Using Social Media to Interact with Readers
Social media has many benefits, and social media for writers is a great way to develop, grow, and maintain an audience of devoted readers. Audience development is important not only for sales and income but also for the longevity of your book and potential future books. Social media provides a direct line to readers and other writers. It’s a tool you should definitely utilize when developing your audience.
Which Social Networking Sites Should Writers Use?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+—all of these social media sites can all be overwhelming if you didn’t grow up with the Internet. For Millennials and Gen Z, the Internet is kind of second nature at this point. For others, it may not be that simple.
We cannot stress how important social media for writers is. It’s your way to interact with other writers and readers as well as promote your book for free. Nothing beats that.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will be the most beneficial social media for writers, as they lend themselves well to writing and book discussions. Facebook and Twitter make it easy to share links to online writing, author websites, and sites where readers can buy your book. It’s easy and cost-efficient to create targeted ads on these sites as well.
YouTube requires a little more effort, and there will be a slight learning curve if you don’t already have video experience. The benefits of video marketing are astronomical. According to research, 45% of people watch over an hour of videos online each week and YouTube has over a billion users (and more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day).
How you promote your book and cultivate an audience on these sites will be different for each.
Why is Social Media for Writers so Important?
It’s 2019. Everyone is on some form of social media, especially businesses. Self-publishing books is a business and the audience is the customer. Social media is a great way to make both personal and professional connections. Your writing is your product, and your social media profile is the marketplace. Ultimately, it provides visibility and accessibility. If you’re visible, it’s easier for potential readers to find you. If you’re accessible, this gives them the feeling of a relationship beyond reading.
Social media is a place for your to share your writing, both your self-published book and any additional writing. Whether this is in the form of blogging, freelancing, fan fiction, etc., your social media profiles will come in handy when sharing it. It’s a great way to gain new readers as well as maintain ones you already have.
Social media has become, for innumerable people, a digital community, a place full of friends who share their interests. It bridges the distance, connecting people from all over the world. As a writer, what could possibly be better than that?
Building Your Audience on Facebook
Facebook is the perfect way to keep in touch with family, old friends and new. Even if all you have is a personal Facebook account, sharing the news of your self-published book with your connections will increase your sales. Word of mouth is great, and Facebook will amplify that. Ask family and friends to share your posts concerning your book so that their network sees it, as well.
If you’d like to go above and beyond a personal account, you could create an official author fan page. It’s very simple; follow these steps:
- From your Facebook home page, click “Create” in the upper right hand corner. Select “Page” from the menu.
- You will be presented with two options: “Business or Brand” and “Community or Public Figure.” Select the second.
- Next you’ll type in “Page Name” as well as “Category.” We recommend either using just your name or your name followed by “Author” or “Writer” (e.g. “John Smith Author”). For “Category” you will select “Author.”
- Select continue. You will now be able to fill in information about yourself and your work. Invite family, friends, and coworkers to Like your page, and get posting!
Facebook Live’s Advantage
Facebook Live allows you to broadcast live to your Facebook feed. It combines the power of video with the connection of Facebook.
Facebook Live was introduced in April of 2016. Facebook partnered with Buzzfeed to premiere the function. The live stream was quite silly: Buzzfeed workers wanted to see how many rubber bands they could fit around a watermelon before it would explode. They tested this using the new Facebook Live feature. The video lasted for forty-four minutes, and amassed 800,000 concurrent views. Under a week later, 10 million people had watched the video.
Since then, companies, celebrities, and regular Facebook users have used Facebook Live.
Use Facebook Live for special occurrences to build hype. Some as simple as putting rubber bands on a watermelon drew so many viewers because it was strange, and there was suspense. The build up is what kept people watching the video—they had come this far, so they wanted to actually see it happen. You, as a writer, can create a similar hype around your Live videos. Here are some ideas for using Facebook Live to reach and build your audience:
- Q and A sessions with readers, as Facebook users can comment to ask questions during the video.
- Announcements of events or new projects.
- Short readings.
Engaging with a Writing Community on Twitter
Twitter is possibly the most important social media for writers.
As with any social media site, it’s important to understand the give and take of social media for writers. Don’t promote your work nonstop, 24/7. Interact with other writers and readers. Share links to interesting articles, essays, and short stories. Provide insight into your writing process, ask questions about others’, offer advice, and seek it.
Social media is both promotional and personal. It’s a great way to market yourself and your work, but it’s also how your readers will get to know you. If you have an accessible and personable online persona, your reader base will feel that much closer to you, and that audience will grow.
Here are some tips for becoming involved in a writing community on Twitter:
- Search for other writers (whether they write books, short fiction, online articles, etc.) and follow them. Engage with their work in a meaningful way, reading and retweeting.
- Follow hashtags such as #amwriting or #WIP (work in progress).
- Post work you’ve written, whether this is in the form of a blog post, an article for an online site, or a short story or poem in a literary journal.
- Find a balance between self-promotion and the promotion of others’ work. Remember the give and take of a community.
If you do these things, you’ll find your followers list and your interactions growing. Once these relationships are built, you’ll have a whole new audience of readers to buy, read, and love your book.
Exploring the Possibilities of YouTube
As we mentioned previously, the amount of people who view YouTube videos daily is staggering. One inventive way to use YouTube as well as draw in an audience is to create book trailers. Book trailers are like movie trailers, and they’re used to promote your book, tease what it’s about, and excite future readers.
Book trailers will be fun and engaging for the audience you already have, and because of social media algorithms, you’ll attract other readers who may be interested in your book based on other books they’ve read, searched, etc.
Social media will be your best friend for book promotion and what comes after. It’s a great way to boost sales (for free!) and gain a vast audience. You can develop and nurture that relationship by meaningful interactions on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.