(Originally posted 4/12/18)
Working smarter, not harder, applies to most things. And social media should be at the top of your list of strategies to streamline.
Because, as we all know, you can spend a lot of time on social media without doing anything particularly worthwhile.
And on the flip side, you can achieve the ultimate goal of building engagement with your audience without spending hours every day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Why is this important? Because truly engaged fans are not only more loyal, they’re more likely to recommend you to their own friends.
So how can you be more engaging? Don’t make your social media presence all book marketing all the time. Mix it up with a variety of trending topics, advice, and yes, humor! And above all, be personal!
With that in mind, here’s a collection of book marketing ideas for social media that can help you promote and engage smarter, with minimal effort:
1. Social media ads
Social media ads are now more user-friendly and easier to target than ever before.
And you shouldn’t be spending a lot on ads. Your budget should really be no more than $50 per month. It’s all you’ll really need if you use them correctly and target them to your potential reader market. All platforms have excellent tutorials that you should really take the time to utilize, at minimum.
2. Brand your social media images
This is so incredibly important. And it’s really easy with tools like Canva. They have beautiful templates you can use that also handle the appropriate sizing and formatting.
Every image should make it easy for potential fans to find you in case the image gets separated from your brand. And in addition to the header photos that you create for social media, you should be doing more images in general. You can use them to increase engagement, promote a new release, giveaway or discount price promotion.
And once they’re set up and designed, it’s easy to update them to fit your current promotions.
Definitely make sure you add your website to every image. If it goes viral, you’ll want people to know how to find you!
3. Make your blog posts easy to share
Apps like AddThis or ShareThis should appear with each post, and ClickToTweet creates clickable tweets right within your content. Encourage your fans and followers to share your blog content on social.
Every time a fan shares one of your posts, they are putting you in front of all of their followers, making this a powerful tool. So make sure that it’s easy for them to share!
4. Run a contest to build engagement
People love contests. So ask your fans to share or re-tweet your posts for a chance to win bonus content or a signed copy of your book. You’ll have great potential exposure. And, if you want to get really creative, you can team up with other authors or similar brands.
I actually did this for a recent release, and it worked really well for exposure. The first 5 people that shared my Amazon book page received a free copy. I loved how this strategy worked and I’ll be sure to use it again!
5. Run a fan art contest
This is a fun opportunity for your fans! Create a unique hashtag and ask fans to share book-related art on social media using the hashtag.
And a fun way to sweeten the deal is to feature your winner(s) in your next book!
6. Ask questions and encourage participation
Your engagement will grow every time your friends and followers like and comment on your posts. It often will then show up in their friend’s newsfeeds, increasing your audience reach.
So be smart, don’t just shove your books down their throats. This goes back to my point earlier about not focusing all of your energy on book marketing. Instead spend some of your time on social media asking your fans questions that have little to do with your book.
Just let them get to know you. And likewise, get to know them. Ask questions, do polls, get creative when it comes to communicating with fans on social. You can even request that they send in their own photos or caption a funny image you find.
And then once they’re engaged, make sure you respond. Like their comments. Retweet what they have to say. Let them know somehow that you appreciate their connection.
7. Share the love
This is something I say a lot. But make sure to connect your readers to things you like. If you have some helpful tips, share them. Find some life changing advice, let them know. They might find it interesting too. Is something big happening in your industry? Share it. Have a list of books or products that you really love? Let your audience know!
And of course, if someone you are connected to has great news, share it! They’ll appreciate it, and they might just share your milestones too!
8. Schedule content in advance
As I mentioned earlier, being “good” at social media book marketing doesn’t have to mean spending all day online.
Use a scheduling app to help you create posts in advance. If you’re really organized, you can save time by scheduling your posts in a single sitting once a week or a couple times a month if you’re really organized!
Then you just need to post timely content as the opportunity arises.
9. Pin important updates on your feed
Do you have a release, upcoming event, or other super important announcement? Consider pinning it to the top of your Facebook or Twitter feed to ensure everyone sees it.
10. Host a Facebook party to celebrate your milestones
New release? Do a Facebook event! These online gatherings are getting easier to create and execute, so definitely consider one for your next release.
This is a perfect opportunity to post shamelessly about your book. Invite people by letting them know you’ll be doing giveaways for fun prizes.
Milk the event for all it’s worth. Share it a lot leading up to the big day.
11. Post behind-the-scenes looks on Instagram
Building connection is the key here. Remember what I said earlier about engagement and loyalty? Be human, get personal, and really build those connections.
Post images of your work space or a page of your upcoming book. Maybe it’s your writing coach (aka cat or dog) and other fun, “get to know you” photos. Use images on Instagram to really let your readers into your world. What does it really look like to be knee-deep in a novel or book promotion?
12. Create Pinterest boards
If your audience is predominantly women, Pinterest is still a great option for you.
You may want to start a Pinterest account for your main character and use it to extend the world they live in. This is just one way you can stand out.
And, if you are a visual person, take advantage of any visual connections to your topic or theme. Readers definitely hang out on Pinterest, and the platform itself is unique in that content gets recycled all the time. Facebook and Twitter are so “now” and content gets buried quickly, but Pinterest can bounce around a 6-month-old image like it’s brand new if the interest is there, so build your stockpile of quality pins and let the platform do some of the work for you.
The Bottom Line
My pro tip for you is that your social media should complement your other marketing strategies as opposed to being a totally separate entity. Why? A cohesive effort that stays on message is the most effective. And as the demands on our time grow every single year, it’s more important now than ever to optimize the time we spend on each of our book marketing efforts. These social media strategies may be just what you need to reduce time online, and still really boost your book’s performance!
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.