Many authors struggle with using social media to market their books and themselves. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by all of the choices, and before long you find yourself swallowed up and spending all of your time on social media, leaving no time to do what you love best – writing!
To properly use social media to market your books and your author platform, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is buying my books?
- What social media platform do my readers use the most?
- What types of media get the most response on these sites?
Once you figure out the answers to those questions, you can streamline your social media strategy, start getting results, and spend more time writing.
- Who Is Buying My Books?
First, you need to determine the target audience for your book. This entails creating “buyer personas.” A buyer persona is semi-fictional determination of who your ideal customer is based on real data about current customers and market research. This includes finding out what motivates your buyers, their goals, and what demographic they fall into. You should know as much about them as possible, and you need to dig deep. Ask yourself; what drives my readers, what do they care about, and what are they afraid of? The buyer personas you create should be as familiar to you as the main characters in your books.
Ideally, you should create two or three “buyer personas” for your platform. There are numerous places online to find templates for doing this. I personally prefer the free template provided by HubSpot.
This can be a fun activity for fiction authors, although possibly not so much fun for those of you who write non-fiction.
- What Social Media Platform Do My Readers Use the Most?
Always remember, writing is your business. And as with any business, the general recommendation is to only utilize two or three social media sites for your overall social media strategy. Even the use of ONE solid social media site, if used effectively, can substantially increase your book sales with a minimal weekly time commitment. Trying to use too many sites can quickly create a situation where you are spread too thin, and you will find yourself inundated with babysitting your social media.
So, how do you know what sites to use?
At this point, you have already created your buyer personas, so you know the market you need to target. Now you need to determine which social media platform(s), your buyer personas are apt to use the most. For example, Facebook™ is primarily a social site where people post political opinions and life updates. It is primarily used by older generations. Trying to market a vampire novel with an element of teen angst will probably not do as well as a political thriller. Similarly, a Harlequin style romance will not do well on LinkedIn™, but a book on leadership would.
For your reference, here is a list of the Top 15 social media sites put out by Ebiz in January 2017.
- What Types of Media Get the Most Response From These Sites?
The final piece of the puzzle is understanding what types of media perform best on which sites, and then figuring out how to create media for those sites that will generate interest in your book. A fun blog post or cute meme will do well on Facebook; whereas Twitter requires the ability to generate short quotes or thoughts a few times a day. YouTube could be utilized to hold a virtual reading or a recorded demonstration of something you discuss in your book. You don’t necessarily have to create entirely new content for each platform, but you do need to know what types of media do best where in order to tweak your marketing materials for each one.
Ready, Set, Go!
Once you have a targeted media strategy that has emerged from a few days of solid research and planning, you can maintain an effective social media presence with a time commitment of just a few hours a week. Then you can focus on what really matters – writing!
Follow my blog on Facebook or LinkedIn
to keep up to date on updates and be the first to know when I review each social media platform’s strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to authors.