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How to Promote a Book on Social Media: 10 Tips for Indie Authors

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Social media writer’s block. It’s a thing! You have no problem hammering away at an 80,000 word novel, but when it comes to a 280 character tweet? Forget about it! You end up posting about what you had for dinner or what you did during the day, and nobody seems to be listening... or following. If that sounds like you, then these 10 social media marketing tips are just what you need.

If social media content doesn’t come naturally to you, you aren’t alone. As a writer, you spend a majority of your working time away from other people. When you finish your book, it can be difficult to switch into social mode.

The first thing you should think about is this: you probably didn’t just finish your book without setting author goals. You should apply this principle of having goals to your social media marketing as well. 

Below are 10 tips you can use in your social media marketing strategy. Don’t let the number scare you—these are quick goals and require a daily time investment of no more than 10 to 20 minutes. Let's get started!

Take IngramSpark's FREE Social Media Marketing for Self-Publishers Online Course

1. Ask Yourself: Who Are You Writing For?

Before you think too hard about what you’ll say, consider who you’ll say it to. You don’t start any social network with followers, after all. So where do you find your target audience?

Start by following people you actually want to follow. Don’t follow 5,000 people just so they’ll maybe follow you back. Follow people you genuinely want to interact with—and people who would actually interact with you. 

Once you're following them, show you have interest in what they’re saying by responding to their tweets and engaging in conversations. Never forget, social media marketing is a two-way street. When you understand who you are writing for, your social media presence will start to grow organically.

2. Find a Consistent Voice

You’re a writer, so you probably know all about your writing voice. That voice should carry over to social media as well. Don’t post uninspired tweets—show that you really enjoy doing this and you aren’t doing it because someone is twisting your arm.

3. Create a Social Calendar

Your social media shouldn’t be random—”I’ll post when I feel like it or when something pops in my head”. It should be strategic. There will be moments where you’ll add something in the moment, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At the very least, you should be scheduling one social media post a day on Twitter, and two posts a week on Instagram and Facebook.

When you’re creating a schedule, it helps to be thematic. Mondays are for tweeting quotes, Tuesdays are for posting reviews, etc. Knowing the type of post you will publish on any given day will help you avoid having social media writer's block.

4. Be Topical

Scheduling your posts will help you manage your social media and ensure you are keeping up with your goals; but at least once a week, prove you're human by posting something topical. It could be as simple as a photo on Instagram of something you’re doing, or a question to spark conversation.

5. Make Recommendations

Your readers should start seeing you as an authority figure in your genre, and you should start seeing yourself as one too. Once a week, start recommending things that your readers would enjoy. Think outside the box by not just recommending books! Recommend movies, websites, conferences—anything your audience would be into.

6. Create Shareable Content

One of the ways more people will discover you is by having others share your content. At least once a week, you should have a post or tweet that is unique and shareable. Recommendations is one place to start, but there are plenty of others—a controversial or funny statement that speaks to people, a photo that tells a story, an infographic, etc.

7. Be Social

It’s easy forget the most important word in social media: social! Talk to people. Every day you should spend at least 5 to 10 minutes reading and commenting on social media. Be personal and genuine. 

8. Share Others' Content

The great thing about your daily social media goals is you don’t have to be 100% original—and you shouldn’t be! You should spend a few minutes each day retweeting or sharing things you find interesting, and you think your readers would enjoy. For example, if you write mysteries, then maybe it’s a funny quote from a mystery author, or a fascinating article about an unsolved mystery.

9. Post Different Content on Different Platforms

There are a lot of ways to be lazy with your social media marketing. One way: posting the same content on Twitter and Facebook. Is that so bad? In a word: Yes! Your message on each network should change—people who regularly use Twitter are a different audience from people who use Facebook, so your message needs to be altered. Make sure you understand the social media channel before posting.

People tend to spend less time on Twitter than Facebook, but that doesn’t mean Facebook is more important. Twitter tends to be about what’s going on in the day—it’s very casual. You may talk about what you’re writing or getting ready for. Your fans tend to see you in a much more personal and intimate way. 

10. Hashtag It!

Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to get followers quick, if you use them right. A hashtag is something that starts with a # sign. When a person clicks on the word after it, they see other people talking about that topic. So, for example, if you are talking about politics you might end your tweet with #politics.

Here’s a few things to remember about hashtags:

  • First: don’t hashtag everything. Use them when they seem relevant, but every post doesn’t need nor should have a hashtag.
  • Second: don’t be generic; posting a tweet about how happy you are about something with #excited will not find you any followers.
  • Third: use hashtags relevant to your followers—if you are at a writers' conference, for example, and there’s a hashtag for that conference, use it. This will connect you with other people at that same conference.
  • Last: think of hashtags that build into your brand—unique hashtags that only you use. So, for example, you might have a hashtag for the book you are working on, and whenever a reader clicks on it, they can see all the tweets about that particular book; or you may ask readers and influencers to use a certain hashtag whenever they talk about your book.

You don’t grow your social network overnight; you don’t grow it over a few weeks. It’s a long process. It’s something you should be working on as you write your book—not as you prepare to release it. Be persistent, and don’t give up when it’s not growing as fast as you want it to.

Social media can be an intimidating task at first, but once you implement goals and get started, it will be a breeze.


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Scott La Counte

Scott La Counte is the CEO of BuzzTrace, which helps authors and publishers discover new readers and sell more books. He has over 15 years experience in publishing as both an author and publisher. Writing under the name Scott Douglas, he has had several bestselling books.