As an author, you’re looking for a tribe for your book. You want to reach the people out there who will resonate with your story—whether it’s a memoir, nonfiction, or a fantasy novel. Readers talk to one another. We share books, passing them along to the ones we love. There’s nothing more gratifying to an avid reader than telling another avid reader about the latest, greatest page-turner.
Social Media is a powerful platform for you to reach that tribe. You might think Facebook is just a place to see enviable vacation photos from long-lost friends, or (too many) baby pictures, or to watch adorable cat videos and hilarious late-night YouTube clips. It is all those things, but it is also more. As an author, you can use Facebook to find and build your fanbase before you launch your book.
Here are five tips to boost your social media following:
- Let Your Mission Shine. Whether you’re a nonfiction writer, the author of a memoir, or a novelist, focusing your social media content around a theme that connects to your book will help people hook into your page. Don’t worry! You don’t have to adhere rigidly to a theme; you just want to have an organizing principle. A social media mission that loosely connects to your book or your deepest interests will help you focus your content and convey to the world “who you are and what you care about.”
- Be Your Whole Self. You are a person with interests in things beyond the content of your book, right? So share that! If you post content only about your book, people will get bored and stop paying attention to you. Post pictures that inspire you, books you’re reading, stories about people who you consider your heroes. The things in the world that spark your interest will attract like-minded people. With social media, you’re creating a tribe, in a way. When the times comes for you to share that you’ve launched your new book, your fans be excited to pick up a copy so that they can see what you have to say!
- Be Simple and Positive. Social Media is consumed quickly. Your job is to catch people’s attention as they’re whipping through their wall of smiling babies and gorgeous friends taking selfies at the beach. You want your post to jump off the screen. You want people to see it and have a positive emotional reaction, and more importantly, you want them to share your post with their friends. At the risk of sounding Pollyanna-ish, people don’t want to spread around negativity—they’re more likely to share something that they think will make their friends feel good, laugh, or show off that they’re “in the know.”
- It’s OK to Fudge It. Yes, you want to be authentic, and be your whole self as we discussed earlier. But you’re human, right? You don’t feel happy every day. You don’t feel inspired every day. Nobody does. Keep in mind that you are using social media to sell yourself (just like everyone else. I mean, who posts a crummy selfie?). So be real, but also, sometimes, it’s okay to fudge it. You don’t need to post about your rotten day or vent about the latest disaster in the news. Reserve that for your closest friends (and sometimes, even then, it’s okay to fudge it).
- Mix It Up. Try different things and watch to see what people respond to—you’ll be surprised! Social Media can be frustrating because you want to nail down the rules so you can go on autopilot. Sorry. People are finicky, and what’s hip one day is old news the next. Social Media’s rules are impossible to write down because people’s behavior changes. So, let yourself wander a bit. Change things up. Try a video one day, a picture quote the next, an article the next, and see what “catches.” Use that to guide you.
Facebook really can be a way for you to find your tribe of readers. The key is to get started, see what works, and stick to it. If you want help getting started, or to see what other social media services we offer, check out our services on our website. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you, what works and what doesn’t. Pleas share them in comments. And good luck!