Some of us love connecting with other writers and readers on social media, but if you use it purely to maintain a presence as an author, you’re not alone. For those who find social media can be a struggle, here are some tips to help you build a following without adding stress to your life. You might even find you get a real buzz from it!
Focus on one platform
It can become overwhelming if you try to be active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and more. Twitter is a great place to connect with literary agents, publishers, consultancies, and aspiring writers. Instagram is brilliant for authors looking to connect with readers. It’s a good idea to have a page on Facebook, but it’s hard to get new followers and likes without promoting posts. You don’t have to constantly update it. My recommendation is to set up profiles on all the main platforms. Then, focus on posting regularly to either Twitter or Instagram.
Schedule posts once a week (or month)
If you’re someone who likes to get the job done, try using one afternoon to schedule posts for the week. On Twitter, you can do this using the button in the image below.
On Facebook, you can schedule posts in ‘Publishing Tools’, and you can use a service like Hootsuite to schedule posts to Instagram and other platforms. Just make sure you check back to see who’s engaged with your posts.
Make sure links to your website contain images
So, you’ve set up your author website, written a first blog post, linked it to a tweet – and it looks like this…
We all know that images make posts more attention grabbing. It’s worth going into the backend of your site and making sure the picture you’d like to appear in the website card is either your feature image or social media image. On WordPress sites, you can set a different image for Facebook and Twitter links by scrolling down to ‘Yoast SEO’ and clicking ‘Social’, or you can simply set one feature image on the right, (but be aware the other sites might crop it if it doesn’t match their dimensions).
If you’re using Wix, you’ll find ‘SEO’ options on the left and can change the image in ‘Social Share’.
Another way to make your profiles more engaging (without extra stress!) is using a website like Canva to combine text and visuals. You don’t need to purchase Photoshop or spend hours editing – use templates to share book review snippets or a blurb. Some publishers will create promotional images for you, but if they don’t, take matters into your own hands!
Canva (featured above) is especially helpful because it gives you the image dimensions for different Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts, saving you having to crop out part of an image.
Support other writers
Once you’ve shared a welcome tweet/gram/status and linked to your new blog post, it can be hard to think what to say! To take the pressure off, focus on supporting other writers. Comment on their success stories, share links to their books/short stories, etc. If you start by supporting others, you’ll get into the habit of using social media and feel more confident sharing posts about your own work.
Follow post trends
You don’t have to be strikingly original from day one. There are certain tweets we all love to see, like the unboxing of your book video, the TBR (to be read) pile shot, a favourite author quote, or an anecdote about spotting your novel in the wild. Here’s a list of 100 things for authors to tweet about. Following trends can be a great starting point; just make sure you always bring your unique voice to the post.
Share whatever’s on your mind
You can sometimes get too caught up doing classic author posts because it feels like safe territory. People want to hear about other parts of your life, and even if they don’t ‘like’ it, they probably liked it! Don’t look at the numbers as you start out. Let yourself natter on about whatever you fancy – everyone else does.
Tag tag tag
‘Building a following’ sounds daunting to some, but you’re not on your own! Make sure to tag whenever you can, using @, to give others a prompt to share your post. If you’re published, tag your agent, publisher, and editor. If you’re an aspiring writer, tag organisations who might be interested in what you’re posting and reach out to agents and authors if you have a question or (positive) comment. The worst they can do is not reply.