Last post we defined Author Platforms. So tell me, what is an Author Platform, do you remember? It’s how you show your unique qualities that “brand” you as a writer or artist…with the ultimate goal of leading to book sales. It’s a long term goal, not a RIGHT NOW CLICK HERE goal. No one likes the CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW guy, amiright?
Social media is one of the main ways you create your brand. Since most of your readers will never meet you in person, it’s how most of your readers get to know you. This post is gonna look at ways to maximize social media so you can give yourself the best platform. We’ll talk through some real examples, screenshotted below.
If you need to take a step back and get a basic primer on Twitter, check out https://bitsykemper.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/twitter-101-the-basics-for-writers/
General social media tips to support your Author Platform:
- Be you, all the time.
- Have fun! Every tweet/post doesn’t have to have something to do with writing or illustrating, but each one should still reflect who you are and what you stand for. Remember the part about the real you needing to shine through?
- Sorry to say this, but people are people. And by that, I mean selfish. I’m not judging. It’s fact. We are always asking ourselves WIIFM? As in, What’s In It For Me? No one has time, and we make decisions in a snap. You need to do whatever you can to convince me, quickly, that what you have to say will benefit me. And then come through. So don’t just tell me your book trailer is finished and give me a link. Tell me what the trailer is about, what I’ll see, why it’s worth watching. I need to know WIIFM or I’m not going to click. Even if I like you. I just don’t have time.
- Other people are selfish–but you need to be giving. Stop talking about how great your product is. Let us figure that out on our own. Your book really should be able to speak for itself…or at least let others do the talking. A tweet like”Another great review, my work is profiled yet again! Click to see the latest url.2937y5/iji…” gives me no incentive to click. It’s blatant bragging. But what about “What an honor to be included in this roundup, check out the other Best 2016 Reads by Buzzfeed at url.8724r34r/…” or “Thanks for the kind review, Donna, it was nice being your guest blogger this month. I bet no one can guess how many puppies were harmed in the making of that video! [link to Donna’s website].” Do you see the difference? One is “Look at me!!” Another–the preferred method–is “There’s something in this for you, have a look.” You want to be of service. Your book or link or review just happens to be one way to help. [See #6, below.]
- Interact. But don’t pester or hound.
- Don’t ask people to buy anything. You’re in this for the long haul. Your goal isn’t to be a blinking neon sign. An exception to mention buying anything of yours would be a one-time sale, like “My publisher is offering a rare 10% off all books, if you order by April 12th: url.9838/….” and that link just happens to take people directly to your book. Do you see how that’s a soft sell, vs something like “Hey! Save a buck on my book, here’s the link:…” or “Buy now! Five stars! Great read! Click here! url.562/rl…” Ick. You need to give a reason, an incentive, to get people to care about your book before you start thinking about ways to get them to buy it.(See #4, Stop talking about how great your product is.)
- Retweet, repost, forward, quote**. There is SO MUCH content out there, you really don’t need to recreate the wheel every day. But don’t repost other stuff from other people all the time. Have a few ideas on your own. [**Be sure you reference the originator when you quote or reference, don’t be a butt by trying to pass it off as your own.]
- Skip the preaching. About anything.
The more I like your posts, the more interested I will become in finding out more about you, whether that’s going to your website or your Author Bio page or to a bookstore. It’s funny, at least five or six people I follow on Twitter I had no idea were authors–NYT best selling authors at that! (In my defense, I don’t write or follow YA so there’s no reason for YA author names to be familiar to me.) I just like their Tweets and started following them. I found out they were authors by seeing their names at Scholastic Book Fairs and at the (real) bookstore. I ended up reading two of their books, and I don’t read YA! So the formula works. A found out a few people I follow and friended are editors at large publishing houses that shyly don’t mention it on their bios. It could be a case of like attracting like. Or it could be a case of interesting and consistently worthwhile posts.
