Social media is a powerful tool that authors can take advantage of. If your mindset is networking and building a community of friends, followers, and potential fans, you’ve got the right attitude. But with so many platforms and only so many hours in the day, how can you best manage your social media? Here are 8 top tips:
1. Don’t be on social media if you’re deep into a writing project.
Let’s get this out of the way first, if you’re writing–like really in the groove, and especially if you’ve got a deadline–you should not be on the internet. If you know you can’t help yourself, take your laptop, your outline, and a goal for the day, then go to a public place (preferably with coffee and baked goods) that doesn’t have free wifi. I can guarantee that you will accomplish better quality writing without the distractions of social media. If you find that you need to look at something on the internet, keep a running list for when you go back online. In the meantime, push forward with your writing.
2. Schedule time for checking, promoting, and responding to social media.
You should do this weekly or bi-weekly to be the most effective. Choose a time that will not interfere with your writing schedule and set a reminder on your phone. Give yourself 30-40 minutes to go through existing content, respond to comments, and generate new content. Know what you need to do in advance, then get in there and get it done. Try not to go down too many internet rabbit holes while online–stay focused! If you make a list on (gasp!) paper before you crack open your laptop, you will be much more likely to hold yourself accountable.
3. Use free apps to set it and forget it.
Make use of the scheduling feature that comes with Facebook Pages and take advantage of free social media scheduling apps like Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to link all your major social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It has a wonderful overview interface that easily allows you to see how you’re sharing content across different social media platforms.
4. Posts with (interesting) photos get more hits.
It’s true. Google “Do posts with photos get more engagements?” and see what comes up. I’ll tell you–posts with photos get more hits. It’s a fact. Therefore take advantage of free apps like Canva, Wordswag (my personal favorite), or A Beautiful Mess to make your own content for your different platforms.
5. Use those hashtags.
See what other people are using, then tailor your content appropriately. I have a list on my laptop and in the notes section of my phone to easily cut and paste into a post. Use hashtags for your genre like: #scifinovel #crimefiction #mermaidbooks. Hook readers with hashtags like #ilovebooks #Mustread. Again, do a Google search for “Best Author Hashtags” to see what the cool kids are using these days.
6. Make sure your profile is set up to direct people to your work.
Your profile should include a link that takes a potential reader directly to where your books are found. If someone has taken the time to find you through one of your hashtags, or maybe they met you at a meet and greet and want to read more of your work, you should make it ULTRA easy for them to get your content by having this link in an easy to access spot.
7. Find what’s comfortable and set up camp there.
Take some pressure off yourself and don’t feel like you have to canvas all the social media platforms. That’s too much work and is really the job of a PR person–if you’re lucky enough (and can afford) to have such an employee. So, if your authorship is just you, find what works for you and use it. I prefer Instagram because I’m a visual person. However, most writers find great connections on Twitter. Facebook is great, too, and don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool for making visual boards for your current project. You can also post links to your book covers that will directly go back to where your products are found.
8. Don’t be fake or over-eager.
Make your posts interesting and varied. You don’t want to become white noise with “Buy my book! Buy my book! I am an Author!” Readers would like to know who you are, mixing in posts about your life helps you to make real connections. True fans love to know what makes you tick. They also want updates. If you’re releasing a book soon, make teaser posts. If you’re in the middle of writing, give some insights as to what you’re planning. Have fun with it, but be sincere and never be spam.