Here we are at week three of my series on Author Platforms. This week I am focusing on social media for authors. This past weekend I attended a WordPress seminar called #PressPublish. We learned how to up our blogging game using our WordPress sites. You might not be aware that blogging is social media (SM) and it is something authors should consider when building their author platforms, especially new authors. I know it’s a lot of work (though WordPress makes it so much easier) but it is highly worth it if you do it right.
So how do you “do social media right?” Well today is your lucky day, I am going to give you some steps to follow to help you! Yay! So first things first, you must ask yourself some questions. I mean, who doesn’t like talking to themselves? Am I right?!
What are my goals as a writer?
For me, one of my goals as a writer is that I want to write books that make young people excited about reading. I also would like to make a bit of income from my work. Finally, one of my dreams is to one day make some big time Bestseller lists. So what does this have to do with my social media? Well, it shows me which social media sites I need to be targeting because it points to who my potential audience will be. My ideal audience is Young Adult (YA) readers. This brings us to the next question you need to ask yourself.
Where can I find my ideal readers online?
Some of the bigger social media sites:
The list goes on but I will be focusing on some of these sites just to give you an example of what I’m talking about. After doing some research, I’ve found that my ideal audience hangs out a lot on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube. That’s not to say that these are the only places they are, but I know if I target these sites that I will be able to reach a lot of young readers.
For some other examples, if you are writing more technical books, one site you’re going to want to target is LinkedIn. If you’re writing Craft books or Chick Lit, you’re going to want to be on Pinterest. A little research will help you find where your target audience hangs out when they go online. These are the social media sites you will want to focus on to get the biggest returns on your effort and the time you spend.
Don’t panic, you don’t need to be on every single site. Just start with one at a time and after you get that set up and you are comfortable with it, consider joining another site. You don’t want to take up all your time on social media so determine how much time you can devote to it and stick to it. If you want a little extra help, you can always find yourself a social media manager or author assistant like Kate Tilton. They are great for freeing up your time to focus on your writing. Once you have your social media sites picked out, the next question you need to ask is:
How often should I be posting?
This question also fits in with when is the best time to post. After researching this topic rather heavily, this is what I have learned about these two questions. First, you should be posting often. People are more likely to follow you on SM if you are posting consistently and often. You need to ask yourself, realistically, how often can you post. Again, you don’t want to burn yourself out by posting all the time. I post the most on Twitter where I post at least six times a day, not including favorites and retweets. I also post around the clock. With SM circling the globe, I have found that I always have followers online and active. (I’m not superwoman, I will discuss how I do this in just a minute. No wait, I am superwoman, but I do have *free* help with posting my social media.)
This will be something you will have to pay attention to as you start posting. Look at the responses you get and when your followers are most active. Make sure you’re posting during these times. If there doesn’t seem to be a certain time that they are more active then just space out your posts for optimum exposure. If this seems like you’ll be spending all your time on SM, fear not, I have good news! There are some apps/programs that can help you manage your social media sites.
The app I use is one called Buffer. It allows me to schedule my posts. I’m a night person so I take about twenty minutes just before I go to bed and set up my posts for the following day. But the great thing about this app is, it allows you to schedule out as far as you’d like. I know a writer who schedules his posts out a whole month at a time! This is handy especially if you’d like to take a vacation but you don’t want to lose the followers you’ve worked so hard to build up. (If your postings fall off, so will your followers.) So I highly recommend getting something set up so you can post ahead of time if you know you won’t be able to be online.
A few other scheduling apps/programs out there:
They each offer scheduling for your posts but their options vary beyond that so you will have to do a bit of research on which one will work best for you. Keep an eye on my Author Resources page for more indepth information on these various management tools (coming soon!).
With my days freed up from worrying about posting quality content, this leaves me free to check out the postings of my followers. It’s important to reciprocate the SM love that you receive. I usually try to like, favorite, retweet, etc. as much as I can. If I find myself with a free moment (waiting for my fellas to finish their music lessons, etc.) then I jump onto one of my SM sites and show some love to my followers. This is a key aspect of getting your followers engaged. And engagement is even more important than having a large number of followers. You can be boasting big numbers on your “follower/friends” list, but if no one is engaging with you, those numbers mean very little. Higher follower engagement usually leads to higher conversion rates, so get out there and as Captain Picard on Star Trek was known to say, “engage.”
The next question you should be asking is:
What sort of content should I be posting?
The word you’re going to hear over and over is “quality” content. So let’s look at what quality content is exactly. It is content that fills a need or want of your ideal reader. This can include things like, links to articles on a topic that is relevant to your audience. Entertaining quizzes, videos, pictures that are relevant to your audience. Or maybe tips and tricks that are… Have you guessed what I’m going to say yet? Relevant to your audience! You can see the key is to be relevant to your audience.
The other key is to make sure it’s fresh. Don’t just regurgitate the same thing over and over and over. You’ll lose people really quick that way. Make sure your links are still working and directing them to up-to-date information. And another tip, mix things up. Don’t just make all your social media posts, links to articles. Throw in some other things like pictures and thought provoking questions. Either-or questions are often a great way to get your followers to engage, fill in the blank questions are too. So get those thinking caps on, do a little research and keep that great content flowing.
Once you get into the habit, you’ll start to notice content while you’re doing other things. This is why I love having Buffer on my phone. Now when I come across this great content throughout my day, all I have to do is type in the link or paste a picture and I have it ready to go for later. This makes the time I spend scheduling my content go much quicker!
Well, I’m going to wrap things up now, I didn’t mean to go on for so long. You’re all troopers for bearing with me. I hope you found this helpful. Tune in next week for an update on my writing journey. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what’s been going on with all that. And don’t forget, Friday is guest interview day. Also, I’m now adding a new resource to my Author Resources page every Monday so be sure you’re checking that out as well.
For those of you who are not yet signed up, but are interested in free legal tips for authors, you can join my monthly newsletter. If you’re having trouble finding where to sign up for that, you can get the details HERE. Have a great rest of your week my friends!
Until we meet again!