Building Your Author Brand on Social Media: From Zero to Hero
Social media isn’t a new fad in marketing.
Gone are the days when having a platform was optional for authors. Today, it’s an absolute necessity, whether self-published or traditionally published. In fact, having an established social media presence is now a crucial factor when it comes to securing representation or publishing deals.
But where to even begin? With so many platforms to choose from and endless ways to use them, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. In this blog series, I’m going to walk you through the role of social media in your marketing strategy and the specifics of each platform, including how to make that platform work for you.
Understanding the Landscape of Social Media for Authors
Before diving into the world of author social media marketing, it’s important to understand the various platforms available to you. With Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, you have a variety of tools at your fingertips, each with its own unique set of features and demographics. The nice part about social media is that there is literally something for everyone.
In this section, I’ll break down the main social media platforms used by authors. Later in this series, I’ll help you explore the ins and outs of each platform, so you can determine which one (or ones) will be the best fit for your author brand.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for authors to promote their brand. It provides a visual platform to showcase your books, your writing process, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into your life as an author. By using hashtags, author-specific accounts, and Instagram Stories, you can reach new audiences and connect with fans.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of BookTok. This rapidly growing platform has become a favorite among younger generations and has great potential for authors to reach new audiences. TikTok allows authors to create short, entertaining videos to showcase their books and personality, making it a fun and engaging way to connect with readers. By using trending hashtags, participating in challenges, and collaborating with other creatives, authors can expand their reach and engage with potential readers.
Despite being around for over a decade, Facebook continues to be a powerful tool for authors. With 2.8 billion monthly active users, it offers a broad reach and the ability to engage with fans through posts, live videos, and groups.
Facebook provides a comprehensive platform for authors to engage with fans and reach new audiences through posts, live videos, and groups. Plus, Business Manager makes managing your Facebook (and Instagram) easier than ever.
This may be the most overlooked social platform, but it’s secretly a marketing powerhouse. With over 250 million monthly active users, Pinterest is a visually-driven platform that can be a valuable asset for authors. It provides a platform to showcase your books and to connect with potential readers through boards, pins, and promoted posts.By creating boards and pins around themes related to their books, authors can reach new audiences and drive traffic to their website. With promoted pins and shopping, authors can further reach their target audience and sell their books.
Building Your Author Brand on Social Media
While social media is important, you need to know who you’re trying to reach before you can really get started building an effective and engaging brand. To do this, it is important to first define your target audience. Understanding who you are writing for will help you create content that speaks directly to your readers, making them more likely to connect with you and your work.
The next step is to create a consistent and authentic author brand. This means using the same color palette, tone, and style across all of your social media profiles, as well as being transparent and honest in your interactions with your followers. A well-defined author brand will help you establish a memorable online presence and differentiate yourself from other authors.
I use Canva to keep track of my Brand Kit (and the Brand Kit of other authors I manage). They have a color palette generator that makes it easy to pick out a palette that suits your brand.
Getting Started with Your Social Media Presence
Starting your social media presence as an author is an important step in building your brand and connecting with your audience. To get started, there are a few key elements you need to consider: choosing the right platform(s), setting up your profile and author bio, and developing a content strategy.
Choosing the Right Platform(s)
The first step in creating your social media presence is to determine which platform(s) will best help you reach your target audience. Consider the demographics of your reader base, the type of content you want to share, and your personal preferences when choosing which platform(s) to use. Throughout the rest of this series, I’ll take you through each of the main platforms to help you decide which platform(s) is right for your brand.
Setting Up Your Profile and Author Bio
Once you’ve chosen your platform(s), it’s time to set up your profile and author bio. Your profile should be professional and reflective of your author brand. Your author bio should be brief, engaging, and include relevant information about you as an author. Don’t forget to include a link to your website or other online presence, so interested followers can easily find more information about you and your work.
Developing a Content Strategy
Finally, it’s time to develop a content strategy for your social media account. Think about what types of content you want to share (e.g. behind-the-scenes peeks at your writing process, book-related content, personal anecdotes, etc.), how often you want to post, and what your overall goals for your social media presence are. Creating a content calendar can help you stay organized and ensure that you’re consistently sharing relevant and engaging content with your followers.
Best Practices for Engaging with Your Followers
Building and maintaining relationships with your followers is essential in creating a strong, engaged community on social media. As an author, it’s important to understand your target audience and what they are looking for in your content. Here are a few best practices for engaging with your followers:
Provide valuable content and resources.
Your social media presence should provide your followers with value. This can come in the form of behind-the-scenes insights into your writing process, book recommendations, or thought-provoking discussions. Consider sharing resources and tools that are relevant to your audience and that you believe will be of interest to them.
Utilize features such as live videos and stories.
Live videos and stories allow you to connect with your followers in real-time. Use these features to share your writing journey, answer questions from your audience, or give a sneak peek into your latest book. These interactive features can help you build a stronger relationship with your followers.
Respond to comments and messages.
Responding to comments and messages from your followers is an effective way to show your appreciation and build a relationship with your audience. Be sure to reply in a timely manner and engage in a meaningful way. This can help you establish yourself as an approachable and personable author.
Measuring the Success of Your Social Media Efforts
As an author, your social media presence is a key component of your overall marketing strategy. However, it can be difficult to know if your efforts are paying off. To ensure that your time and resources are well-spent, it’s important to measure the success of your social media efforts and make adjustments as needed.
- Understanding Key Metrics: The first step in measuring the success of your social media efforts is to understand the key metrics that matter. These metrics may vary depending on the platform you’re using, but generally include engagement rates (likes, comments, shares), reach (the number of people who see your content), and follower growth.
- Utilizing Analytics Tools: To track your metrics and measure the success of your social media efforts, you’ll need to utilize analytics tools. There are many free and paid options available, including platform-specific tools like Instagram Insights and Facebook Page Insights, as well as more comprehensive tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social. These tools can help you track your metrics over time, see how your content is performing, and identify areas for improvement.
- Refining Your Strategy: Once you have a better understanding of your metrics and the success of your social media efforts, you can use this information to refine your strategy. For example, if you notice that your content is performing well on one platform but not on another, you may want to focus more of your efforts on that platform. On the other hand, if your content isn’t resonating with your followers, you may need to adjust your content strategy or try a different approach. By regularly measuring the success of your social media efforts, you can ensure that your time and resources are well-spent and that your social media presence is effectively supporting your overall marketing goals.
Let’s Get Social
In conclusion, building an author brand on social media has become a crucial aspect of marketing in the modern world. With various platforms to choose from, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, authors have the opportunity to reach a broad audience and engage with fans in a fun and authentic manner.
Throughout the blog series, I will delve deeper into each social media platform, providing tips and tricks for authors to make the most of each one.
Want to learn more? This is part one in the series. Follow along for specifics on each of the main platforms for author social media.
Post 1: Building Your Author Brand on Social Media: From Zero to Hero
Post 2: From Zero to Hero: How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Author Platform
Post 3: From Zero to Hero: How to Use TikTok to Grow Your Author Platform
Post 4: From Zero to Hero: How to Use Facebook to Grow Your Author Platform
Post 5: From Zero to Hero: How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Author Platform
Post 6: Social Media Hero: Putting Together an Author Content Strategy
Written by Taylor Munsell
Taylor Munsell author of Touch of Death has a passion for telling magical stories about prickly girls and what it means to be seen. When she's not writing you can find Taylor eating a snack reading a book or trying to go on an adventure (both in game and IRL). She lives and writes in the mountains of North Carolina.