Social media is a great way to boost your audience, network, and gain more traction for your work. As a writer, this is key to showing publishers that you can market yourself, giving them confidence you are an author whose books will sell.
When it comes to social media, you have all the control. What you post and how you set up your profile says a lot about you as a person, and as an author. Here is a run-down of how to use the most popular platforms and to make social media work for you.
How Authors Use Facebook to Connect and Make Sales
Facebook is the most well-known social media platform as it lets you post text updates and photos. A helpful feature on the site allows you to sell items (your book) and attend events (think a launch party).
Check out Stephanie Ward’s Facebook page who published with our imprint, EK Books. Stephanie has an author page, meaning that people who want to connect with her would “like” and “follow” her page rather than add her as a friend. This is a strictly professional profile. Stephanie’s profile clearly marks her as an author and provides easy access to buying her book on her page. Her followers receive updates in their news feed as to what she is up to, her reading events, and her recently published books. She has more than 700 people who actively interact with her page. While that’s no celebrity sized following, imagine the impact 700 loyal fans could have as they share posts about her new book and provide opportunities for her profile to land in front of literary agents, editors, and publishers.
Before publishing a book, your Facebook allows you to connect with your friends and family and update them on your day to day life. If your profile has content that you feel comfortable sharing with the public, you can have your personal profile act as your professional profile as well, which is great if you don’t have a large following yet. This allows for more person-to-person interaction. You also have the option of toggling your posts to be viewable by the public, or just your friends.
Instagram - An Author’s Life Through Photos
Instagram is a purely visual social media platform that allows you to showcase your life through square shaped photos and videos. To get your followers to stop and “like” your photos, they should be eye-catching. Think aesthetics.
Check out Karen Fischer’s account with 11 thousand followers. Karen’s recently released book, Healthy Skin Kitchen, was published with Exisle Publishing. Karen has published other books including The Eczema Diet hence her username @eczema.life for her readers to easily find her on Instagram. Karen’s account focuses on darker colors which contrast against the brightly colored flowers and ingredients in her posts to create an aesthetically pleasing account. Her account showcases her personality in videos and the comments section where she interacts with her followers.
When considering an Instagram author account, it is worth considering what you post and how the photos look. Following a color scheme, like Karen’s account, makes for a clean, professional look. The better your account looks and the more hashtags you use, the more followers your account will have.
A very popular hashtag used on Instagram for book lovers is #Bookstagram. People post what books they are reading and there is a whole community who shares photos of their books in creative ways. An example of this is a post from Vikki Conley’s account where she pairs her book with colorful string and fall leaves. It’s visually appealing, so someone scrolling on their Instagram will most likely stop to take a look at the post.
Your Readers are on Twitter and You Should be Too
Twitter has a bustling literary community with all the news, updates, and contacts you need as a writer. With the ability to share short text updates and photos, Twitter is a great way to make connections with publishers.
The Blind Strategist, published with Exisle by author Stephen Robinson, has a Twitter account with more than a thousand followers. The Twitter account shows Stephen’s interest in history and allows him to interact with other accounts through “retweeting” their posts which is then shared on his profile. His username is straightforward @SR_Historian, making it clear to anyone viewing his account that he has an interest in history. This is a great way to attract followers with similar interests (such as history) and then as your following grows, you have an audience who can share excitement for your book.
As a writer getting the hang of Twitter, it can seem daunting. Although, Twitter is the best to network and find your “tribe.” Through “likes” you can interact with your followers without sharing their posts on your account. This lets you determine what is on your account and how you present yourself to the public.
You can make “Lists” with your favorite authors, literary agents, and publishers which will notify those accounts that you value their posts. A “list” allows you to place all the accounts whose posts you don’t want to miss in one place so you can easily find them. Think of a mini-Twitter feed curated with the content you most care about. This is a great way to keep up your interaction with accounts and have your name pop up on their feed occasionally. It could also get you noticed by those very accounts.
Popular hashtags for Twitter are: #writingcommunity, #writer, #publishing, #blog. Make sure to check these hashtags frequently to find other people in your circle and see what is posted.
Social Media Dos and Don’ts
- Have a clear profile photo that shows your whole face
- Fill out your profile with your information
- Use hashtags that represent your post so you can reach a larger audience
- Be creative, let your personality shine!
- Find in-person and online events on these platforms
- Post regularly
- Leave your profile empty, without information
- Make an account and ignore it
- Post anything you may regret later (Think: would you share this post with your boss?)
- Don’t over-post