Social media marketing of books is an extension of the tried and true method of word-of-mouth advertising. Reviews and personal recommendations have historically  played a more fundamental role in a reader’s decision of what book to read than traditional advertising. Today friends and family share what they are reading on Facebook, GoodReads, Twitter. What technology adds to the mix is a way for authors and readers to find each another and communicate. Publishers rely on authors to market their books by making direct one-to-one connections to readers. This means the success of your book requires your strategic use of social media for social purposes. You don’t have to “do it all,” rather do it wisely.

Be There

Give up your fantasy that someone else can ‘do this’ for you. Or that you can program your status updates and blog posts like a robot. Your presence is required to respond to live engagement with readers. It’s tempting to use an automated tweet scheduler to take some of the effort out of your social media strategy.

However small your amount of time online per day is, you open a window to your readers. You want to be able to respond. Don’t leave a potential reader who tries to engage with you hanging. Be present.

Be Shareable

Are your blog posts simply personal journal entries, or are they something that goes beyond yourself? If you are writing just about you, the circle of friends and family might constrict rather than expand your network. If you give useful information, a new way to think about something, or speak to the larger human condition, your audience grows exponentially.

There’s no need to be overly informative or cutesy; just ask yourself if your subject and approach speaks to more than your closest friends. Not everything in your personal life is fodder for your professional persona. What you share should add value to your readers’ lives. Sharing others’ good news is more important than self-promotion as an author. 

Be Engaged

You should be excited and share your passion and enthusiasm in your writing. If you feel like reading and responding to your comments is a chore, you’re probably not posting about something you care enough about to sustain for the long haul.

But if you get a little adrenaline rush when you see several comments, retweets, or you think ‘Oh! I have to share this!’ after reading an article, you’re probably on the right track to blissful social media engagement. Write about what you love, what you want to know more about, and what you care about.

Be Friendly

How many blogs have you responded to in the last month? It should be at least equal to the number of blogs you posted, if not more. Remember your grandmother used to tell you that if you wanted to get letters in the mail you had to write letters? Making social media work for authors is more about the social dynamics than the technical or numerical aspects. You are building a community of readers for your book. Respond to your comments to get new readers.

Social Media is meant to be, well, social! You aren’t going to get the results you want if you are a hermit online. If you want more “likes,” then take the time to read and respond with a comment or ‘like’ other writers work. Take the time to find new blogs and reach out to them. Take the time to make your audience feel welcome.

 (Photo courtesy of Mary Bouchard, Trumansburg, NY)

(Photo courtesy of Mary Bouchard, Trumansburg, NY)

2 thoughts on “The Four Bs to Be: Social Media for Authors

    • Thanks for your note, Kip. I read your recent post about 93 very important days in your life as a parent in Boston. Keep writing. Your blogs are worth the time reading. This is how engagement really works.

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