It's long been known that social media is the behemoth of book promotion... okay, any promotion. It's a wide open opportunity to access your target audience in their natural habitat!
What's interesting about social media, though, is that it's always changing. Like, one day Myspace was hot and the next no one even knows if it still exists. It's also important to note that different demographics tend to hang out on different social media platforms.
It's not enough to have a Facebook page and call it a day. It's probably not enough to have a decent Twitter account anymore. Why? Because your target audience very well may not be using those platforms (even if they were two years ago).
This means that what works for an author of a different category, or even genre, may not work for you.
Keeping up with the changing times can be tough because it means learning a new platform and building an audience all over again.
Since I've learned about the rise in popularity of Instagram (particularly for teens), I've been working on ways to build my audience and content there. A few ways I've done that:
1) Use it! Dig around on the site and learn what's working for other people. I've found that pretty pictures of books is actually a thing that pulls in lots of people! Fun!
2) Learn the ins and outs and how to reach people. Every platform is different so learn what makes this new one tick. For me, this meant a lot of googling! (Google never goes out of style). Example: hashtags rule Instagram! So learn the good ones for what you want to post/who you want to reach and use lots!
3) Find your "thing". You want to have a focus if you want to build an audience (this is like branding. They follow you because they want more of what you’re giving. They probably don’t want tons of selfies unless you’re really good at makeup!(which is also a thing!) For Instagram that one is pretty easy since as authors we all tend to LOVE books, and there is a huge community of book lovers who want to see things ALL ABOUT BOOKS (but make sure the pictures are *pretty*). For other Platforms that can be a bit trickier. If you don’t have something specific you know you want to post about, tag onto what someone else is doing well and try to make a twist on it. With my Instagram I’m doing the bookish things but also I started doing book page crafts along with it.
4) Start posting! Every day! One of the keys to being successful in social media it consistent content. Most of the pages with higher interaction post more than once a day. You can’t build an audience if you only post every once in a while.
5) Interact! Remember that this is SOCIAL media. Be social! Look at other people’s posts, see what’s out there and tell them when you like it! Answer questions. Give advice if they ask for it and you have something to say. When you interact with them, they’re more likely to turn around and interact with you.
In the end, social media is a beast. It can boost your chances of a book deal, it can sell books once you’re published—but boy can it be scary to approach. Take it one step at a time and have fun. It won’t happen in a day so don’t stress. If you use it to show off something you love to do you will do just fine!
What has been your experience with social media? Do you have any additional tips? (I’d love some for Instagram! ;) )