SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING 101
With 355 social media platforms available (see list here) it can be a little overwhelming for authors to figure out the ins and outs of social media marketing. As an indie author, I find marketing myself and my books to be the hardest part of the process, followed closely by editing. However, marketing is alway one of the most important jobs of an indie author. You can write a great book but if no one knows about it – no one will read it.
Like I said, there are 355 social media platforms out there, today. Tomorrow there may be more. Not all of these platforms are right for authors, but how are new authors supposed to figure out what platforms will work for them? Good question. I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. I’m learning by trial and error. The reason for this post is so that I can share my thoughts and experiences to maybe help you on your journey.
Below I have listed the top social media platforms that I am currently using, or trying to use. You may already be using these sites, but if you’re not and want to start this may just be the place to get your foot in the door with some new ideas.
PLUS… the are all FREE!
Top Social Media Sites all Indie Authors Should Be Using:
With Facebook’s ever-growing popularity, it would be crazy for an indie author not to have either an author page or a book page on Facebook. When I first started my page I decided to do a book page for my Blood Angel Series. I have since changed it to an author page. Why? Well, I published a book that wasn’t part of the Blood Angel Series, and I didn’t want to have to keep up with two pages. No, its not that much extra work, but when you add up all of the marketing an indie author has to do daily/weekly/monthly just to get their name and books out there, one extra Facebook page did seem a bit overwhelming.
My recommendation – DO NOT USE YOUR PERSONAL FACEBOOK PROFILE! Make a page that you control. As an author, I want to keep my personal life separate from my author life. Photos of my kids don’t belong on my author page. When I connect with other authors I don’t need to know what movie they just saw. I want to connect with them on an author-to-author or author-to-reader level and be informed about their coming book releases, writing tips, etc.
Join Facebook groups to reach your niche audience. Engage in group discussions, contribute helpful ideas and comment on posts. Make sure you check out blogs and twitter accounts of other group members and read and comment on their posts. Talk about your books, writing tips, what inspires you, etc. Be a part of the community so that the people in that community want to get to know you and your books. Word of mouth will help build your audience and grow your brand.
With only 140 characters to communicate your message, you must capture your audience quickly. Like they say, readers form their opinion about a book within the first two to three sentences, so Twitter is a great place to develop your writing skills.
According to Twitter, a tweet is “an expression of a moment or idea. It can contain text, photos, and videos. Millions of Tweets are shared in real time, every day.”
This is a place to get to know your readers, meet and share ideas with other writers, and find out what readers within your genre are interested in reading. DO NOT spam the twitter feeds with “buy my book” posts. Make sure you are engaging and share information that people want to read.
Make sure to include appropriate hashtags (no more than three for each post).
I’m still getting to know Goodreads, but I love it so far. This is where authors post their books, connect to readers and authors, get ideas about what people in their genre like and are actively reading, post what you’re reading, write reviews, etc. Goodreads has a great author program dedicated to helping authors understand all the benefits of using their platform. You can even post giveaways, videos, blog posts, etc.
Join groups and participate in group discussions and reading challenges to get to know your potential readers.
Have questions that you want to ask other authors? Reach out to them here!
Amazon gives authors the ability to create their own author profile which links to their books. This is where you can post your bio, photos, and even link to your blog, twitter, and other social media accounts. You can even have a reader/author question and answer section within your profile.
I am VERY NEW to both of these sites, but much like Twitter they are a snapshot moment in time that you can share with your friends, family, and followers. For those of you who write YA (Young Adult) Fiction, like me, this is the place to find our audience. Social media is all about the “now” and what is happening in real time. The youth of today are the primary drivers when it comes to social media, so if you have a book or books that are geared for YA – POST THEM HERE.
Use photos that relate to what you write about and to you as an author. Make sure to include appropriate hashtags (no more than three for each post).
LinkedIn is typically seen as a professional business community social media platform. However, there are a large number of networking groups on LinkedIn, especially for authors. By joining author groups and writing groups, you can share your books, share marketing ideas, collaborate on writing projects, and learn from your peers. I have learned so much from reading posts by other authors, editors, cover designers, etc. and I think you will too.
The world of marketing is SCARY, but you aren’t alone. There are so many indie authors out there, just like you and me that are trying to find a way to get their foot in the door. So, don’t worry if you are feeling overwhelmed – I know I am. Just take it one step at a time. Set up your free accounts with each of the above sites and then start having fun and get to posting.
If you have suggestions on other social media sites to use, please list them below with how you use them and the benifits you’ve seen.