Your author platform relies heavily on a social media presence. There, I said it. So if you hate social media, you’re going to have a harder time hitting your stride as a successful author with a dedicated following. So when it comes to online book marketing strategies, your social media can both contribute to, and deter from your author platform if you’re not careful.
But is there one single thing you can do to really harm your author platform? The answer is yes, and this article will explore that.
Harnessing Social Media to Grow Your Author Platform
Social media, when done the right way, can really help to grow your author platform. The issue is that a lot of authors grab profiles on all social media sites and put them up on their websites, thinking that they need to be everywhere as part of their online book marketing strategies, but this isn’t true. And it feels like a small detail, right? I mean why shouldn’t you grab all of your names across social platforms. Seems smart, doesn’t it? But there’s another way to look at this. Let’s dig deeper.
Don’t Be Everywhere, Be Everywhere That Matters
The truth is, you likely only need to be on one or two social media sites. How you determine this is by figuring out where your readership is and knowing what kind of audience any particular social media site attracts.
An easy way to determine the best social site is to review other, similar authors in your genre who have been at this for a while. Authors who have a solid author platform, and a solid author brand. Spend a couple of hours really reviewing where they spend the bulk of their time on social media and this will start to give you an idea of where you should be.
It’s easy to default to Facebook or Twitter for your social efforts, but honestly, that may not be the right for your author platform at all. Here’s a quick snapshot, and a quick profile of each of the main social sites to consider:
Facebook: The biggest of them all is good for group discussion, or for groups in general. But these require management. Meaning if you’re going to grow your base here, be prepared to step in quite frequently when you’re evaluating your online book marketing strategies.
Twitter: Imagine you’re in a room with a million people (or a billion) and you want to start networking. That’s where Twitter – and a corresponding hashtag or hashtags comes in. Twitter is a great author platform for non-fiction authors, in particular, but I know a lot of fiction authors who love it there, too. You just have to be ready with interesting updates and relevant hashtags. It’s literally one, big networking party and for the right author, it can be a great resource.
But Don’t Stop There
Instagram: This image-heavy site is a favorite author platform among those who want to step out into the world using imagery. If the idea of using images isn’t your thing, or specialty, when it comes to developing your online book marketing strategies – this site may not be for you. But Instagram is fast becoming a wonderful hub for authors of all genres.
It may be harder to grow groups here, or start-up discussions, but still a great resource. The thing that I love about Instagram is that when someone clicks on your profile, all of your wonderful images show up – even stuff you posted months and months ago. That’s always harder to do with Facebook because older stuff scrolls off the page and is less visible.
Pinterest: We don’t hear as much about this powerhouse site when it comes to online book marketing strategies, but it’s still as relevant today as it was a few years ago. Pinterest is great if you want to segment your topic into “boards.” So, for example, you can divide up your historical fiction book by a research board, a clothing board (what people wore during that time period), a character board – you get the idea.
Much like Instagram, the images don’t scroll off the screen, so you tend to get people seeing everything you did on your author platform, rather than the last image you posted. But keep in mind that Pinterest is image-driven, too. So if images aren’t your thing, this might not be the greatest place for you.
There are other sites, of course, Clubhouse, Tiktok, and Goodreads – but again it’s important to pick your battles. Meaning only invest your time in a social site, or sites, that are going to help drive engagement and be lucrative contributions to your online book marketing strategies.
What to Do With Multiple Profiles
There’s no reason you can’t grab your name or your brand name on all social platforms, of course, but what I’d suggest is that you put a message up there to “follow me @therealbookgal on Instagram” (or wherever you’re driving people to). That way you can still grab your branding, but you don’t have to worry about updating multiple profiles or looking like you abandoned your author platform.
And that’s another issue. When you have lots of social icons on your website and direct people to all of these profiles, what they see impacts their view of you as an author. If you haven’t been active on all of the sites you list, it’s time to make some tough choices. Getting rid of Facebook? Take the icon off of your website and put up a message on Facebook that invites readers and followers to follow you at XYZ profile.
Why Less Is More (When It Comes to Social Media)
Having fewer profiles means less work, yes, but it also means you’ll have more focused time to update and polish the remaining profiles you utilize for your author platform. It means you can concentrate your efforts (and your time) on building a base on one or two sites, instead of five. When you’re not spread as thin, your end result will be better and more thoughtful, and growing your base on these sites will start to feel less like an uphill climb, and more intuitive.
Social media takes up a lot of time, but so does writing, and all of the other online book marketing strategies you’ve teed up. So being smart about your social media choices will help you not just with your overall author platform and author brand, but a more concentrated effort will really help you grow fans and followers faster. And isn’t that what we all want?
Let me know which social media platform is your top choice and why!
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