How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Book

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Almost 2.4 BILLION people worldwide, and upwards of 77% of the United States, uses social media every day. That’s a lot of people you could reach if you use social media to promote your book.

I’ve been studying digital marketing for over five years, and I’ve never met a platform that changes faster than social media. It’s not enough to post something and hope it works. You have to have people see it.

Here’s how I’ve learned to do that.

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Book:

Sometimes thinking about social media gives me a headache. It feels like I have to be EVERYWHERE, on all the platforms, and posting daily. Seriously. Who has time for that?

Fortunately for all of us, that’s not true. In fact, it’s better to focus on only one or two platforms that you choose to be active on.

How do you choose a social media platform?

The short answer is to go where your readers are, in order to use social media to promote your book. But when Facebook has over 2 billion people on its own, it can be hard to specify exactly which platform that is.

So I’ve created a social media platform breakdown for you. It will help you know what kind of engagement is required in order to be successful.

Social media post ideas for authors

1. Facebook

It’s best to start with the biggest, most well-known platform out there: Facebook.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. And the reality is, you CANNOT be successful on Facebook without paying for traffic. Especially in the beginning.

This means that yes, you can create a page, post daily, and share funny things with your fans. But if your engagement sucks, you won’t get any organic reach, except maybe like 9 views per post. So be sure that EVERYTHING you post is engaging!

However, if that sounds like too much for you, Facebook is an AMAZING tool for targeted advertising when you’re ready to promote your book. And you can tie those ads to Instagram, as well. 😄

2. Instagram

Since we mentioned it, the second platform you can use is Instagram.

This is a SUPER fun social site for images. If you love taking photos, and sharing events visually, this may be a good platform for you to engage with readers.

However, if you’re wanting to bring people to your website or link to your books, you can only do that on your profile. Otherwise, descriptions are reserved for your thoughts and hashtags.

3. Twitter

Like Facebook, this is one of the oldest social media platforms. It’s great for quick thoughts you have throughout the day. And there are twitter pitch parties throughout the year, where you can have your story ideas seen by industry professionals.

However, the life of a tweet is on average 18 minutes. That’s not good if you post something at 7AM that you wanted everyone who follows you to see. But it does give you options to post often throughout the day and have different people see it at different times.

I will offer you a word of caution on schedulers, if you think you can outsource this platform: Although, it’s easy to schedule it and forget it, Twitter can blacklist you as a bot and make it harder for your tweets to be seen. Meaning if you tag someone in a tweet who doesn’t follow you, they will not see it because Twitter thinks you might be spam.

So if you’re serious about this platform, be sure that you’re active IN it. Rather than relying on a scheduler.

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5. Pinterest

This is my favorite platform to use for website views and to sell products because it works like a search engine. Meaning you can create a pin, optimize it for search results, and get traffic to your website or book page every day.

However, like all social platforms, Pinterest also requires you to be an active user on their site. Meaning, you need to be online pinning every day.

I used to do this for HOURS! Because it helps increase my monthly views. But it’s such a hard thing to keep up long term and get anything else done. So I’ve mixed my pins with a scheduler.

6. YouTube

Video is being touted as the best way to connect with people online because it creates a more personal connection. People actually see you and get to know your personality through video.

You may think this is something you can forgo as an author–which may be true–however, John Green helped build his empire with videos. If you can create things, tell funny stories, or provide a talent worth watching, I would encourage you to check out this platform.

7. All the Others: Snapchat, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.

There are SO MANY more social media platforms out there, and it feels like a new one pops up every 6 months. However, you DON’T have to be on them all.

If you have a business book, maybe LinkedIn is good for you. Or if you have a younger market and like short images/videos that disappear, you can get a Snapchat channel. Or whatever other place that may be a good way to reach your readers.

Remember, you want to go where the readers are, in order to use social media to promote your book.

If you’re writing for MG/YA and think you can create a fun, age-appropriate channel that they will love, then try out Snapchat. If you write picture books for schools and parents, it may be better to focus on Facebook. Do what’s best for YOU and your book.

Social media post ideas for authors

What should you post?

Now that you know where to go, you need to know what to do. The goal of any social media platform is to engage with its users. This means you need to post things that will encourage people to like and share it with others. That way more people will be able to see what you posted.

Some fun post ideas that tend to get shares:

  • The post telling everyone you signed with a publisher
  • A cover reveal once you can show people the art
  • Funny GIFs, memes, or quotes that connect back to your book or personality
  • Events where you’re speaking at
  • A short video to showcase that you speak at schools, etc.

There are so many fun things you can do to show your fans who you are. Including, a day in your life. (Get post ideas here) People love to know what it’s like to be an author so be sure to show them what that is. The number one rule is to be authentic!

What can you do before you’re published?

Even if you haven’t received a publishing offer, you can still be building your fan base. Especially with posts about what your day looks like or funny things to let people know you’re writing a book.

But a really big thing to do on social media before you’re published is to follow industry professionals. This includes publishing houses, agents you like, and big-name authors. I also like the hashtag #writingcommunity to connect with other authors.

This is a great way to stay connected in the world of publishing and to learn about any submission or contest opportunities.

How do you target specific readers with social media?

One of the best ways to use social media to promote your book is with paid advertisements. Especially through Facebook advertising.

You can literally say what demographics and interests you’re hoping to target with your book and use those to reach the people that will be most likely to want to buy. It’s amazing how targeted these are.

I know that investing money seems like it would be hard to justify, but remember this is your book that you slaved over and you want to be paid for your work. Even if you received a large advance check, you need to sell a decent amount of books to keep publishers coming back to sell additional books you’ve written.

To make sure you aren’t wasting money, be sure to know who your readers are and what they’re interested in. (For many of us, that means parents.)

Social media is a great tool to help you promote and sell more books. When you use it right, post engaging content, and are focusing on the reader, you can build a loyal tribe. Which means you should respond to all comments, and work hard to connect to those who support you.

Be sure to focus on only 1 or 2 platforms, post authentic content to your brand and writing personality, and to follow industry professionals to stay abreast to the world of publishing.

PS. Download the social media post ideas here!

Download the free children's book template

Other articles to help you promote your book:

Use Social Media to Promote Your Book Today!

How to get started writing a children's book free webinar

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