5 Things to Take Care of Before You Start Posting on Social Media
1. A great profile picture and cover picture
This is who you are.
Make your profile picture your mugshot. While I’m sure your cat is the cutest thing in the world, ad so is your child, no one is interested to see them when they’re trying to find out more about your book. This profile picture is to ensure people, potential buyers, publishers, agents, editors, colleagues in the industry, are able to find you easily. So it has to be a close-up, clear, bright picture of yourself. Also ensure that your profile picture is the same across all platforms for consistency.
Your cover picture can be anything that’s related to your work or your book. Include the cover of your upcoming book. Or include an illustrated version of your main character or a photograph that depicts the theme of the story. If you write murder mysteries, no one actually wants to see a pretty picture of snow-capped mountains as your cover image. Unless of course, someone in your book has been pushed off those mountains. If you have a website or a blog, you can overlap the images with the text pointing to them. This is best time to put important information that will grab everyone’s attention.
Top Tip: Design your cover images on www.canva.com, which has pre-designed templates, so you won’t have to bother with the correct sizes.
2. The ‘About Me’ section
Use this space and don’t be shy.
While we don’t need your height or weight, we do need to know your writing history, links to magazines that may have published your pieces, why do you write, what do you write about, where do you get your inspiration from, when is your book coming out, et al. Put in the most essential information here, including Amazon or Goodreads links. You can also edit the About Me settings to include all your website, blog and social media links.
3. Decide on a posting frequency
Each social media platform works on different principals, obviously. And growing your following does not just depend on the content. It also depends on how often you post and when you post.
Coschedule has a brilliant info-graphic (you’ll have to scroll down for it), that explains what time of the day posts perform more successfully than others. My other favorite resources is this brilliant article from Buffer. Definitely check it out!
Instagram posts perform better when posted early in the morning, Twitter in the afternoon, and so on. Although the information has been pooled together from users based in USA, the general public around the world still uses social media the same way, and the same timings can be applied in other countries based on their specific time zones.
Top Tip: Use scheduling apps (all of them have freemium and premium versions, and the freemium works perfectly fine for indie authors) like Buffer, Hootsuite, TweetDeck etc to schedule your social media updates at the most efficient times. You can also use the default “Schedule Post” option when you create posts on your Facebook Page.
4. Cross-post, cross-post, cross post
No one knows where your next book sale will come from.
Hence, cross-post like a crazy monkey. You don’t know if the next buyer is lurking around on Instagram or stalking you on Facebook or if they just stumbled upon your ludicrous blog on Wordpress. So, the best thing to do is ensure all your important information, posts, pictures, announcements, rants and excerpts go up on every platform you’re active on.
I come across plenty of new authors, who’ll say something in the lines of, “I posted a rant on my blog. Who would want to read that on Instagram?!”
Just choose a pretty font and relative artwork or a pretty frame, well-researched tags and watch the likes and follows.
Top Tip: take note of the format and image sizes. Posts will act and display differently on different platforms. You may want to make a text post on Facebook, whereas the same text post will not perform well on Tumblr, unless you include a picture.
5. Consistency is key
Social media marketing is a commitment. You can’t just post on a Monday and then completely forget about your accounts for the rest of the week.
You’ll have to decide which social media platform works best for you. Do an initial experiment where you post regularly on every platform. You’ll realize which platform is serving up more active followers, and which platforms you are actually enjoying engaging with. The keywords here are “active followers”. If you don’t have active followers on your page, scouting agents and publishers will know and your leverage of having a “base audience” so that your books are easy sells, will not work. Here is also where those post-scheduling apps work well (see #4).
For example, Tumblr and Twitter are the go-tos for many writers. Take a look at how John Green is active on Tumblr and Margaret Atwood on Twitter. Some swear by Pinterest. Freelance writers who actively look for writing jobs, like LinkedIn a lot. Instagram works brilliantly for Rupi Kaur. Youtube works for Sasha Alsberg.
Top Tip: Take note of what kind of content these writers are creating and figure out which ones you can produce yourself. If you need help with getting started, or looking for ideas on what to post when you’re just starting out, check this list out.
For me personally, Facebook and Instagram work best on 1–3 posts a day. I haven’t found much success on Twitter and I’m about to delve into the world of Youtube.
Social Media needs consistency and hard work, can be fun and unbelievably satisfying when your follower base starts growing. Just keep at it!
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