Writing a fantastic book is only the first step in becoming a successful author.
After that, you’ll need to work on building your brand and creating a solid marketing strategy that will propel this book and everything else you do to success.
When marketing your book, social media will be an important part of your integrated marketing campaign. An integrated marketing campaign focuses on combining all aspects of communication—advertising, public relations, social media, and more—so customers have a unified interaction with your brand. This approach will determine what you post on which social media platforms, so it’s important you fully develop your campaign prior to posting.
One great thing about social media is that it allows you to actively engage with your audience. Readers love being able to chat with their favorite authors and pick their brains, asking questions and learning about new projects they’re working on.
Take advantage of this! Build excitement by talking about the book on all platforms. Each platform offers you a different opportunity to engage with your audience and market your book.
If you don’t currently have a Twitter account, sign up now. Create your handle based on your name or pen name so you can be easily found, then get your account verified. This lets your audience know that your account is authentic (the larger the interest in your work, the more likely you will have fake accounts cropping up).
Create Twitter hashtags so that you can follow the conversation about your book; it’s also a great way to group your announcements related to the book so your audience can easily find them. These hashtags should include the title and/or the release date. It’s recommended to have multiple hashtags for your campaign. (But you don’t have to—and shouldn’t—use them all at once. Don’t turn your useful hashtags into spam!)
If The Hardy Boys—a beloved YA series from the 1920s—was marketed on Twitter, the hashtags might have looked something like this:
- Title: #TowerTreasure
- Title + Release Date: #TowerTreasureSept or #TowerTreasure2017
- Series: #HardyBoys
- Series + Book Number: #HardyBoysBook1
Note that “The” was dropped from both The Tower Treasure and The Hardy Boys. Due to Twitter’s character limitations, you want to keep your hashtags as short as possible while still being easy to recognize.
In addition to hashtags, you’ll want to generate buzz in the following ways:
- Host a Q&A session where your readers can pick your brain about the upcoming book, your writing process, and more. Don’t forget to make a hashtag for this, too!
- Share a snippet from the book as a teaser. You could also choose a passage of interesting dialogue or a quote.
- Tweet out a pre-order link.
- Post a picture of the book cover or dust jacket.
- Share an anecdote of something interesting that occurred while you were writing the book.
You’ll want to cross-promote your Twitter campaign in the following two ways:
- Create Tweetables, which are quotes, sound bites, or short video clips that can easily be shared with a click. Include Tweetables on your blog posts and website.
- Embed your Twitter feed in your website. Visitors can see what you are currently tweeting about.
YouTube is another great internet marketing platform on which to market your book, as videos let your readers see your excitement regarding your next release. Cross-promote your YouTube channel by making announcements about your books and sharing your videos on Facebook and Twitter.
Video ideas include:
- Hosting a Q&A on YouTube. Have users submit questions and record yourself answering them.
- Compile a short video series that discusses topics related to your book. Be sure the videos are informational, not promotional.
- If your new book is part of a series, talk about your reader favorite guesses about what is going to happen next.
- Host a contest where participants create a “trailer” for the book as if it were a movie. Share the winner on your YouTube feed and elsewhere.
Create a page on Facebook using your name or pen name; it should match your Twitter handle and YouTube channel name for the best cross-platform branding.
Link everything you do together: cross-market your Facebook page on your Twitter feed, email newsletter blasts, and website so your readers can find you and follow you wherever they’re most comfortable. You may also want to start a sponsored Facebook ad campaign to help increase your reach and let more of your fans find you.
Make your page as informative and easy to interact with as possible:
- Fill out the Info page as fully as possible.
- Customize your Messaging Settings by turning on Response Assistant and tailoring replies.
- If you have an Instagram account, connect it to your Facebook page now.
- Edit your button on Facebook. If you’re promoting a new book, have the button link to the website where fans can pre-order. Title the button along the lines of: “Pre-Order X Now!”
Now that you have your page set up, be sure to post consistently:
- Encourage fans to post their book reviews as well as leave comments and questions. Don’t forget to respond!
- Create a new video every Friday. Encourage fans to offer suggestions on what the videos should include.
- Promote your book through a sponsored ad.
- Include teasers like book jacket cover or snippets of text.
- Utilize the same hashtags you do on Twitter on Facebook.
In addition to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, consider utilizing other social platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest—pick whatever is the most fun for you and especially whichever platform your target audience uses most.
If you’re marketing a romance novel, your readers may be enthusiastic Pinterest fans; if you’re a YA author, you may need to be on Snapchat to best connect with your readers. Think about where your readers like to hang out online and make sure you’re available there!
Be sure to update each account several times a day, vary the content, and respond as much as possible. It’s the personal touch and element of conversation that keeps people coming back to social media.
Even though your goal is to market your book, it’s fine to post more personalized content as well, such as a photo of the delicious ice cream you’re about to enjoy on a visit to LA or a random thought you had that you believe your readers would enjoy. Readers like to know authors on a more intimate level, gaining insight into the mind that writes their favorite books and series.
How do you use social media to promote your books?
About the Author
Chris Hickman is the founder and CEO at Adficient; he has 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. In 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, where he helps businesses and websites that have been suspended in Adwords to “Get Back on Google.”
For more ways to connect with your readers online, read on!
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- How to Use LinkedIn to Improve Your Career, Grow Your Network, and Become a Social Media Master
- Three Ways To Creatively Market Your Books on Goodreads