Many writers and aspiring authors have realized the power of social media to allow them to connect with their fan base and build a platform. Unfortunately, doing a good job of marketing yourself and your book through social media can be complicated. It’s hard to know where to start, where to allocate your time and what types of messages you should send as you build your platform.
There are a lot of social networks out there, so let’s start by looking at each one individually and talking about the key to success on each network:
You’re likely the most familiar with Facebook — many of us have been using it for years to stay connected with our friends online. But, things get a little different when you’re also using it for business.
There are now a couple of choices for authors looking to promote themselves online: They can create a Facebook page that they can encourage fans to “Like,” or they can allow and encourage people to subscribe to their updates. People who subscribe to your updates will see posts you marked as public.
Whichever path you decide to take, make sure you’re giving your fans value — update regularly and give them a chance to interact. This means asking questions, sharing interesting content, running polls and otherwise improving your fans’ experience.
You probably know a thing or two about Twitter already. The site is well known for its character limits and mostly text updates, but, unless you’re already using Twitter on a regular basis, chances are you don’t know the best way to interact on the network.
A lot of people see Twitter as a great tool for blasting their message out to everyone who will listen. Of course, if this is how you treat the network, you probably won’t end up with too many people listening. The best goal when using Twitter is to add value to the conversations you find there. You can do this by finding other people who care about the same things you do and join the conversations they’re having. Retweet content, post interesting articles and share interesting things. Only after you do all of that should you devote some of your posts to self-promotion. Think about using the 80/20 rule to promote yourself: 80 percent of your tweets should be about adding value to other conversations, and 20 percent can be about self-promotion.
You might be thinking “What does Google+ have that I can’t get on Facebook or Twitter?” It’s a common question. But Google+ does offer a couple of valuable features that you can’t find on Facebook and Twitter. First, Google Hangouts, the video chat service found on Google+. Google Hangouts are a great way to give your fans a time to interact directly with you. The other interesting feature Google+ offers is Communities. These communities tend to have a small group of active and passionate members who discuss interesting topics, ranging from books to movies to hobbies and more.
YouTube can be an incredibly powerful network to build your marketing platform. The community on YouTube is very active — more than 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month and millions of channel subscriptions happen each day, according to YouTube. Use YouTube to talk about the things that make you passionate, excited or angry. People are always looking for the most authentic channels to subscribe to, so find the topics that are important to you and make a YouTube video.
LinkedIn is a great place for authors looking for publishers and agents, but it’s also fantastic for someone looking to position themselves as experts is a field, which is important if you’re planning to write a business book. Post regularly and join groups related to your book and interests. Additionally, be sure you connect with people you might like to know, including publishers, agents and other authors.
Could there better social network for authors than one centered around books? Goodreads is where booklovers go to connect with their friends and people with similar taste in books. This site is a great place to answer reader questions, connect with people and promote your book. You can host giveaways to ramp up excitement for your book, encourage reviews and learn more about what people like when they read a book.
What are your best tips for social media? Let us know in the comments!