Selling books is hard work: whether you’re a self-published author, or have the power and resources of an established publishing house promoting your book, every author needs to understand the power of social media to sell books. Social media is free; but too many authors don’t understand the cost to designing and executing a social media campaign: time and thought.
A well-designed social media marketing strategy is key to gaining online visibility, building your fan base and increasing your book sales. Whether you’re a savvy social media pro or new to social networking and selling, following are strategic social media tips every author can use.
Social Media Marketing Tips for Authors
1. Create content for your readers, not for other authors
Many writers have blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts where they share information with other writers: not to their potential readers. Use your social media channels to build a following and relationships with your readers – both loyal and future readers.
You may have valuable information and expertise to share with other writers: but first use your limited time to connect online with your book’s target audience. Book lovers are active on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest all have reader groups and book clubs, and are a great source to discover new books and share their favorite authors.
- Be authentic: Create a social profile that shares your interests and viewpoint so that people know who you are and what you write about.
- Find and follow readers and other authors in your genre to build a community.
- Share information about books and authors you love to read – follow the 80/20 social media rule: 80% of your posts should share information of interest to your community; and only 20% of your posts should promote your book.
- Video and images are a great way to talk to your community and attract attention to your posts. More people view, Like and share posts with images: Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. ~ (HubSpot)
2. Get active on GoodReads
Connect with book clubs and avid readers by creating an author profile on the Goodreads Author Program. Share your book on Goodreads, and and provide valuable reader resources including:
- Book Discussion Guide
- Book Club themes such as menus and decor
- Free books, excerpts and other giveaways
3. Budget for paid advertising on social media
Certain book genres have done very well with paid Facebook ads: budget for book release promotion and sales ads through your Facebook page. Even with a budget of $1/day a Facebook ad can increase your visibility and book sales. Facebook offers help on building your first ad campaign, and social media specialists such as Mari Smith offer resources and information to create Facebook ads.
I found this video by Mark Dawson very useful:
4. Cross-promote with other authors
Other authors in your genre can be your biggest fans and promoters. Build on-line relationships with other authors, and use your social media channels to promote each other’s books. There are many Facebook groups for authors, communities on Google +, websites, and online networks for authors.
5. Find your social media niche
No one has the time to be on all social media channels, and all social media channels aren’t good for every author! Research your book demographics, and find and use the social media networks your target readers are on.
6. Create a #HashTag campaign
Hashtags (words with a # in front that send a specific message to your audience and are searchable) are an effective tool for authors to share information with your audience. You can make a unique hashtag for your book or book launch campaign; or for a subject or character in your book.
Not sure if a # campaign is a smart social media strategy for authors? Just Google:
7. Learn about social media
Whether you’re a 1st-time or well-published author; whether you’re self-published or signed to a major publisher, authors need to harness the power of social media to sell more books. There are many social media experts, writers, trainers, managers, and strategists who share valuable advice for authors using social media.
Many authors hire social media managers to design or manage their social media campaign. If you’re going to manage your own campaign, I highly recommend your read The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. They have one chapter devoted to social media for authors.
Social media is a strategic and easy to use tool for building loyal fans and increasing book sales. Many authors rely on social media as their sole tool to find an audience and sell their book. But social media is not free: to be successful selling your book on social media, authors need to invest considerable time and thought into designing and executing their social media campaign.
You want to be known for a successful social media book launch: not for a