Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of this phenomenon called social media. Almost everyone has an account with either Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. More users are going online every day, which, yes, means more competition for you, but also more readers are waiting to discover your story.
In addition to the competitiveness, there is the added hurdle of which platform works best, or if they even work at all. Despite all the huffing and puffing, businesses and authors flock to these platforms to make their living.
Why is Social Media Important to Your Survival as a Writer?
If you’re not using a social media platform, then you’ll want to sign up for one or more. They contain millions of potential viewers that you can redirect to your website, blog, or books if you’re smart about it.
There are numerous benefits to starting an account aside from an increase in sales or traffic to your website. For instance, you can network with people from across the globe, learning new things and gaining inspiration for your next book.
Social media also allows you to build a following. This is vital to anyone looking to publish traditionally. Most publishers will google you to find your social media platforms and website to see if you have an audience willing to buy your book.
Social media is another avenue for you to get the word out about your new book, short story, or poem.
But the most important thing about social media is that it allows you to interact with your fans and followers. It opens a communication line directly to you, which enables you to build lasting relationships with your tribe. Once a connection is forged, you then have a following that you can repeatedly sell your books to, which makes you and any publisher happy.
Picking the Right Social Media Platform
There are so many platforms out there that you can use. Trying to choose only a handful of platforms can leave an author paralyzed if they are just venturing into the world of social media.
Thankfully, there is a trick around this. According to the Writer’s Cookbook, particular platforms work best for different types of writers. I put all of that information into this infographic:
But don’t feel limited to picking the ones set in your area of writing. You can try other platforms as well to see which ones work best for you.
My biggest tip is to try a few platforms and then go with your top two to three favorites. I focus my attention on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I also have a Goodreads, Pinterest, and Snapchat account, but I don’t use them for marketing this blog.
Of the three that I do use for marketing, I mostly use Instagram and Facebook. They’re easy for me to use because I’m most familiar with them. I also enjoy the content published on both of these sites, making it easy for me to be active on those accounts.
If you don’t maintain the account, you won’t grow your audience, which is the point. You want to build an audience and relationships with the members of your adoring public. If you don’t do either thing, then you won’t sell many books.
Got it? Good. Let’s move onto how to use social media to your advantage.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Accounts
There are many ways to optimize your social media for success, from your workflow to your community outreach methods. But the most important thing you need to decide is whether you want to pay for traffic or work to get it.
Paid vs. Unpaid
First and foremost, you need to understand that there are two types of traffic that you can target: paid and unpaid. When social media first started, you could post, people would see it, and you’d gain followers. Simple, right?
Then some enterprising business person started paying someone else to get traffic to their site, which paved the way for the pay-to-play model that everything seems to operate under.
The good news is that you don’t have to pay the gods that be for traffic to your account. However, gaining organic traffic is more challenging to do than just paying for it. It will take a lot more work and effort to see the results you want.
On the flip side, paying for ads can be scary. Especially when you’re not making a lot of money yet, or you’re not sure what you’re doing. If you decide to go down this route, you may want to sign up for a course, create a strict budget, or hire someone to help you.
Tips for a Winning Strategy
There are some things that you should and should not do when it comes to social media. Most of these things are self-explanatory, and some will help you streamline your work:
Engage with your followers.
I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s good to repeat. Answer your comments and messages. It’s a chance for you to network and build friendships. Why would you turn that away?
Additionally, this is a brilliant chance for you to do some market research into what your ideal reader wants. All you need to do is ask questions and talk to your followers. It’s so simple for you to do.
If you don’t know how to start a conversation with your followers, try asking a question or playing a game with them. You’ll have to try a few things out before people start responding, but it’s worth the effort once they finally do.
Use automation tools.
Save yourself a lot of time and effort by using an automation tool. That way, you can create the content, schedule it, and post it to multiple channels simultaneously.
Seriously, get an account with any of these guys. It will save you time and effort in the long run.
*If you sign up for an account, we each get extra posts to use per month at no extra cost to you.
Track and measure everything.
I won’t go into too much detail here because I already covered this in my post on content audits. However, I want to say that keeping track of how you’re doing let’s you know what’s working and what’s not. That way, you can switch up your strategy and get the results you want.
You don’t have to use a fancy program or expensive service to do this because most social media platforms have built-in analytics platforms. And if you need to see more information than what your social media insights can give you, move over to Google Analytics. It’s free to use platform that gives you more data than you’ll ever need.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
David Chesson has an excellent point for why you shouldn’t be on every social media platform in the known universe:
I know everyone tries to be everywhere, but let’s face it, we don’t have time for that. We’ve got to write a book, publish, and market. Can we seriously do a great job managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms?
Being everywhere all time and every moment of the day will burn you out and is ultimately ineffective. No matter how many automation tools and templates you use to expedite the creation process.
It’s okay to start small and add platforms as you grow, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend being on more than three social media platforms at any given time.
I have three platforms that I use, but I only really focus on one. Once I have that going, I will focus on optimizing another. But I don’t think I will ever expand to more platforms. I don’t have the time or energy to do so when I have so many more important things to work on, like writing.
This applies to how much you post.
Posting multiple times a day is also exhausting, especially if you are on numerous platforms. However, there are specific social media platforms that welcome multiple posts a day, such as Twitter.
Twitter thrives off of people actively using the platform to share ideas, content, and sales pitches. So feel free to jump in on the conversations happening there. You also have platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where posting once a day or twice a day is good, but anything more than that can get annoying.
Additionally, you do not need to post every day, no matter how many people tell you otherwise. As long as you create value, you’ll be fine. I only post on Facebook and Instagram four times a week, and even that is too much for me to handle at times.
The below is a suggestion, not a rule:
Social Media Resources
There is a lot of noise out there regarding social media marketing, and you will have to play around with different strategies and platforms until you find something that works for you.
With that in mind, I wanted to leave you with a list of resources for you to check out:
- Vanness Lau has made a killing on Instagram and is killing it over on YouTube. She posts videos twice a week on her YouTube channel about how to market yourself on both platforms. She’s a must watch on this list because her advice works. I know this because I am applying it to my literary magazine’s social media accounts.
- David Chesson has compiled all of the most popular social media platforms in one post and tells you their benefits and drawbacks. He also has some resources for how to get the most out of that platform.
- IngramSpark has a great guide on how to promote your book via social media.
- Robyn Roste has an article on crafting a winning social media content strategy that you should look over.
And the best thing you can do to get the latest and greatest about social media strategies is to follow marketers, bloggers, and influencers on, you guessed it, social media!
That’s it on how to get the most out of your social media accounts. It will take a lot of trial and error to find your sweet spot. But once you do, it’ll make your engagement metrics and sales figures soar.
Remember to not spread yourself too thin by committing yourself to multiple social media channels at once or a posting schedule you can’t keep up with. So don’t be afraid of using automation tools to help you post in multiple places simultaneously.
I know the extra effort can seem like a waste of your time, but if you don’t use social media, you’ll be doing more harm than good to your writing career.
What social media platforms do you use? Do you like one more than the other? What have you done that has helped obtain followers or sales? Please leave a comment below!
Stay safe, everyone.
Until next time.