Let’s look at some Dos and Don’ts. They’re all real examples. Except for Mo Willems, I don’t know any of the people mentioned. (These slides are taken from a presentation I gave about Author Platforms…it’s my content so I’m allowed to cut and paste :-))
Like I said, I don’t know those people, I just find their bios really cool. Effective. You ‘get’ them by reading those short few sentences. And you want to get to know them better. When looking you up, most people won’t go any further than your bio. Maybe your first few tweets/posts. But that’s it. Make them want to follow you. People DO judge books by their covers, and people by their social media bios. Make sure yours represents you in the best way possible.
See the trend? Don’t be a jerk. Share don’t brag.
When’s the best time to do all this sharing? I’m not saying I agree, but here are some studies:
Personally, I think the best time is morning, early in the week. But that’s me, party of one. I never commissioned a study. It gets tricky with time zones, and audience, so those studies might know best in general terms.
There are many forms of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, plus Blogspot and WordPress…ACK! Which are most effective overall? A July 2015 study from SmallBizTrends.com shows the following, as it relates to small business (which technically, you are):
This is the biggest social networking site with the largest number of users. There are more than 1 million small or medium sized businesses advertising here and it is estimated that larger companies are spending as much as $100 million on Facebook advertising per year.
Twitter is loved for spreading the word via tweets. This site has revolutionized social media. Approximately 81 percent of Twitter’s advertising revenue comes from mobile and there is a $200,000 cost estimated for a 24-Hour Promoted Trend on Twitter.
LinkedIn helps to build professional networks and engagement with other users. It is the world’s largest professional network being used for this purpose. Today, it has over 332 million users and each second adds two new members, all of which attracts marketers.
4. Google +
This site has 300 million monthly active users and is used for relationship marketing. It has over a 53 percent positive interaction between Google+ users and brands.
YouTube is expected to generate $5.6 billion in gross revenue in 2016. Currently, there are 6 billion hours of video watched on YouTube per month and 1 billion videos watched over mobile phones per day.
Pinterest marketing is another social media tool helping brands to grow rapidly. There are over 70 million users of Pinterest of which 80 percent are women and 20 percent are men. Over 9 million users have connected their accounts to Facebook.
Marketers know the usefulness of Instagram marketing and use Instagram to market products and services. It is a wonderful platform to share visual stories.
There are more than 300 million monthly active users on Instagram, of which 75 million are daily active users. Instagram is widely being used for business marketing.
This microblogging platform is used for sharing photos, videos, audio, quotes, text or anything that you’d like to market. It has more than 420 million users and 217 million blogs created, making it a favorite.
This image and video hosting social network has over 3.5 million images uploaded daily by users and offers massive online photo storage.
Reddit is a social networking site used for entertainment purposes, where registered members share content and direct links. It has 174 million monthly unique visitors.
Editors Note: This article has been revised to reflect correct percentage of Pinterest users by gender as provided by RJMetrics.
How do you decide which is best for you?
- Don’t look at numbers of users. Where is your reader, or target buyer? Go where they are. You’re better off with 100 of the right people (your target market) than 2,000 of the wrong ones (fluff). Flickr and Tumblr, for example, have a young teen audience. If they aren’t buying your books, don’t spend time there, unless it’s something you enjoy on your own time. Pinterest? Older and/or hipster, crafty types. Only spend time in either of those places if you know how to speak their language. LinkedIn is a good place to find companies looking to hire writers but not a good place to pitch your book to them. Don’t be a poser on these sites. People’ll catch on right away that you’re only there to market. And as we’ve talked about: no one likes that guy.
- Pick one, or two. No more than three. And do them well. Don’t even try to do them all. No one does everything well. Something will suffer and it shouldn’t be your reputation.
- Don’t let people forget about you! Be persistent, but not annoying. Aim for consistency. Blog every 3rd Friday of the month, or every Tuesday at noon. Tweet 3x/day or every morning or every Sunday. Do what works for you, or what you think works best for your readers. If you’re aiming for at-home moms, for example, don’t post at 3pm during the week when we’re out picking up kids from school, or on the weekend during family time.
- If you can’t be consistent, be worth it!
Hopefully this has been helpful. If you’re just get started, these tips should help you put the right foot forward. If you’re already in the game, it’s not too late to correct your course.
Get out there and start talking to your readers and potential buyers! They can’t wait to be impressed.