Social Media for Authors: What to Use and How

Using social media as an author is a bit different than using it on a personal level. For authors, it’s a powerful marketing tool that needs to be utilized correctly in order to be effective.

A bad social media presence may not harm your reach and sales, but a good social media presence will definitely help it!

In this post, we’re building on what we discussed last week in our Author Branding post and turning to how to build your social media presence and use it to your advantage!

Social Media Platforms to Explore

There’s a lot of options out there for social media platforms, and it can be overwhelming. Let’s go through the best ones to use as an author. I’ll tell you a bit about how they work, and how they can boost your sales and brand awareness.

Instagram – Primarily a photo sharing app, IG is one of the two big go-to platforms for author marketing. Bookstagram is a huge niche of readers and there are plenty of potential readers here…if you can reach them!

Facebook – Facebook is Facebook, it does a little bit of everything and nothing all at the same time. While you may be used to using Facebook for your personal life, using it as an author is a bit different, as you’ll be utilizing the “Business” page and Groups features. This allows you to 1) reach your readers and 2) once you have them, interact with them in an exclusive, close-knit way.

TikTok – The newest, and probably most underutilized and intimidating, social media platform for authors. TikTok is a short video sharing app that focuses on trends and is very fast paced. It’s harder to get a foothold in, but if you can post consistently and on trend, it is a huge marketing tool that will get you tons of readers.

Pinterest – This one isn’t social media in the traditional sense, but is definitely a platform that authors can neglect and miss out on valuable readers if they don’t use. Post quotes, aesthetic images of your book, character boards. Make boards for your book and pin images that remind you of your characters or scenes.

Twitter – Twitter is a bit of a different beast when it comes to author promotion, but it’s a good place to share news, short quotes, and stay up to date on industry happenings. It may be slightly more difficult to reach readers on Twitter, but it’s not impossible.

Learn to use social media to build your author brand and increase your presence!

Branding Your Accounts

Be consistent with the brand guidelines you developed using our last post! These social media accounts are simply an extension of you, and thus should be an extension of your brand as well.

Make sure your brand elements are clearly reflected in your accounts. These can include:

  1. Username – You want your username to be the same, or as close as they can be, across all of your platforms. This creates brand recognition. If you can, include “author” or “writes” in your username to provide clarity to those just scrolling through.

  2. Profile picture – If you don’t want to share your face, use your logo as your profile picture! This clearly communicates the brand elements that are important to you. If you are comfortable showing your face, set your profile picture to a nice headshot or branded selfie that is high quality and fits the messages you are trying to convey. (If you write dark romance, maybe your profile picture shouldn’t be you in a funny hat)

  3. Bio – Nearly every social media platform has a space for you to type up some sort of bio about yourself. Use this space! Communicate who you are, what you can offer people, and the benefit they will receive from it. If possible, also include a link in your bio to your author website (we’ll talk about that more next week)

  4. Types of content – Your content should match the message you’re trying to convey to people, and it should match the brand you’re trying to build. As an author, that means your content should focus on your books. I get it, your pets are cute, but that’s not why you want people to follow you. You want your ideal reader to see your page, resonate with your content, and ultimately, buy your book. So make it easy for them to see what you have to offer.

Each platform will ultimately have other nuances that you can apply branding to. For instance, with Pinterest, you have a lot more visual considerations you have to put thought into to make your boards fit your brand and match the message you’re trying to send. On the other hand, apps like TikTok are a bit more personal and leave room for creativity and less rigidity.

If you need some inspiration, check out some of your favorite authors and see how they’ve branded their pages. My personal recommendations are to check out L.L. Campbell, Scarlett St. Clair, and Tate James. They all have a very well defined brand that they stick to on their Instagram.

Building Your Presence

Now that you’ve got your accounts set up, your profiles are branded, you’re ready to go! Start posting content, and don’t be afraid to mess up and delete things and try again! Here are a few key points that will help with building your online presence:

  1. Be consistent. Every single one of these platforms I shared earlier has an algorithm used to show content to users. And every single on of these platforms reward consistency. That means different things for different platforms. For example, TikTok seems to reward those that post multiple times a day, every single day. While Instagram favors those who post once daily or every other day. Pinterest trends towards 3-5 times a week, and Facebook simply rewards lots of activity with no rhyme or reason that can be found.

  2. Put yourself out there and let people get to know you. If they’re personally invested in you, they’ll be personally invested in your success. On every single platform, with the exception of Pinterest, people want to see you and get to know you as a person. This doesn’t mean you have to show your face though. Showing your hands flipping through pages, or holding a book over your face works too. People want to know there is a real human behind the account.

  3. Engage with your followers. Every day, no matter what platform you’re on, you should be engaging with people. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. It’s not like creating content. Engaging can simply be liking posts, adding a comment, or replying to messages you get. Showing up is what matters to people and again, if they know there’s a real person behind the account and that you value their engagement on your posts, it will show.

  4. Look for new places to promote yourself and your book, but be genuine. Social media is constantly growing and expanding and there are always new people joining platforms that have potential to be readers. Seek them out, but when you interact, be genuine! No one likes pushy spam promo. If you’re in Facebook groups for your favorite genres (and I do recommend joining some) and see someone asking for recs and your book just fits perfectly, recommend it! If you see someone posting about a book and you know that if they liked that book, they’ll probably enjoy yours, recommend it!

Looking for more help with social media marketing? Lexi offers social media help for authors. She’s a Creative Director in her day job, but if you need any other credentials, just go look at her IG. Seriously, that’s all it’ll take. Check out her website here.

I hope this post helped! Stay tuned as we continue going through self-publishing lessons learned! Next week, we’ll cover all about author websites!

#authorresources #branding #socialmedia