Social media for authors can be exhausting. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads… The list goes on and on! So which social media platform should writers choose for book marketing?
This is a question I get asked all the time and there’s no right or wrong answer. BUT, there are a few ways to decide where it would be best to spend your time.
Read on for my top tips!
Tip 1: Go where your readers are
Your aim with social media for authors is to connect with your fans, or potential fans, and to build a community. So you want to be in the playground where you think your readers are most likely to be hanging out.
If you have an email list, you can ask your subscribers which social channel they use. If you don’t, you can look at the demographics of the different social channels and make a best guess. For example, Instagram users are typically younger than Facebook users. So YA authors are often best off using Instagram. If you’re still not sure, take a look at your comp authors. Which social platform are they getting the most engagement on?
Tip2: What type of content do you prefer to share?
The various platforms put emphasis on different things. For example, Instagram is often seen as the photo-sharing app, whereas Twitter is for pithy microblogs. But in reality, their identities have started to merge. Twitter posts can now be much longer than in its early days. And Instagram users can share long-form captions with their images. Video seems to do better than text or image posts on every platform. So when it comes to social media for authors, whether you prefer to share words, pictures or video, all channels are available to you.
Tip 3: Only use as many channels as you can handle well
If you don’t have any help, it's wise to stick to just one or two platforms when you're starting out. It will be much more effective to double down on one channel and learn how to use it well. When using social media as an author, you will want to show up often. That will be easier if you're not spread thinly across several platforms.
It's true that the more places you are, the more different types of people you can reach. But I only recommend adding in more channels as you get comfortable with the first ones and have the capacity to add more.
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Tip 4: Use the platforms you will actually use
If you hate a particular platform and don’t enjoy being active there, leave that platform. Whether you find the tools clunky or restrictive, or you don’t enjoy interacting with the community there, there's no point forcing it. The best book marketing is the marketing you will do, and the same goes for social media for authors. If you don't enjoy being on a particular platform, you won't be able to stick with it for long.
Social may never be your favorite marketing activity. But if you find one channel easier to use and more fun than all the others, that’s probably the best one to start with.
Goodreads deserves it’s own special mention because it’s not always remembered as an option.
Goodreads is the social network for book lovers around the world. In theory, it should be a great place for authors and readers to connect, but it receives mixed reviews. Some users accuse Goodreads’ owner Amazon of letting it stagnate, due to a lack of competition.
As for what kind of impact it can have on a book launch or marketing, some rave about it while others rage. So what’s my take?
Well, like every other social platform, you’re unlikely to get more out of it than what you put in. If you commit to learning how the platform works and all the tools available to you, if you experiment and commit to a learning process, and if you put real effort in, Goodreads is a credible option. But if you’re only prepared to tinker around the edges, this platform is unlikely to work well for you.
Be consistent with social media
There are lots of reasons why people prefer one social channel over another. And everyone likes to share their opinion online about which one you should be using. The truth is, social networks come and go and we don’t know which platforms are most likely to survive long term, or what new ones will appear in the future. The best thing you can do is make a decision that feels right for you and commit to it.
One thing is certain, flitting from one platform to another will do nothing for your audience-building efforts.
My final tip regarding social media for authors is always, always be encouraging people to move to your email list. Your author email list is something you own and can have control over long-term.
To learn more about how to grow an engaged following, grab my free 7-step guide to growing an author platform.