Author Marketing Guide: Social Media

Getting Started

Social media is a great way to make your book known to a wider audience. Many of our authors already have a strong presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, but if you don't yet have accounts, we would encourage you to give it a try.

Below you will find our top tips, and some great ideas for generating content to post.

If you are completely alien to the idea of social media and feel a little daunted at the prospect of running your own account, don’t despair! We can post content about your books for you on our own social media accounts. Just feed us with your ideas! 

There are many social media networks you could try. Here are just a few of the biggest:

  • Twitter: Our favourite social media platform (we’ve got over 20k followers!). Share your thoughts in tweets of 280 characters. The great beauty of Twitter is that you have to be a bit clever to get your message across succinctly. Anyone can follow you, and you can follow anyone. Why and how writers should embrace Twitter.
  • Facebook: Facebook lets you share content with much more flexibility than Twitter. It is great for keeping in touch with people you know, but if you set up a Facebook Page for your book or for yourself as an author, anyone can follow you without having to befriend them. Here’s a good introduction to Facebook for authors.
  • Instagram: Owned by Facebook, this is a photo-sharing platform with similarities to Twitter, but without the character limits. It is a fast-growing network, and has particularly high use amongst young adults. How to use Instagram as an author.
  • LinkedIn: Designed primarily as a platform for professionals to network, it is a great space for promoting yourself and your book. Once you’ve built a great profile (prominently featuring your book, of course!), you can start posting content and building a network. It is very easy to connect with lots of people using LinkedIn’s suggestions based on your existing network – add your friends, colleagues and family first, then broaden your network by connecting with “People you may know”. Read more about LinkedIn for Authors.
  • Pinterest: A visual sharing platform, allowing you to “pin” images, videos and links to your own boards or others’. There are several ways for authors to use it, and this article explains some of them.
  • Tumblr: This is a cross between social media and a blogging platform. It makes it very easy to create a blog by pulling together content from other websites or creating your own content. What writers need to know about Tumblr.

Already a pro?

Keep up the good work! You might find some of our Further Reading (below) useful. And don’t forget to give your book just the occasional plug...

Tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck not only allow you to manage multiple social media accounts in once place, but also help you schedule posts to go out at the best times.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you may like to try paid social media marketing – promoting your tweets and Facebook posts to people beyond your network. But be careful, as it can be a money drain if you aren’t careful. Talk to us first.

Our top tips:

  • Be yourself – people will easily be able to spot if you are being phoney
  • Be focused – there is no hard and fast rule about what to post on social media, but you are likely to pick up most followers if you stick to a subject (perhaps with occasional deviations)
  • Be imaginative – try to post captivating content that is going to entice people to follow you and, ultimately, read your book
  • Be gentle – don’t go for the hard sell. It can be difficult to get the balance right, but if you are posting things that are interesting/amusing/clever/useful, followers won’t mind occasional plugs for your books, so long as the plugs are equally interesting/amusing/clever/useful
  • Be visual – some social media platforms are inherently visual, but for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn you will get a much better response to posts that include an image (luckily, if you link to your book on our website, most social media platforms will include a social media-friendly graphic automatically!)
  • Be observant – see what other people are doing, and what you respond well to, and emulate it (but add your own twist!)
  • Be selective – flooding a post with #hashtags will just put people off for very little exposure. Instead, use hashtags judiciously and use a tool such as RiteTag to see which which ones are worth using (but don’t forget that ironic use of hashtags, or using them to sum up your mood, can add humour to a post)
  • Be patient – it can take a long, long time to build up a critical mass of followers, but if you are posting engaging content then your follower count will eventually reach healthy numbers (just don’t give up in the meantime!)
  • Be thick-skinned – don’t feed the trolls and, if someone is being unduly negative, just ignore them and they will probably go away (but don’t be afraid to report any genuine threats to your safety to the police)
  • Be careful – protect yourself, and don’t post anything that could put you in harm, identify your location, or allow others to invade your privacy

Increasing your audience

If you’re struggling to reach many people, try following a few people yourself and you might find that some of them follow you back. The best people to follow are those who are likely to be interested in your book.

Mentioning relevant people in your posts can get their attention. You can do this on most networks by starting with the @ sign and typing their name or username. But do this sparingly, and don’t use it in a spammy way.

Make sure your profile is complete – upload a profile and header image, and write something intriguing in the space to describe yourself.

Some social media networks let you supply a web address. Why not link to your book on our website, or even your author page?

There are various tools for increasing your followers such as Crowdfire, but be careful as using them too much can get you banned!

Ideas for generating content

Posting new content (or old content in new ways) can seem like a bit of a chore, especially as it pays to post several times a day. It can be difficult to come up with imaginative ideas for generating content, but if you can do it in batches and use some scheduling software to line up the posts, you can greatly reduce the time commitment.

Here are some ideas to quickly generate lots of engaging content relating to your book...

  • “Can you guess where?” photos of locations in your book
  • “Can you guess who?” description of characters in your book
  • “On this day” – each book should be able to produce dozens of these, and they are even better if suitable images can be found (use the hashtag #OTD)
  • “Did you know?” – intriguing or unusual facts from your book
  • Really short, snappy, funny character profiles (for both fiction and non-fiction)
  • Things happening in the news that relate to your book in any way
  • Strange and peculiar “International XYZ day” or saints feast days (especially if they are the patron saint of something fun) that are connected with your book
  • Short quotes from your book (or create a graphic containing a longer quote)
  • Or even (bear with us here...) a click-bait synopsis of your book – believe it or not, this was recently tried for some literary classics with huge success!
  • 23 more content ideas for authors from BookBub

Got any other ideas? Let us know and we will share them here.

Further Reading

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