You can write the best book in the world but what’s the point if it’s only discovered by your family and friends? It will be a flop overall and you will be disappointed.
That’s why marketing is just as important—if not more important—than your book’s quality.
I’ve already mentioned why you should blog for marketing purposes. But there’s another way for authors to gain exposure, and this avenue is much easier than building a blog empire: utilizing social media.
With a $0 budget, you can utilize your energy and time to gain thousands of followers who may turn into future customers. Use these 7 social media tips for authors to gain a large following and boost your book sales:
1. Start now
You can’t wait until your book is done to start marketing and building your social media accounts, because by then it’ll be too late or you will have to push your book launch date to months down the road.
So the best time to start is now. Implement the strategies in this post. Learn as you go. And you’ll get the hang of it. The learning process is much longer if you watch from the sidelines.
2. Focus on 1 to 2 social networks
The ambitious hustler in you might want to tackle Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Periscope, and more social networks all at once. But slow down partner, that would make your reach a mile wide and your impact an inch deep.
Instead you want to make your social media influence a mile deep before expanding to other social networks. Focus on growing your Facebook page and Twitter followers, for example, before you drive yourself mad trying to update five different social networks.
I give most of my attention to Instagram—where I have 33,000+ followers—and I also spend a good amount of time on Twitter—where I have about 6,000 followers.
Only once I’m content with the growth of these two accounts will I then focus on another social network.
(Related: Pick Two Social Media Platforms And Go Deep)
3. Create a great profile
You’d be better off without a social media account if it’s going to poorly represent you or your books. So make it a priority to create a great profile.
It starts with a quality, high-resolution picture of your face. Don’t use a picture with half the head of someone else or a picture where the photographer took a group shot 20 feet away.
Next, explain what you do in a concise manner in the biography section. Don’t make this too wordy or it will lose attention.
And it’s most important that you provide your blog URL where people can learn more about you and find your books. If you’re on Twitter, there’s space to provide a link to your blog in the bio section and also add a link that leads to your books in the website section.
4. Post consistently
Your followers notice every time you take a two-month hiatus from social media. And in the world of social media it’s a big no-no to have your account go silent for weeks or months. It’s bad for your brand and raises questions about you that you don’t want asked.
That’s why it’s key that you post consistently on all your accounts. This doesn’t mean you need to post eight times a day. It does mean you need to post a couple of times a week, at least.
This all goes back to the point in tip #3 to do your social media right or don’t do it all. Just as a habit of successful writers is consistent writing, a habit of successful social media profiles is consistent posting.
5. Limit your book marketing
The reason behind creating these social media channels might have been strictly for book marketing, but don’t let your audience get that vibe.
If all you do is post links to your book, your audience will get sick of you. That leads to them not clicking on the links when you actually have something important to say, or unfollowing you altogether.
A better approach is to post non-book related content for the majority of the time, and then when you promote your book it will be a fresh, new post. During book launch week, you can make an exception to this rule. But even during book launch week don’t overdo it and annoy your followers.
6. Share other people’s content
Sharing, retweeting, or pinning other people’s content does a lot of valuable things.
It saves you time by allowing you to focus on writing your book—especially important when writing with a day job—instead of creating content for social media. If you’re not drafting a book, then you can focus more on posting original content.
Secondly, it gives the vibe to your audience that you’re not all about yourself. There’s a big difference between being seen as an important resource of information, or being seen as a self-interested person who only posts their own content. You want the former.
And sharing other people’s content is a great way to build a relationship with them. Many times you can make connections with journalists and bloggers all because you promoted their stuff. Soon these influencers might be sharing your posts!
7. Engage your community
Another way to provide value is to engage your community. When you publish something and someone retweets it or comments on it, send them a response back. Or if someone “likes” your post, start a conversation with them by asking what they got out of reading it.
An easy way to start a conversation is to ask your audience a question about what they think about something relevant to your work. Then check the responses and communicate your thoughts back and forth.
These real conversations can build your trust and credibility with an audience—also known as more book sales—and learn what type of content they would enjoy reading in the future. It’s often the small things that add up to make a big difference.
My focus as an author is in this order: 1) writing quality books, 2) marketing them (writing guest posts and going on podcasts), 3) building my blog’s reach, and 4) growing my social media accounts.
So while social media isn’t at the top of the food chain, it’s an important tool in the whole process aimed at gaining exposure and selling books. Social media plays a supporting role in your marketing effort and the development of your blog.
And what I think is really cool is you don’t have to be a famous self published author to get 10,000 followers or more. The opportunity is there if you follow the tips above.
So get started right now and stick with it, then you will have fruitful marketing channels in the palm of your hand.
How would you utilize social media for authors? Do you have any tips that weren’t included on this list?