Many writers, including those who are on just one social media platform, either ignore opportunities for promotion, or make amateur mistakes in using it. Social media can be a very cost-effective and cheap way to promote your work.
While it helps to have an existing following on social media, it’s not required. You can quickly and easily set up new accounts, or even build old ones to be much better at promoting your work.
Unless you are writing books on the subject of politics, or writing crude comedy, keep accounts non-political, professional-looking, and polite. Have people who do not know you review any of your existing accounts you would like to use to promote your work. Ask them if they think book promo would be too incongruous to the other posts in that account, or get buried in any chatter. Also ask them if they think your profile does not look like that of a professional writer. (Get rid of those “drunk at a party” posts, and pictures of you showing off your abs.)
Your account and profile should reflect the image you would like to see from someone who is writing your books.
If necessary, create a second new account on a platform you are already on, to avoid offending or alienating potential sales, and to keep your public image professional.
Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too. Those are hot promotional platforms now, and you should be on multiple platforms. Decide what the demographics of your target readership is, and use the appropriate platforms. For example, young adults are very active on Instagram, adults prefer Facebook, LinkedIn is good for business professionals & writer’s groups, and Twitter is very popular for political discourse. You should not avoid a platform if its largest audience is not your target demographic (their audiences are not exclusively one demographic or another), but you should be aware of their demographics & consider how to use their strengths to your advantage.
Make an effort to post/tweet/retweet at least once every day or two, in order to build followers. (You don’t have to write an original post every day. You can retweet or share posts from other people. Just be sure to stick to subjects & share things that your target readership would enjoy.) The point is to keep your account active and in other people’s feed, as well as getting the attention of new followers.
Be sure to use a social media management app to monitor who is following/unfollowing you on any platform, but especially on Twitter.
Twitter’s analytics (computer-programmed mathematical formulas that control their platform) requires a balance between followers/following numbers. If your ratio is off by too much, you become unable to follow new people (this phenomenon is known as being in “Twitter Jail”).
Always unfollow accounts that have not followed you back in a long time, or who are only following you in order to build their own numbers. Monitor & check every day or two who has unfollowed you, so you can quickly identify and unfollow such accounts.
Twitter has “Follow Back” parties for some subjects, such as politics or SciFi fandom, connected via hashtags. Learn to use these to build followers quickly, BUT do not use them to gain followers dishonestly. (For example, don’t get followers in a political follow party if you are using your account solely to promote a romance novel.)
Some writer groups on social media (especially on Facebook) have certain days of the week assigned to allow you to self-promote for free. Check group rules, and join as many of those as possible.
Learn to use hashtags (such as #SciFi #Zombies #TeenMystery or #Supernatural ) in Twitter, Facebook, and especially Instagram. Try to relate your posts/tweets to trending/popular hashtags (like #50Shades #StarWars #TalkLikeAPirateDay #MeToo #adulting etc). People browse social media using hashtags, and using them increases your chances of having your posts seen, read, and shared.
Whenever possible, find a way to use an image or gif in your posts/tweets. These tend to get noticed better. It’s okay to use memes or clipart sometimes; don’t use only your book cover all the time.
Try to write/retweet posts that people will want to share. This also increases your visibility and publicity.
This all might seem like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it, this should all take just a few minutes of each day to promote your work, build an online presence, and build sales.
Just don’t get pulled in to spending valuable writing time, by hanging out on social media instead. It can be very addictive.😉
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