I’m not going to lie, social media platforms can be scary and intimidating. As an author it took a lot of research, trial, and error. It’s taken me years to figure out what works best for me in marketing and gaining new followers who actually love to read and write like me. And I want to share it all with you in the hopes that my method might help you as well.
This is the number one platform for authors right now. It is full of millions upon millions of readers and writers all across the world! Of course you’ll get your paid promoters and scammers but it’s actually pretty easy to find the real bibliophiles out there too. I would suggest you post every day, whatever time works best for you. Once a day is good enough. Everyone once in a while if you get something special and want to post twice that’s good too. Your content should be book-centered and of course, being the photocentric site it is, you should have a good pictures. When it comes to this I do a mixture. I post some photos of my private life; me reading, me writing, my reading and writing spaces, my pets (usually with books), personal bookstacks and photos of my bookshelves. I also like to create marketing photos for my books through PicMonkey. I’ll choose a background that goes with my theme for the month, like right now it’s autumn. Then I will add in my book cover or covers for a series and build my post around that to present my titles to my audience and try to make a new reader friend. I also try not to always make my Instagram all about me. That’s why I started up my weekly author spotlight blog posts so I can share other indie author’s works with my following. It feels good to give back to the community.
To get started, be sure you create a separate author Instagram from your private one and make it a business account. That way you can gain access to your insights to see what works and what doesn’t.
Gaining followers for your author Instagram is not as hard as it sounds. I’ve gotten into a pretty good rhythm and it’s great because so many of my followers are either authors and writers like me or they love to read and end up checking out my books. We talk about books and interact with each other. I always told myself I didn’t want to build a fan page with my social media; I’m building a community. I can’t expect everyone to follow me when I don’t bother to follow them. Here is the strategy I use to gain interactive followers;
I don’t know if you know this or not but there is a thing on Instagram called Bookstagram. It’s a great hashtag if you’re looking for one. Everyone uses it in the bookish community! When you start following enough reader people you’ll start to see posts that say “Book Follow Train”. Take part in them! It’s a great way to meet other authors and readers and gain new followers. My little secret is I not only participate but I also like all the people who liked that post. Sometimes readers don’t want to go through all the rules of following a book follow train but they’ll like the post. I’ll do this all week long, Monday through Friday, several times a day. In that time I probably end up following about a thousand people. In turn a few hundred will follow me back and I call that a win!
Another great way to gain followers for your brand is to look into the followers of authors who write books like yours. Those people already show an interest in that genre and will probably like yours too. Follow their followers. The ones that show interest in you and follow you back will be great additions to your community and sales. Since I’m building a community, I believe in two way communication. I give everyone until Sunday to follow me back if they’re going to. If they don’t, then I unfollow, or remove them from my community. Nothing harsh or against them. It’s just hard to interact with someone who doesn’t interact with you. There are many apps out there to help you keep track of who follows you and who doesn’t so you can do this successfully.
Another great method is to follow hashtags for your genre and follow people who post in it. I don’t use this one often enough but I should. These are all quick and steady ways to grow your Instagram with real readers. Nothing is better than gaining organic followers. Don’t ever pay for followers! Readers and writers don’t care about your numbers, they care about your content and interaction. I will say that Instagram takes up the majority of my time though. I am on there every other hour following more people and I have my comments turned on so every time someone leaves a comment on my post I can respond back to it almost immediately. That way we can get a dialogue going and I can make a new reader friend. That’s what it’s all about.
This is the second best author community for getting the word out about you and your books in my opinion. To get started you’ll want to create a page because you don’t want to use your private Facebook for your brand.
