Using social media to promote your books is all I heard when I started publishing. But how relevant are they today? To my surprise, there are now many more ways to use them—ways you may not have even heard of!
This guest post by Ronita Mohan explains the best ways to use social media in 2019 to increase your book sales. Ronita is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. She is an avid reader with an interest in mystery fiction, history, graphic novels, marketing, and diversity. Twitter: @Venngage
5 Ways Authors Can Use Social Media to Promote Books
Social media has traditionally been a great area to promote books. But with so many channels available, how do you choose the right one for you and what method do you use to promote your books?
Alongside regular posts on social media, there is the option to promote your content, or to advertise if you have some budget set aside to spend on posts.
But there are also some unpaid and organic methods you can adopt to grow your audience and promote your books.
In this article, I will break down five popular social media channels with suggestions on how to promote your books on those channels.
Facebook is still one of the biggest channels in the social media sphere and authors can leverage its popularity to spread awareness about their books.
While many authors will have a personal Facebook account, when it comes to book promotion, it is highly recommended that you create a dedicated author page (if you haven’t already).
An author page is distinct from your personal profile and allows you to keep your two lives separate from each other.
But an author page also has additional features such as analytics and insights that will help you understand what kind of posts are doing well.
You can also create events, and polls that will increase engagement on your Facebook page.
Authors can also join Facebook groups that are more intimate and controlled environments to connect fellow authors and readers.
However, when it comes to Facebook, my major recommendation to authors would be to use Facebook Live.
Since Facebook acquired Instagram, the channel has been updating itself and adding features that have now made the platform more competitive with popular channels such as Snapchat.
One such feature is Facebook Live and it allows people to stream a live feed from wherever they are.
Facebook Live is a great way to interact with fans and readers—it’s intimate, it’s personal, it shows your human side to readers and makes you more relatable.
You can use Facebook Live for book launches, live Q&As, and to host a Facebook contest.
And the great thing about Facebook Live is that you don’t need any specialised equipment—a phone or laptop are all you need.
If you want to make Facebook work for your book promotion, start going Live.
Twitter may not be as popular as it used to be but that doesn’t mean that it can be discounted as a powerful channel to promote your books.
As a news resource and a tool for engagement, Twitter is still well ahead of its fellow channels.
This also, unfortunately, means that there are a lot of trolls and anonymous argumentative accounts that can make the Twitter experience harrowing.
However, with the judicious use of the mute and block buttons, you can actively engage with your audience and create a positive book-promoting experience.
There are numerous ways to grow your following on Twitter, but the best way to use the platform is to create a community.
And while you can build a Twitter community with regular posts, and threaded posts, one method you may not be using, but should, is Twitter Moments.
We know that Twitter is great for sharing snippets of your authoring life—when you’ve started writing your book, how much your word count is, whether you’re at the editing stage, or meeting with your publisher.
And readers and fans love following these posts—it gets them excited for the eventual book that will be released.
When you are all set to promote your new book, you can bring all those posts together to create memorable Moments that show your audience your book-writing journey.
It’s a great tool that effectively shares a story and brings your readers into your world. So, if you haven’t tried using Twitter Moments yet, start planning it out now.
Instagram is taking over the world—it’s one of the fastest growing social platforms and has been steadily adding more and more features every year.
Book lovers make up a large niche of Instagrammers—authors, fans, readers, and influencers have all created a vibrant and active community that translates to better book promotion facilities.
The important thing to remember with Instagram is that it is entirely visual-led—photographs, videos, and cinemagraphs are the bread and butter of this channel.
Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are another popular way to engage with audiences—like Facebook Live, they give fans an intimate look into the authoring process.
But there is a new feature on Instagram that could make a massive difference to how authors sell their books on social media—Shoppable posts.
Shoppable on Instagram
Instagram launched Shoppable in 2018 in select countries and updated it in 2019 to include more features.
Shoppable essentially allows Instagram users to buy products from within the platform.
Shoppable posts are self-contained within Instagram—in other words, they don’t require users to click to visit a website. A purchase can be completed in-app.
This is a massive boon to anyone selling items on Instagram—you don’t need to add links in bios, or encourage people to complete more steps to buy your books.
Simply create a post or Instagram Story and tag your book with the relevant details and users will be able to buy your book right from the post or Story.
You will need a business account to set up Instagram Shoppable but that doesn’t take long to set up and the benefit to your sales can be massive.
YouTube is currently the second-largest search engine in the world. Yes, people are visiting YouTube to search for answers for everything from the best restaurants to the newest authors.
On the flipside, YouTube has never been more personal than it is right now.
There are hundreds of vloggers sharing every aspect of their daily lives—and monetising it—which makes YouTube the ideal platform to go behind the scenes into an author’s life.
YouTube Personal Vlogs
The book promotion process shouldn’t start only after a book has been launched. You need to draw in readers well before that.
Like with Twitter Moments, you could be using YouTube to share your book-writing journey with your audience.
But with YouTube, you need to get more involved—a 250-character post will not cut it on YouTube. Instead, you will want to showcase your personal side.
In fact, when creating a YouTube vlog, you should plan to use it in ways that aren’t solely tied to your book promotion. Talking about the book industry, or other hobbies will help you draw in audiences long after your book has been published and while you’re working on your next one.
You can choose to do confessional-style vlogs where you sit in front of a camera and talk about your book journey, or make produced videos where you add in text and transitions.
Both require editing to some degree and they have their own audiences, so do your research in advance of starting your YouTube vlog channel.
Despite Pinterest’s growing success, people still tend to associate the platform with cupcake recipes and home improvement.
But Pinterest has become a great channel for marketing success and authors have been getting more traction on this platform than many have realized.
Pinterest has a simple layout and an algorithm that works unlike most other platforms—it doesn’t bunch up all your pins so users only see posts from select users (which often leads to unfollows).
Instead, Pinterest’s algorithm studies people’s likes and pins to determine what kind of posts they would like to see.
So, if Pinterest users are looking at more book-related posts, there is a high chance your content will be recommended to them even if they aren’t following you.
Which is why the content you create should be super-relevant to your audience. And what better way to keep people interested than with a how-to guide or tutorial?
How-to tutorials and infographics are popular posts on Pinterest and you can use an infographic maker to create writing-related infographics to pin on your account.
The tutorials you create can cover a variety of topics—how to find an agent, steps to planning out a novel, and editing dos and don’ts.
For fans and aspiring writers, your tips will not only make for engaging content but will encourage them to follow you to see more content.
This will eventually lead to more eyes on your book promotions and more book sales.
If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, you should definitely do so now.
These five platforms have brought success to authors promoting their books and you should be creating accounts on these channels if you haven’t already.
Alongside the platforms, I have outlined one underutilised method of book promotion authors can exploit to reach their audiences and sell more books.