Being an independent author isn’t easy. You’re expected to write, blog, market, network, and find time to renew your library card. Amidst all that craziness, it’s easy to forget the basics of social media marketing — or at least conveniently ignore them when your schedule is full.
But as they say in the sports world, “It’s all about the fundamentals.”
So here’s a checklist of social media musts every author should live by:
1. Respond to every comment —
Simple enough. Someone’s taken the time to engage with you; they deserve your attention. But when you get busy it’s easy to let those things pile up and go unanswered. If you don’t have time to personally reply to every Facebook comment or tweet, at least like/favorite them.
2. Make sure your website is social-friendly —
Does your website make social sharing easy? If not, download one of the plug-ins that enables share buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, etc.). Don’t make someone have to do extra work to share your latest blog post, short story, or poem.
3. Customize your social profiles —
No one wants to follow THE EGG on Twitter. And a big, bland Facebook header image isn’t doing you any favors either. So really take the time to add compelling profile images, background images, bios, etc. Oh, and don’t forget to put something in the “About” section on your Facebook author page.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in the real world —
Your family, friends, teachers, writing-group members, and existing readers are the ones who can help you spread the word early on. Don’t be shy about asking for some sharing, engagement, and retweet love.
5. Don’t confuse your personal profiles with your author profiles —
When you’ve got a personal Facebook profile, an author page, multiple Twitter accounts, and everything else — it’s easy to get confused about where you’re posting new content. Make sure to double check that your latest Instagram photo of a broken typewriter is going to your author page and author Twitter feed. It’s not rocket science to fix a mistake, but it’s a bit of a pain — and kind of embarrassing too.
6. Reward frequent interaction —
Offer prizes or have a “fan of the week” title for people who regularly interact with you through social media and share your content.
7. Post consistently —
Don’t disappear for months at a time. You don’t necessarily have to tweet or post something on Facebook every day (though it never hurts!) — but avoid long dormant stretches. It conditions your followers to forget you.
8. Remind people to follow you via social media —
Use your reading appearances, any material at your book signings, the back of your book cover, and your email newsletter to tell folks where they can find you on social media.
9. Have a conversation —
Don’t just promote your writing non-stop. Engage with other folks you admire. Ask for your fans’ opinions. Show them your goofy side. Tell them a secret.
10. Don’t autopost everything —
There are tools you can use to post a single update to multiple channels — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — with the push of a button. But people who follow you on each platform want to get a unique experience in each place. So while it’s ok to use the autopost method occasionally, try to make an effort to give each of your social media audiences a little something different.
Well, those are some of the basics of good social media marketing. I’m sure I forgot quite a few, but that’s where you come in! Let me know in the comments section below what you consider to be a social media must for authors.
[Social media image from Shutterstock.]