Before reading this article, please familiarize yourself with social media platforms here.
By: Sara Matz | A five-minute read
We use social media to escape for a little while, to connect with others, or to gather information from our community; so how do you sprinkle marketing your book into your personal page? When I friend someone on Facebook, I am looking for a glimpse into their life, whereas on twitter and Instagram you follow people based very heavily on the opinions and lifestyle one projects online. We want to follow you, the you beyond your book. One of my favorite phrases in marketing is “Sell Yourself First” meaning people need to like you before we like what you are selling. We’re going to talk about being likable to strangers on the internet.
How much “you” do you share?
The first part of this answer is based on what kind of social media page you currently have. One of our company’s catchphrases is “your book, your business” but when it comes to social media marketing, that is not always the best advice. When I follow people, especially authors, I want to learn more about them than just advertisements for their next book, I want to see a slice of their lives. A personal favorite author of mine, Robin Cook, might not be the best at posting regularly, but he does post quality content, and well equipped with pictures of his cat Primo. In a recent post on Facebook, he was able to promote his new book, talk about an old book that was a personal favorite, ask 2 open-ended questions for readers to respond to in comments, and talk about his personal life all on one (very) long post, with pictures. As a fan, the dip into his personal life and thoughts really helps me connect to a favorite author in a way that is not usually attainable without a personal relationship.
Another famous author that has mastered posting personal thoughts and opinions to capture the attention of readers is Margaret Atwood. Her Twitter feed is a healthy blend of her author career, personal interests such as bird watching, and world views. Both authors have a well-rounded social media feed and run their pages with minimal help from their PR firm.
You might be thinking to yourself; “These are famous authors with an established fan base, I should be posting differently,” but that is not the case. Dr. Cook has a “like page” on Facebook, for a less established author this is not the best method for you to follow. Facebook makes it harder for like pages to show up in people’s news feed if each post does not have a significant amount of interaction, so without a large chunk of active fans, it can be an unfortunate waste of time. Connecting with people on your personal page and on Facebook groups is a direct shot to interested readers.
Don’t be afraid to friend strangers on Facebook! With the growing interest in Facebook Groups, connecting with like-minded individuals is significantly easier, and advertising your book on your personal page is much better received than in most Facebook groups (be sure to check the rules of each group you join, most places will kick you our for unsolicited advertising).
It is much easier to find your book/life balance on Twitter, with the more fine-tuned hashtagging system. Everyone who follows you has the chance to see everything you post, as well as those who follow specific tags. The writing community on Twitter is fantastic, filled with authors of all publishing levels and accomplishments waiting to strike a conversation, and all you need to do is track them down.
What is a well-rounded advertising post?
Not every post can be as detailed as the aforementioned Dr.Cook’s post, but there are a few key things that every advertising post should try to incorporate to maximize post interaction and in turn aid in attracting new readers.
Picture or video: On average, a post with a graphic is 53% more likely to be interacted with across all platforms. Post anything from someone holding your book with a testimonial to how cute your pets are (actually, post twice about cute pets).
Tell a story: As a writer, this comes naturally, right? Talk about the time your cat jumped on your laptop and you thought you lost hours of work, or the experience that inspired your protagonist or their journey. Slice of life stories are endearing and make a reader feel connected to you, and social media IS “a place for friends.”
Ask questions your followers will answer: Posts with more interaction get places in more people’s feeds. When people start to respond to your post, be sure to like their comments and respond when you can. A conversation on your post is a huge boost to visibility, especially on twitter on a trending hashtag.
Call to action: Ask for likes, shares, and follows; it works.
Personality: Quality over Quantity! Never just share the amazon listing of your book without customized text. Even if all you have the energy to do is post a snippet, review or plot point of your book as the text, it will be better received.
You are multidimentional, your posts should be too. Rotate between sharing interesting articles, status updates, photos and videos. The 80/20 rule applies well here, for every 10 posts you make, 2 should be advertising your book.
How much is too much?
This is a highly debated topic in social media. Some people believe you should limit your daily posting, but I disagree! As long as all of your posts have some spice to them you can post 50 times a day if you feel inclined to. When you are running a personal social page that doubles as your marketing social page, you should not limit yourself on how often you post. With a limit, you start negotiating with yourself if you should post about your book or your dinner… but your fans want both. If you feel like you’re making too many posts in quick succession, try spacing them out by at least 30 minutes or get an account on a post scheduler such as Hootsuite to help visualize the frequency of your posts.