Though I’m a fan of social media and how we can use it to cultivate a community and reach more people, I think we’ve been oversold on the idea that we need to have our hands in all the cookie jars. The pressure to engage in social media has left many authors feeling frustrated by the lack of results and overwhelmed by what to do next.

Here’s some good news: you don’t have to tackle ALL the social media networks. Simply pick one or two—the ones where your target audience spends the most time—and leverage those well. Currently, the top networks are:

  • Instagram – Targeting a younger audience with visual content.
  • Facebook – A broad audience reach that can require some investment in advertising. One exception: Facebook groups are free and an effective way to build a tribe.
  • LinkedIn – Ideal for business-related topics and connections.
  • Twitter – A broad audience that uses the platform like a search engine to find content.
  • Pinterest – Primarily women interested in recipes, home decorating, arts and crafts, wedding planning, fashion, and shopping.
  • YouTube – While this is a video-based social platform that operates quite differently from the others, YouTube is a powerful option for anyone who wants to create videos that are instructional, humorous, or both.

Know Your Audience

Just as with your book readers and your website visitors, it’s important to understand where your audience spends time on social media and what will motivate them to connect.

  • Social media marketing is not about you or your book; it is always about your audience.
  • Who do you want to reach and how can you serve them? For example, if you have written a memoir about your career as a high school teacher, fellow teachers would be an ideal focus.
  • What does your audience care about? What do they want to learn? What are their challenges and needs?
  • Bottom line: know your audience and how you are going to engage them by providing value.

Use These Content Creation Guidelines

Content is king in the world of social media—you need something to talk about, while also providing value for your audience. Your blog should be the heart of your strategy. It gives you something to share on social media and drives traffic to your site. Following are some additional tips.

  • Use captivating headlines for blog content and social media posts. In today’s world of short attention spans, people scan content and make ultra-quick decisions about what to click for more information.
  • Consider how magazines attract readers. Sizzling titles can make all the difference in luring in an audience of readers. Magazines feature titles like these:
    • 10 ways to overcome insomnia,
    • 12 reasons to eat more fiber,
    • How to empty your inbox in 15 minutes or less.
  • Leverage content from other sources. If you are an expert on food allergies, share articles related to food allergies. If you are an advocate for holistic ways to conquer breast cancer, share all related articles you can find. Yes, even posts from your competitors. Especially posts from your competitors! Isn’t it better to build alliances and support each other by cross-promoting? My personal philosophy is that there is plenty of business to go around.
  • Share memes, which are images that feature an inspiring quote or a brief excerpt from a book. Memes are some of the most popular content found in social media land. Create yours with a tool like Canva.
  • Share statistics and facts with eye-catching infographics.
  • Share links to any media coverage you receive.
  • Announce awards you win or honors you receive.
  • Promote your online classes, coaching programs, and other offers.
  • Engage your audience in the process of developing your new books. Ask them to vote on prospective titles and book covers.
  • Ask questions and engage your community.
  • Conduct polls or surveys and then share the results.
  • Share each new blog post, plus additional content, across all your social networks, if you participate in more than one.

Author challenge:

It’s important to share content and engage with your audience each day. Brainstorm ideas for content you can cultivate and share with your audience.


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