Saturday, November 18, 2017

Let's Get Social

Social media is here, whether you like it or not. At the same time, more and more writers are pursuing online publishing, filling Amazon’s inventory with all sorts of ebooks. Many of these writers have turned to Facebook and other social media platforms to promote their books. Unfortunately, just as many find that even with diligent attention to social media, they’re promotions are going nowhere. Why is that?

The trick behind using social media outlets is to connect like-minded people. But the group most writers seem to attract is other writers. Other writers won’t necessarily buy your books or send other writing work your way. They’re too busy trying to sell their own books and writing services. So who do you connect? Readers.

Just saying “Buy my book” won’t get you additional readers. But getting your readers interested in your subject will. Some social media users even try connecting their followers to other followers.

There was a time when Facebook was for making friends. And though it still has that friendly environment, it has matured. If you don’t have an author page, if you write books, or a business page, if you do other types of writing, you should definitely set one up. This is your professional or “fan” page. It’s the page that will keep your fans, that is your readers, up to date on your what’s happening in your professional life. Readers “like” this page. They aren’t there as friends but as customers or buyers. 

Your professional page is where you offer readers some extra value—a behind-the-scenes look at your work, for example.

Use your page to promote your writing, but also use it to ask your fans why they like your work. Facebook is the type of social media platform that encourages readers to share their personal insights and lives much more, and you can capitalize on that through your page. Ask questions, run polls, offer contests. Interact with your readers in a way not related to your books or other writing, then use the feedback you get to become more personal to your fans.

Offer your readers some insights into your subject matter. For instance, why you chose a particular location for your novel or what makes you passionate about the non-fiction subject that you last wrote about.

And don’t forget to use images. Facebook users thrive on them. Have photos taken of you signing your books or have someone else take a few, even with their smartphone. Or you might take photos of the locations of your short stories or novels, if they’re based on real places. Text only posts on Facebook rarely get much attention. You need to pair your text with an image or a meme.

If you attend writers’ or book conferences, be sure to take photos and bring your readers with you. Post different ones every day. Too many writers are afraid that if they mention or show the work of other writers that they’ll move away from them. Why do you think so many businesses set up shop near other businesses of the same type? Competition is good for business.

Encourage your fans to share your posts with their friends on Facebook. Get them to talk up your books. After all, they like them or they wouldn’t be following you on Facebook. Ask them to help you find more fans—but not too often.

Be careful about encouraging likes from other writers who want you to like their page in return. That will get you a bunch of likes, but it won’t get you anywhere with your promotions. That’s the only reason they liked you to get a like back.

Next Week: Setting up a Cross Platform

Learn more about me on my Web site, Writing at Its Best, and on my Facebook Page.