Can you promote your book and build your authority without social media? Perhaps, but we wouldn’t recommend it. With more than one billion people seeking and sharing content every day, social media is a must. Even non-social promotional routes like speaking engagements, contributed articles and media appearances now tie back to social media. Wherever you go, whatever you do, people are going to want to tag you, quote you, follow you, and get to know you better on social. Without it, you’re facing an uphill battle with no traction.
So where do you start?
As experts in social media for authors, we‘ve listed out the top social media platforms for promoting your book with an overview of how and why to integrate them into your book campaign. Don’t worry: You don’t need to be on every platform. But we hope this primer inspires you to choose one or more that are right for you.
Instagram. This is the fastest-growing social network (seriously, it now boasts 1 billion users). If you’re a visual person and are handy with your smartphone camera, Instagram is for you. It’s a visually driven platform that can expand your author profile with a powerful photographic punch. The content should be driven by your personality and interests, rather than solely about your book. Authors on Instagram share their lives behind the book, showing where they write and find inspiration, how they get ready for interviews and events, and other images that enhance their personal backstories. Draw in new followers with fresh and unusual images, smart captions, hashtags, and videos.
To start: Engage with the hashtag #bookstagrammers to find book lovers who will give your book a look.
Facebook. While it’s not growing as quickly as Instagram, Facebook sits steady with 1 billion registered global users itself. Used in conjunction with your website, it can serve as a way to roll out your book launch and build up a strong fan base. You can share relevant content, news, and upcoming events. You can even pre-sell your book, reveal your book’s cover, run surveys, and host a Facebook Live event. Facebook can be as creative and as expansive as your own imagination, with one caveat: Constant changes to its news feed and algorithms can make it a tricky marketing tool to master. Find a reliable resource to stay on top of changes and be prepared to put some well-placed ad dollars behind your posts to expand your reach and target new readers.
To start: Join a group and interact with potential fans. Create your own book page and invite friends to “like” it.
YouTube. Into video? YouTube is more than just a place to store them. It’s the second-largest search engine after Google (and by no coincidence owned by Google), so your videos could be the reason a significant number of new fans to stumble upon you. Short videos add another dimension to your book campaign by showing you in action, a necessity if you’re a capable speaker looking to solicit more speaking engagements. It’s perfect for unpacking a big idea or rolling out a series of topics related to your book. Link back to and share the videos on your other social channels and website, and create tags to increase your searchability.
To start: Create a channel and post a book trailer or a series of videos of you discussing or reading from your book.
LinkedIn. With over 550 million global users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. Use this platform to connect with specific business communities and select groups, pinpoint fellow thought leaders, and share and create relevant content that can position you as an expert and authority in the business world. Work with a LinkedIn expert to help you refine your background and other profile elements to help you put your best face forward. Showcase your thought leadership, share relevant business-related content, publish and share blog posts, and participate in specific groups that will get you noticed.
To start: Create a profile or update an existing one to reflect your current book or personal brand.
Twitter. This virtual cocktail party lets you dip in and out of conversations. The more people you “talk to” (and follow and tag), the more followers and engagement you’ll get. The original spot for hashtags, Twitter makes it easy to use them to locate relevant content and people to follow. Just be sure to keep your interactions professional, please.
To start: Write a short, smart bio, and then follow the people you’d like to follow you, whether it’s fellow authors, bookstores, or other industry influencers.
Now that you have a general overview of the big platforms – and there are more, including Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Reddit, among others – check them out. Look for boards, threads, groups, and especially authors whose work you admire and want to emulate. Pick the right ones that are best for your book, your brand, and the audience that you think will give you the most engagement. Remember, the key word is engagement. Choose vehicles to interact with potential fans directly and understand more about what drives them and gets them excited.
In other words, get social!
Social media is a critical step on the journey we call The Road to Influence. The road starts with your book, but the journey is fueled by book publicity, influencer marketing, and digital relevancy. Whether you need advice on how to get started or need a fresh set of eyes to help you create more engaging content, we can help. Find out more about what we do here.