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How to Find New Readers on Social Media in 2024

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Authors today are living out the glory days for connectivity. Mere decades ago, readers were writing fan mail to authors’ agents, and authors in turn were responding with handwritten letters expressing their appreciation for reading their books.

Today, social media has erased the need for snail mail—and become a powerful marketing platform for authors in its own right. But the truth is that social media in 2024 is a different beast than it was, even a few years ago. With a gazillion platforms fighting for your attention and limited time on your hands, how can you harness social media as a marketing tool to find new readers once you’ve self-published your book?

Read on for four tips on how to do exactly that.

1. Find the social media platform on which you feel most comfortable. 

Here’s the thing about social media: everyone will tell you that you have to do it. "To succeed as an author, you need to get in front of as many readers as possible,” they might say. This implies the only way forward is to get on every single social media platform you can think of.

But in 2024, when there are so many platforms competing for your attention, and communication is more decentralized than ever, it’s arguably less about going “where your readers are” and more about finding the social medium that you feel the most comfortable using.

Think of it this way: TikTok is indisputably one of the hottest social media platforms right now, with the viral ability to turn a book into a bestseller in the blink of an eye. However, would every author be comfortable doing trendy video memes to engage with their audience? Probably not. More pertinently, people can instantly tell when you’re not producing genuine, enthused content. If you’re only posting half-hearted promotions on social media, your engagement will never rise, and whatever effort you are putting in it will be worthless.

That’s why it’s most crucial to your marketing efforts to instead take some time to figure out which social media platform you feel most yourself on—and then leverage it to the best of your ability. Just as with your preferred writing environment or writing apps, you have to match with the social media medium that feels right to you.

Here’s a quick summary of the most popular options out there to give you a head start:

  • TikTok: Obviously known for shorter videos, and home of the famous #booktok community. Romance books are perennial hits here, though books in other genres like literary fiction, thriller, and mystery have also taken off thanks to BookTok.
  • Instagram: A curated visual experience from top to bottom, with a community that caters more to aesthetics. If you do create video content, make sure you’re cross-posting to Reels as well as TikTok, and tagging appropriately.
  • LinkedIn: A social media platform for professionals. Nonfiction or technical authors might find their following here.
  • X: Once a thriving community for readers and authors alike, the crowd has dispersed significantly since the Elon Musk takeover (with many readers fleeing to Bluesky, Mastodon, or Threads). However, it may still be useful for research—or if you can manage to squeeze into any of its still-persisting readerly niches.

2. Track conversations that mention your book. 

All that said, if you only spend time on one or two social platforms, there’s a chance you might miss some of the talk on other mediums. You might even get a bit of FOMO thinking about what readers are saying about your book elsewhere.

But don’t worry: in 2024, you can always count on technology in some shape or form coming to the rescue. In this case, an app like Mention.net is what you’re looking for.

Mention does exactly what it says on the tin: it monitors the web for you, and captures all the times that your brand is “mentioned” anywhere on the Internet. All you need to do is set up keyword searches for whatever you’d like to track—whether it’s your name, your book titles, or something else. Mention does the rest of the work for you, providing a helpful summary at the end of each day that includes where and when your selected keywords were “mentioned.”

You can then use these mentions as intel to decide whether to try out another platform; whether to adjust something in your marketing strategy, or even your writing, based on what readers are saying; or even whether to join the conversation and engage with readers yourself.

And that’s it! This simple action will make it so much easier to locate readers who are talking about your book, and go directly to them (if you wish).

3. Use social media to promote giveaways.

What do readers like more than a book? A free book. Or really, a free anything

That’s the concept behind a social media giveaway. In exchange for downloading the freebie you’re offering, readers will happily hand over their email addresses to you. There’s no risk to them in trying out your book for the first time (it’s free, after all!)... and if you play it right, you’ll make a fan out of the reader from the giveaway onward.

You can even power up your discoverability by doing a group giveaway. This idea is equally simple: you and your author friends band together to each offer a free book, which people can download in a group bundle all at once. The incentive is then multiplied and readers can get several books for free, just for putting down their email once! You also enjoy the benefits of cross-promotion, gaining access to another author’s readership. It’s a win-win across the board.

And how exactly are strangers expected to find out about your giveaway in the first place? That’s where social media comes in: your presence on Instagram or TikTok, at the end of the day, is the best way to spread the word. As for where you can make these friends in the first place for a group giveaway, the answer is (you guessed it) social media once again! Or you can always go the old-fashioned route, and join a writing group or a creative writing class to find your people — there are many ways to go about this, so do whatever feels right for you.

4. Don't forget the power of ads on social media.

Last but not least, don’t forget about ads, which offer another highly compelling form of discoverability: targeting new readers whom the algorithm has already determined are predisposed to like your book.

Incidentally, one of the most effective ads for authors is on the most popular social media platform out there: Facebook. If you’re a Gen Z or younger Millennial, you might not believe this stat, probably preferring Instagram or TikTok over Facebook—but regardless of whether you personally use it, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in the world, with around 3 billion monthly active users.

In any case, Facebook ads allow you to put your book directly in front of your target readers—as long as you pay for it. These ads work best for free or low-priced ebooks, and they’re known to be great at getting you a lot of clicks for a relatively low cost.

Of course, there’s a flip side: while the click from Facebook to your book page might be cheap, the sale itself is expensive and trickier to attain. The reason for that is because Facebook isn’t a platform that’s focused on books. People browsing Facebook aren’t actively looking to buy books — they’re more likely to be thinking about such-and-such friend’s wedding photos than which book they’d like to read next.

If you’re looking for an advertising platform specifically dedicated to readers, consider Bookbub as well. You may have heard about them through their powerful book promotion service, but they also have effective advertising services that require their own skill set to master.

Whether you’re a social media master or a total n00b (remember that one, elder millennials?), we hope these tips have given you some solid strategies to try—and that your followers (and readers) will soon be plentiful.

Savannah Cordova

Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with publishing resources and professionals. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction, writing short stories, and analyzing literary and publishing trends into the ground.