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 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.
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