Since writing a book can involve long hours of solo writing time, some authors have already begun participating in social media and author forums, if not to market themselves and their books, purely to have a social connection to the world. But for many authors, the journey into social media doesn't exist until they start to explore the world of self-publishing.
When you self-publish, there is no one else to help you market and promote your book. No agents, editors, graphic illustrators, marketing departments or publicists to introduce your book to the world, it's just you. Social media can play a key role in helping you promote your book and drive interested readers - potential purchasers of your book - to your seller, or re-sellers sites. Not every social platform is going to work for every author and every audience, so what social media network should you start on?
The answer depends on the audience you wrote your book for. You have to know where it is they like to hang out. For the purpose of this article, I wil focus on the 5 main social media sites - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest - and the types of audiences you will find on each.
Facebook is the social media platform that you will find people you know on. Friends, family, school mates, co-workers, etc. Because they know you, and want you to succeed, they will often "Like, Share, or Comment" on your posts, which means your posts reach their audiences too. However, before you decide to market your book to your friends on Facebook, take a look at what they are posting. I'm a mom of 3 daughters, and on facebook, I'm connected with a lot of family and friends who are also moms and dads. If I had written a children's book, or a family recipe book - Facebook might be a great place for me to start interacting.
If you spend a few minutes looking over your Twitter feed, you will notice that Twitter is a place where people post in short bursts things they are experiencing or just experienced in a moment. They are posting how they feel, something that moved them like a quote, movie or inspirational story, or how they perceive something they are taking part in like a concert or a conference. If you are providing your followers experiences that they can post about, than by all means, tweet away! Some types of tweets for authors to consider:
- First start out by re-tweeting others posts
- if you have a blog, you can tweet your blog posts
- Got a video book trailer? I've managed to watch quite a few good ones that were recommended on Twitter
- Print/Video/Audio recording of a book review or author interview
- Speaking event - use hashtags to find followers who are there that you can engage with
LinkedIn is a site for connecting to other professionals. It's like a giant online networking group. I think the most successful self-publishers on LinkedIn are the authors whose book audiences are business people. That being said, I've seen authors share all types of genres on LinkedIn.
Google+ is fast becoming one of my favorite social media sites because it's a the place where you can truly connect with people you don't yet know, but who share your passions. It's easy to get started and add people to your circles, and connect with like minded communities. If you were promoting a book you put together with photographs you took while on a cross-country trip on your Harley, it would be easy for you to connect with travel, photography, motorcycle, Harley Davidson and other related communities.
Pinterest is a social media site for pinning photos into shareable collections that are mainly used to inspire others. It is dominated by women. If you have images in your book that are compelling and inspirational, why not pin them and see if they drive traffic to your seller or re-seller sites, especially if your target audience is women.
The bottom line is, you have to start marketing using social media as soon as you think you are going to need to market. The key to social media is participation:
- Set-up an account to include a good avatar (should be your face, so people get to know you) and fill out your entire profile.
- Choose a platform or two (don't over do it or you are sure to fail), jump on and start participating in the discussions there.
- Like, share, comment, 1+ and re-tweet other peoples posts.
- Find stories and articles that are related to your topic and post them.
- Engage your followers BEFORE you market anything to them
- Add Photos and Videos - they are the most liked, shared, commented on, retweeted and 1+'d.
And lastly, if you are marketing using videos - video book trailers, video interviews, testimonials, chapter readings, book signing/speaking event highlights video (red carpet event videos), etc. - don't forget about YouTube. It's not only a social media site, it's the worlds second largest search engine. People are looking for you and your book there, and posting videos on YouTube can drive traffic to your seller/re-seller pages like crazy!
Are you self-promoting a book? Share with us which social media site performs the best for you and yields the highest return on investment.
image: book promotion/shutterstock