Social Media Tips for Authors and Their Books
How to Use Social Media to Boost Book Marketing
By Lindsey Brodowski
Social media is here to stay, and when used strategically, it can be a valuable part of a broader book marketing campaign. Except for authors with massive followings, a traditional PR campaign with social media posts is generally the most effective.
If social media apps were Senior Superlatives, Facebook would win most popular, Twitter would win Class Clown, and Instagram would win Most Artistic. None of these are bad titles to claim, but all are significantly different from another, and content that works for one platform might not necessarily work for another.
I recently attended a Publisher’s Weekly webinar about content creation hosted by Rachel Krupitsky, Director of Social Media Strategy at Penguin Random House, and Helen Todd, Founder of Sociality Squared. Rachel and Helen provided a refresher about some of the biggest takeaways from each social media app and new ways people utilize them to promote their books. Below are some of the best ways to interact, engage, and create a fan base for your book on each of these platforms:
Promoting Your Book on Facebook
Although it still reigns King as the most used social media app, Facebook is the most challenging app to build followers from scratch. Therefore, authors and book marketers need to be organized in their efforts. Facebook also wants its users to interact most with other posts on Facebook, so if you are posting a link from an outside source, its algorithm will de-prioritize your post and move it down on a homepage.
However, Facebook’s also opening a door for a new way to interact with people interested in your content with Facebook groups. These aren’t the groups you liked back in 2009 that just featured quotes from your favorite movies or highlights from your favorite sports team moments: their hubs for people to discuss tips and interests that they all share in common. It can be a gold mine for finding your target audience! For instance, if you have a parenting book, join some mommy blogger groups. Have a fantasy book? Join fantasy group forums and post about its release.
Maximizing Twitter Posts for Authors
Twitter users often say that they can’t believe the social media site is free because of all the funny, relevant content people share. It’s a word-oriented site that’s an excellent publicity opportunity for many authors. Tap into this and share posts that you think your followers will relate to and share among their followers. After all, it only takes one tweet to go viral!
Most Twitter users also use the app for the most up-to-date news. Instead of waiting for the morning paper, they scroll through the moments and headlines. Many businesses capitalize on breaking news to create content that can tie back to their brand or product for Twitter. Use the most popular hashtags or trends to build a tweet for the day. For instance, if you’re marketing a self-help book, include #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth in your tweets during May, when Mental Health Awareness Month is observed.
The Role of Instagram in Book Publicity Campaigns
Today, teens and young adults are steering away from Facebook to make room for the colorful world of Instagram. For some books, it provides a natural publicity opportunity. Instagram’s user base has grown faster than any other app in the past year and is the most popular among teens.
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift have a recognizable profile based on the “aesthetic” of their pages—a brand identifiable by using specific colors and filters unique to their page. It’s a tactic many (Bookstagram “book Instagram”) pages use. Because of this, you want to create a “brand” on your author page. Whether it’s graphics or patterns of posts, people will associate a photo with your page, building engagement.
It’s also essential to utilize Instagram stories. With stories—a post that appears and lasts for only 24 hours—users want to see live, behind-the-scenes content. For authors: take a video of yourself unloaded a fresh stack of your books or a boomerang of you autographing copies. Followers want to take a walk in your shoes—so let them.
For all of these apps, you want to make sure you’re promoting a social-first, visual content strategy that will attract, appeal to, and reel in followers that can help engage with your content and your book. Look at social media as a free book marketing tool that can help you become a leader in your field—all available to you at the touch of your fingers.