purely social media campaigns. In our experience, relying only on social media will typically not move the needle significantly when it comes to selling books. Therefore, and some type of book publicity service should be employed.
What Does Social Media Do for Authors?
Social media can provide credibility for an author. Many editors and producers in the media will refer to an author’s social media as a measure of legitimacy. It’s why you’ll often read about an author or see them in an interview, then check online and see that they have a high number of followers. Size of the online following in today’s world makes an impression on anyone planning to interview or write a story about an author.
However, authors must remember to keep social media accounts active or stay off altogether. It’s never good to have a Twitter account that’s been dormant for a year or a Facebook page that doesn’t even have a picture. You’ll have more credibility, ironically, if you have no social media presence but have a terrific website, as opposed to an impressive social media following but a terrible website.
Book publicity and social media work well together when one supports the other. For example, re-purposing media runs – interviews, print coverage, etc. – on social media is an excellent way to populate platforms with good content. You significantly expand the reach of your media coverage by pushing it through to your social media followers.
Additionally, reaching out to an editor or producer via social media, or mentioning them in your own posts, tweets, etc. can be a great tactic. It can help you establish media connections that may lead to coverage. Also, simple things such as thanking a host or editor via social media after you have an interview or are covered in print can mean a lot. It’s always crucial to building good media relationships to make yourself more memorable and foster additional opportunities.
Avoid These Common Mistakes Authors Makes on Social Media
- Don’t being overly promotional. If you post too often about how great your book is, you’ll seem pushy. You need to provide information, tips, or do something fun with your followers. The goal is to develop authentic connections that subsequently motivate people to buy your book.
- Try to avoid controversial or negative conversations. For authors, treat social media like a business. You’re there to spread the word about you and your book.
- Don’t mix business with your personal life on social media. You can have author platforms or personal ones; keep them separate.
- If you want to comment on other books, only do so when you like a book and can say something nice. Don’t be critical of others.
- Avoid being everywhere. Typically, authors should choose two social media platforms and devote their time to maintaining them. If you are in too many channels, you’ll likely let one slip or become a repeat of the others.
- Choose the right platforms. For books that include photographs or visuals, or cover a topic that lends itself to visuals, Instagram can be ideal. Business book authors should generally be on LinkedIn. Twitter, if you have the time to keep it current, can be effective for all authors.
- Give something to get something. The best way to get something – a book sale, for example – is to give something first. Offer a free chapter download of your book. Create a fun contest that your followers will enjoy. Offer to give books away to a specific number of people if they reach out to you by a certain time. If you are a novelist, create a contest for the names of characters for your next book.
Social media for authors can be an effective add-on to a book marketing campaign. But keep in mind that in our experience at Smith Publicity, it is challenging to fully promote a book through social media. Book marketing and publicity to win traditional media coverage remains the most direct and effective way to spark book sales. It also helps to build author brands, create additional opportunities such as speaking engagements, and new business opportunities.