I like to make things easy so I streamline my Instagram posts to post directly to my Facebook page as well. I then share that post with all the author, writer, reader communities that I have joined. I will usually post it with a question to get everyone engaged that has something to do with what I posted. This is great for the private life photos, the #amreading photos, the bookstacks, the author spotlights. The only place you might get rejected is when you try to repost your marketing photos. A lot of groups have specific days they allow authors to promote their own books or they don’t allow it at all. With this I just suggest you read the guidelines to the groups and just try it out. If they say no they say no. And be sure to participate in these groups as well! You’ll make some great friends and possibly some new readers and fans.
Facebook is a slow and steady grow. There’s no secrets to gaining followers fast without spending a lot of money on advertisements, which I have given up on for now. I only gain a handful of people a week but they all interact with me and I have made some great friendships through it.
This may be a good platform for authors and readers. I can honestly say I don’t know except I never had much success with it. It seems like a good place for discussions. People on Twitter tend to be “keyboard warriors” though. They can be a little judgmental and mean if you disagree with them and they’ll try to ruin you or your brand because of it. If you do pursue Twitter as one of your main outlets I would warn you to proceed with caution. I tend to only use as an automated repost of my Instagram posts, to offer up the links for my Bookfunnel promotions, and share my blog posts. I never actually go onto the Twitter app to do anything really. I don’t interact on there or check my comments or messages. I’ve turned off all notifications. I do get some traffic on my website from Twitter so I wouldn’t say don’t share to it. I just want to warn that readers aren’t buying books because they saw them on Twitter. They’re buying because they saw it on Instagram or Facebook.
I do recommend you have a Pinterest, but I find it more helpful for gathering inspiration for my stories. This can, in turn, become marketing for other pinners to become interested in your work, but that’s not my main motive for using it. I create a board for each story and add pins to it as I find them that go along with the story or inspire me for my next writing project. I divide them up by series. I also have a board to repost my website blogs as well. I don’t really follow how many people are following me or repinning my pins. It’s nothing impressive I would say. But it’s still a fun creative outlet for authors.
I have a TikTok but it’s for my horse blog and not my writing or authorship. I don’t think I will start one for that because I never got into making the bookish videos like some people do on Instagram and TikTok. I am not charismatic in person, only in writing so I don’t feel comfy putting my face out there in videos doing goofy stuff all the time. If you are, then I say go for it because it seems to be a big draw and a trend right now. There are hashtags for readers and authors on TikTok just like on Instagram. I would say you could make a video with TikTok and repost it to Instagram even, like I do with my horse blog. Cross posting saves you so much time and energy. But when it comes to growing your presence on TikTok I can speak into that. It’s much the same as Instagram. Follow and some of the people will follow you back. You can look at followers of people who post in your genre and content style to gain followers you know already like to read your type of books. Once a week go into your following list and clear out the ones who don’t say friends but following. That’s how you know they never followed you back and don’t care to interact with you.
I will touch on this lightly since I plan to do an entire post about the author blog later, but just know it IS super important. This is a great way to drive readers and authors to your website which means they are that much closer to checking out and possibly buying one of your books! Yay! I have found that what works best for me is to post twice a week. I post one blog article that is helpful to other authors, like this one, and then one blog post featuring my Author Spotlight to help other authors and readers connect. It’s my way of giving back and it’s fun making new friends in this way. I created my two day schedule, I post on those two days every week. I write my blogs the week before and schedule them so they automatically post and share to my social media. The more you can automate everything the better!
I have discovered an app I really love where you can plan out your posts in advance and schedule them so they post automatically to Instagram and Facebook called Tailwind. I have paid the $100 for a year’s worth of service and it’s so worth it in my opinion because I can schedule an entire week’s worth of posts and then forget about it. All I do is answer comments from there. You can create an Instagram post, have it cross post automatically to Facebook and you’re done. They even suggest hashtags that go along with your description and color codes them for very popular, popular, and not popular so you can use hashtags to your advantage.
To get Tailwind CLICK HERE
I hope some of this information will be useful to you in growing your social media community for your authorship brand! It really works for growing it for any purpose really. Try it out and see what works for you. Social media really is all trial and error. Happy Writing!