Growing an author platform online takes planning, time, and effort – but it’s not at all difficult. With a little know-how you can build an online community of your own.

Whew! You’ve put in hours of hard work, writing your book and then polishing it ’til it shines, and then finding the right platform for its publication. Now that your dream is finally a reality, though, it can be easy to forget that the hard work isn’t over. If you want your book to sell, then you’re going to have to do some legwork in order to build a following of enthusiastic readers.

Luckily, in this age of social media, that isn’t nearly as daunting a task as it may sound. Growing an author platform online takes some careful planning, time, and effort, but it’s not at all difficult. All it takes is a little know-how – and as the founder of a digital marketing firm and a fellow author of two books myself, I’d love to share my strategies and experiences with you.

Here are a few of the ways I used social media to promote my latest book, Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age.

1. Use social media to build excitement

Before your book even launches, take advantage of the power of social media to build up excitement for its release. Start with teasers, quick posts about how excited you are, pictures of the book cover, and short blurbs explaining what your book is about, or who you hope it will speak to.

Offer special incentives for pre-order, and hype any free accompanying materials you’ve created, such as book club discussion guides, or complementary resources. Hold giveaways before your book is officially available and start sharing any early reviews you’ve received. The more excitement people see on your social media pages, the more they’ll get excited about your book themselves.

2. Partner with influencers on social media

You might be wondering how to get new people to visit your social media pages in the first place. One answer: Team up with people who already have established followings on social media, and whose audiences would be interested in a book like yours.

That might mean emailing a mommy blogger to ask her if she’d mind reviewing your book in exchange for a free copy, or messaging an Instagrammer to see if they’d be willing to hold a giveaway of your book. Maybe someone will want to interview you for their podcast, or maybe they’ll let you write a guest blog post for their site. Once you’ve made connections with a few of these influencers, they’ll start sharing your book with their audiences – which will bring those people to your social media pages.

3. Take advantage of video on social media

One of the very best ways to connect with people via social media is through video. Whether it’s a pre-recorded video where you’re speaking about your book or a Facebook Live video where you’re sharing personal stories, videos are extremely effective marketing tools. You can even go interactive, holding live video Q&A sessions where you answer questions posed on social media. Your followers will love to feel that they have a more personal connection with you, and that feeling leads to more enthusiasm and interaction on your social media pages.

4. Host community-building events on social media.

Speaking of building connections with your audience, the key to growing your author platform and then keeping it going strong is to build a real community around your book on social media. Your aim shouldn’t just be to promote your book to your audience for a certain amount of time and then stop, but instead, to gather a group of like-minded people you can interact with, give advice to, answer questions for, and truly, become friends with, for the long haul.

Hosting Facebook parties and Twitter chats (like the one I did with BookBaby earlier this month) is a great way to get your community involved and interacting with you and each other. Starting discussions by asking questions is another effective method of interacting, but even just setting aside one day a week to respond to your followers’ posts on your pages will go a long way in making them feel they have a meaningful relationship with you, and that they truly belong to a real community of friends.

These four strategies have worked for me in the promotion of my own books, and they can work for you too. And once you’ve built up that loyal, enthusiastic following online, don’t be surprised if they start clamoring for another book! You might just find that you have a ready-made audience chomping at the bit to buy your book and make you the successful author you’ve always dreamed of becoming.

 

Twitter Guide

 

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Shama Hyder

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder has written 2 posts in this blog.

Shama Hyder is a web and TV personality, bestselling author, and award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama is the author of bestselling The Zen of Social Media Marketing, now in its fouth edition and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, which launched in 2016. An acclaimed international keynote speaker, Shama has shared the speaking stage with the world’s top leaders, including President Obama and the Dalai Lama.

12 thoughts on “How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Author Platform and Sell Your Book

  1. Gina says:

    How do you get on Twitter if you do not have a cell phone? How do you get on Facebook if you are using a pen name?

    1. JoAnne says:

      Gina,
      I’m not aware that you have to have a cell phone to get on any social network such as Facebook or twitter. Log in with your computer and sign up.
      As for using a pen name, it’s used to identify you. So just pick such as your first name or use your first and last letter of your name and then maybe your favorite numbers. Or come up with your favorite character.
      Hope this helps.

  2. Gina says:

    You must put in a mobile phone number to sign up for Twitter. This was not so before, but it is now. I was on Twitter for a few years, deleted my acct for privacy reasons, then tried to sign up again. Couldn’t do it. Facebook requires you to use your “legal name, so everyone knows it’s you.” FB does not accept a pen name, author name, nickname, maiden name etc. I am also very concerned abt privacy, so I avoid FB anyway.

    1. Hannah says:

      Gina, I think you’ll find that for privacy, Facebook has a lot of options about who can see your posts or not. But to be a successful author in this day and age, I think to be ‘visible’ one has to compromise on a little privacy, sometimes as regards showing your face or speaking out or commenting on other people’s pages or posts. On the other hand, Facebook does allow you to open an author page. I guess this must be done with one’s real name, but I don’t know if that person’s name will be visible forever thereafter. But that’s another option an author can take, a way to share with readers and followers.

      1. The writer EMILY BOLD is on Facebook, with an author’s page, and she is not called Emily Bold in real life.

    2. That’s news to me. You can create Facebook accounts with all kinds of pseudonyms. Believe me. And without cellphone numbers. You can even post on Instagram from your Windows PC if you download the free Windows
      app “Instapic”. You don’t need a cellphone.

  3. Ugonna says:

    What other way is that? And how can one open an author page on Facebook?

  4. Mary Morehead Luce says:

    What are some Mommy Blogs? I have some children’s books I’d like to promote.

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