Getting started with something new is always the hardest part. I’m going to share tips with you on the very basics of social media that writers will need to start building a social media platform to sell their books. As with any new habit, working it into your schedule and making it a priority are important. Investing the time on your social media now will benefit you in the long run for your book sales.
Why do you need an author platform?
- Connect with readers
- Build an audience for your books
- Meet other writers and network
- Start building your email list
Authors need to build a social media platform but also balance the time that they need to write therefore making wise choices is essential for success.
Remember that writing is only part of your job as an author, you need to be able to market your book. Social media marketing is a great way to do it. I like to work smarter and not harder, I want to show you tips I’ve learned that will make it easier for you.
Tip 1: Be consistent
The first thing you need to think about is how you want the world to meet you. This is called your personal brand online. One important thing to remember is that you need to be consistent. I would recommend setting up everything with your name so people can find you. Consistent spelling and/or abbreviation are helpful for people wanting to learn more about you. Many authors are tempted to use the name of their book but what happens when you write book number two or three? Using your name helps everything get bundled together on Google or in other search engines.
Tip 2: You don’t need to be on all the social media sites
The next choice that you need to make is what social media sites you should go on. Each has different benefits and styles. I don’t recommend that you join all the different social media sites because you’ll immediately be overwhelmed. I would try one, learn it and then add another once you’re comfortable. They are all used in similar and yet different ways. Which you use and how you use them will be the challenge, we’ll cover more on individual platforms later in the series. I’ve included a few resources at the bottom if you’re curious. You’ll create your own cocktail of social media to make the mix that works best based on your style, where your audience is and what you have time to do.
Tip 3: Use the same photo on all the social media sites
Having a good profile photo or avatar is crucial. This is how people will see you each time they log on and they’ll be able to recognize you when they see it pop up in the Twitter stream or show up in a Google search. I recommend having a professional photo shoot for your photo and these could also be used for your author photo on your book as well as on your website.
Tip 4: Create a full profile on each site
Don’t set up camp and leave the default avatar without text. When you decide to sign up for a new network, allow yourself the time needed to properly add a bio and fill it out completely. Use a few keywords that summarize who you are such as novelist or business writer to put out crumbs across the web for search engines.
You’ll need to update these later as things change but starting out with a good foundation profile with a strong photo gets you started on the right foot.
How to Create a Fabulous Social Media Profile
Tip 5: Make a list of all the social media accounts that you open and write down all the user names and passwords
Trust me on this one, you’ll be glad that you did.
Tip 6: Be original
It seems silly to mention it but one thing to remember is that you want to present your best ideas and show your personality. While you might gain inspiration from someone else, being unique and original is one of the keys to social media. Don’t copy other people’s content whether it’s a Facebook post, photo, Google+ post, tweet or blog content, give proper credit for other people’s work. If you see something on Facebook that you like, share it from that person and mention them in your post. It helps build a relationship with the other person and it’s just the right thing to do.
Tip 7: Plan time each day for social media. Set a timer
You’ll need to spend time each day on your social media to post something new, comment on other’s posts and share things. Decide how much time you have to spend and set a timer. This will help you stay focused and not get drawn into clicking on too many things that can distract you from your work. Stay Focused is a Chrome Extension that you can restrict your web browsing activities. You can set a maximum time allowed per day or set a weekly schedule. This can definitely help you stay on track.
Tip 8: Be generous
One mistake to avoid is sharing only your own content. Many authors are so focused on their own book that this is all they talk about…constantly. Imagine that in real life at a party. It turns into a blah blah blah type of message and everyone tunes out. Honestly, no one is that interested in your book. Sorry, but it’s true. You’d even be exhausting your mom. Mix up your social media conversation with interesting facts, quotes, entertaining stories, and other people’s content. Don’t be the person that everyone hides from their Facebook timeline and mutes on Google+.
Be interesting and by that I mean don’t talk about yourself and your book all the time. 15% to 20% of your overall message can be your content, the rest should be other people’s content.
Your homework for the week: Goodreads
As an author, an important social media site that’s frequently overlooked is Goodreads but this should be at the top of your list. What Is GoodReads? From their website: “Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. We have more than 9,600,000 members who have added more than 340,000,000 books to their shelves. A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, GoodReads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more. Goodreads was launched in January 2007.” Goodreads has two sides to it, one for readers and one for authors. Set up a profile there and start to get the lay of the land. Add any books that you’ve written and for goodness sake, please don’t review your own book. I’ve seen it, it’s not pretty. Here’s my Goodreads profile. I’m currently set up as an individual and not as an author yet. When I get farther into my book, I’ll be adding an author profile as well.
Resource: 12 Most Good Things About GoodReads
See, that doesn’t sound so hard. Does it? If you missed the first article in this series, you can find How to Get People to Fall in Love with Your Book using Social Media here. Next week I’ll be discussing social media design and I’ll have an interview with an expert in the field of design and social media to share professional tips.