Q – As an author when should you start to build your social media network?
A – Long before you start writing your book!
Q – Why?
A – Because selling is a lot easier when you have built the relationship first.
Let me ask you a question. Will you buy my book? Unless you know me, you are probably going to say no. Rapid mental barriers will be raised: Who are you? What do you write? How much is the book? But, if I go to my mother and ask her the same question she is going to say, “Yes, dear. Of course. I should buy two.” Because she is my mother, she will support my every endeavor. Let’s ask my good friends. They too will answer, “Of course, Rachel. Yea for you!” Now, let’s ask all my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram follows and a large percentage will buy my book just because I wrote it. Why? Because I have spent years building relationships with every one of them. It’s not like we are all “besties.” But my posts have shown up in their feed over the last few years, and they have gotten to know me… or at least the public me (which for me goes hand in hand with the private me.) I’ve built my social media persona as a wacky, crazy, drinking, serial divorcee, who writes books. Totally me. So let me ask you, who are you? The public you. The writer. The artist. Is this person different at home? Deciding who you are as the author is very important and I feel the first step you take in establishing your social media presence. – Deciding who you are as the author. This goes hand in hand with deciding what your message is on social media. Are you going to post nothing but cat pictures until you publish you book and then hit people with a buy me book post? Do you think that will work? You guessed it, nope! Moreover, you can’t just keep posting pictures of your books and saying “buy my book.” People will unlike, unfriend, or unfollow you quickly if that is all you post. Do you want to post inspirational writings? Maybe you like College Humor videos and think that will help brand you. Whatever you decide to say or post is what people will start to know you by. So if you all about posting religious psalms and then ask people to buy your racy romance novel you might be sending mixed messages to social media following, just saying. – Deciding your message. Next, you need to know your social media platforms and get set up on them. There are many platforms but the major ones are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google. Get to know what works well on each one by following others and critiquing your response to their posts. I’d say a long winded rant on Instagram is lost on the masses. Most people just want to look at the pretty picture. Just like, posting “Buy my book” and a hyperlink on twitter is going to get you nothing. Do your research! – Know your platforms and what works well on them. Another quick tip, autocorrect does not love you. It doesn’t love anyone. It will mess up your posts quicker than a Kardashian can find good lighting. You’re an author; proofread before posting. Always use good grammar and spelling. My god! If your posts are a heap of misspellings what does that say about your book, especially if you are self-published. And tag and hashtag! Tag the place where the photo was taken. Tag the people in the photo. Hashtag the sentiment (#happy) or the event (#runforthecure). Don’t hashtag to point of overkill, but, it gets your picture out there in front of more people. I have one FB friend who owns a store (which I don’t frequent), but she tags me in every dog picture she posts. And yup, the post is always about her store! My friend’s habit is a clear case of FB friend abuse. She’s using my tag to force her store’s ad on to all my followers. If you do it once a year., or for a special occasion, like a book launch, that’s fine. Hijacking my friends list every friggin’ month… is a big fat “no no!” – Grammar, spelling, tagging, and catching bad autocorrections is a must. One last tip. Don’t drunk post. Unless of course, this trait is part of your public persona. Then post away and deal with the fallout in the morning. Personally, I’m known for silly late night writing and drinking posts and boy, if you take me to a sports game beware of my Twitter feed! (I’m not a sports fan, but I love my husband… and he bought me a lot of spiked hot chocolate to keep me warm at a Chiefs game once… my twitter following spiked at that game.) So, all in all, know who you are. Know what you want to say. Be known for what you say. Be genuine and real and engage in conversations with your audience. When your book publishes you can say “buy my book” with confidence that people will buy it… because they like you. And that my friends gets you started in marketing.