In our recent post on social media influencers, we discussed how beneficial a strong social media platform can be for the overall success of your book. But what makes a great social media platform? Where do you begin? What are best practices for posting about your book and engaging with your followers? We’ve outlined our 5 steps for building and maintaining a strong social media presence for your book below.
1. Decide what your marketing and branding goals are.
Branding is essential to making your book stand out in a saturated book market. The Branding Journal defines branding as “the process of giving a meaning to specific organization, company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds”.
Before diving into social media marketing, decide what your branding goals are. Do you have future books in the pipeline and want to brand yourself as an author? Or do you want the social media account to be branded around the book itself? Whatever your brand may be, fully commit to this brand and work to make it cohesive and recognizable to your audience.
While some of our #mascotauthors like Lori Orlinsky and Lauren Mosback successfully brand themselves as authors, others like Miranda Mittleman of the PAWS and THINK series and Nadine Haruni of the Freeda the Frog series successfully brand their book series.
Another factor to consider when posting about your book on social media is whether you want to create a new profile specifically for book marketing, or if you want to post book content on your personal social media pages. Both of these options have their pros and cons.
While posting to your personal social media pages guarantees a built-in audience, you may not want to bombard your existing followers with book content. Additionally, mixing your personal content with book or author content may dilute your brand.
Creating and posting from a new social media page dedicated to your book will guarantee a more cohesive book or author brand. However, you will need to build the audience for this account from scratch.
If you do decide to create new social media profiles specifically for book marketing, there are a few steps you can take to build an audience:
- Invite your current social media friends to like your Facebook page or use the Discover People feature on your new Instagram page to find accounts to follow.
- Follow and interact with other Mascot authors! Joining the Mascot authors social media community is a great way to network and gain more followers in the book industry. Start by following the accounts that interact with Mascot Book’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and look at accounts that tag Mascot Books in photos on Instagram. Additionally, search for the #mascotbooks and #mascotauthor hashtags to find more author posts!
- Use industry-specific hashtags in your posts to reach a larger audience! By using strategic and relevant hashtags in your posts, you can reach other accounts that may not be already following you. For example, if you have published a children’s book about bullying, the hashtags #childrensbooks and #stopbullying may give your post some more traction. Do be wary about the amount of hashtags you use–too many can make your post look cluttered and busy.
Once you have decided on your branding goals and are proactively growing your audience, it is time to curate your social media content and establish your voice.
Before posting your content, ask yourself the following question: Why will my followers care about what I am about to post?
Empathizing with your audience is a great way to ensure that your posts are keeping readers engaged and interested. Although it is sometimes necessary to show off a little (posting event photos, sharing a great review you received, etc.), keeping your audience in mind when you post is essential to maintaining their attention. You want to post content that keeps readers informed, but more importantly, content that satisfies their needs and goals.
Social media should be a conversation between you and your followers, rather than a one-sided broadcast. Initiate contact with your audience and listen to their opinions. By doing so, you not only will learn to curate better content, but you will also build a relationship of trust with these followers. This relationship is important to establishing a strong social media presence and a distinctive brand.
You will also want to establish a voice in your posts. Are you excited, upbeat, and casual? Or are you knowledgeable, polite, and matter-of-fact? Developing a voice for your book or author profile will strengthen your brand in the long run.4. Create a social media calendar or tentative schedule.
While it is important to be spontaneous and be able to post on the fly, you will want to set a tentative posting schedule or posting goals for yourself to keep yourself organized.
When it comes to the question of how frequently you post, quality is better than quantity. You want to keep your followers engaged and up-to-date on important information— teaser content, where the book can be purchased, upcoming book signing events or media appearances—but you do not want to over-saturate your followers with the same content over and over. Which brings us to our next point…
5. Be creative!
In addition to posting quality content over a high quantity of content, think outside of the box! Here are our suggestions for some creative content you can incorporate into your posts:
- Get outside and take some scenic photos of the book!
- Listen to your followers, and post content that they want to see. For example, if you seem to receive more feedback and engagements with your posts about school readings, post more content about school readings.
- Share followers’ photos or posts. If a follower has sent you a photo of them with your book, don’t be afraid to share that photo (with their permission, of course)! This not only strengthens your relationship with that follower, but it shows your audience that you care about your followers, and that your book is getting some traction.
- Set up a book giveaway! This is a great way to get your followers engaged and it allows you to reach a larger audience.
Our final thoughts:
Social media is a great tool for marketing and branding your book—but it is not the silver bullet for achieving book sales. It should be used in conjunction with retail pitching for events and in-store placement, editorial coverage, and outreach to book reviewers and bloggers.
For more author tips like these, visit our blog archive! Have questions? Leave a comment below.