Use Social Media to Sell Your Book

This article originally appears on Blurb’s Blog.

Welcome to 2017! This year you resolve to use the Internet to help sell your book and build your brand.

First on the list: It’s time to refresh your social media presence. Though I am speaking as a person from the first generation who grew up with the internet, I can understand that it’s easier said than done. Many are opposed to having a personal social media account, and I get it — you don’t want to get “sucked in”, you’re a private person, etc.

But guess what? This ISN’T personal, it’s business. Having a social media presence is essentially free advertising and PR. It allows your fans to share your work and keep up with your recent projects. For example, as Blurb’s Social Media Manager, I do my best to track down authors on social media so I can tag them in posts I make when I admire their work. But more often than not, authors don’t have a social media profile. Or when they do, it’s not updated or has been abandoned years ago. How can I share the love if I can’t tag you?

With so many different social media platforms, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So allow me to break it down for you with Must-Have Apps and Social Media Power Tips.

Must-Have Social Media Apps

1. Instagram

Arguably the most popular social media platform out there, Instagram is my #1 must-have social app to use for your business. Instagram is all about the visual! So tell the story of your book or project using your camera phone.

  • Make sure you set up a business page. This allows you to categorize your profile and add calls-to-action to your bio area.
  • You can’t link to websites within posts, so make sure your bio link is always up-to-date.
  • Use hashtags to increase your exposure, i.e. #TravelTuesday, #FBF, #Shelfie

2. Twitter

Though Twitter may be decreasing in general popularity, I’m a firm believer that it’s a must-have for business. Twitter is more focused on your business compared to Facebook, which is mostly focused on personal relationships. More and more, people are using Twitter as a way to get breaking news, follow like-minded people (not just family and friends), and keep updated on sales. For example, through Twitter I’ve been introduced to new music, been recommended for a job, followed a freelancer who I later hired, and had customer service issues resolved in record time!

3. Facebook

Many of you might be asking why Facebook is so low on my list of Must-Haves. Well, with Facebook’s feed algorithm update early last year, it’s seen a sharp decline in organic activity from a business standpoint. In many cases, you must spend money with paid advertising to get your posts seen by your own fans. Yet, even with these changes, Facebook is still the most universal social platform. Therefore, you can’t ignore it!

  • Make sure you set up a business page, not a personal one, for your brand. Personal pages have caps on followers and doesn’t allow you to sponsor posts or events.
  • Add yourself into groups, follow other authors, etc.

Power Tips for Social Media Beginners

Username 101. Keep it simple! If you are an author, use your first and last name. Or use the name of your project series. With project names, avoid using hard to spell words or using numbers as letters. Say it aloud; try to stick to something easy to pronounce. Also, do your best to use the same user handle across every social media platform. This makes it much easier for your fans to follow you everywhere.

Cross Promote. Did you write a blog? Publish your book on Amazon? Share your news on every single channel. It may feel like overkill, but hey–there’s nothing wrong with shameless self-promotion. If you don’t, who will?!

Post Regularly. I recommend you post daily. Or at least 2–3 times per week. No one wants to follow an account that only posts once in a blue moon. Don’t have time to post every day? Use a free product, like Buffer, to schedule your posts throughout the week. It even has a great Instagram plug-in. It also allows you to schedule retweets from Twitter. It’s honestly my favorite social media tool!

Don’t Just Post About Your Project. Mix in articles that are related to your project/brand, or something you think your followers would like. Retweet friends or positive praise. Share quotes or even a fun GIF that relates to your project. People love a peek behind the scenes; share sketches of your layout, outtakes from a photo shoot, or a handwritten note from a fan. Want to get more personal? Consider sharing personal stories or photos to help humanize your project.

Grow Your Following. You may be tempted to buy followers from a third party website. But don’t do it! These followers will be fake bots, and will not strengthen your brand. The only organic way to grow your audience is by getting involved! Start by following other like-minded accounts. Like, favorite, and share posts that you admire or that relate your own project. Comment on posts that interest you and get a conversation started. The more involved you are, the more likely other will get involved on your pages.

Try Advertising. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Facebook and Twitter allow you to have complete control on ad spend. You can choose to advertise based on a daily budget or a lifetime budget. I’ve seen amazing results from just $100. What can you advertise? Promote a book signing or community event you’re putting on. You can also customize your audience so that you promote your business page to only people in your area or those with similar interests.

Tell me about your adventures on social media! Do you have some tips of your own? Share with us in the comments below!

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