If you're serious about marketing your book, then you have to stop thinking like a marketer from 1999. Or even 2005! We don't market on radio anymore. We use podcasts. We don't use billboards. We use Facebook cover photos. We don't knock on doors. We DM people.
I made a list of the tips that have helped authors upgrade their own author branding through social media and email marketing. Enjoy!
1. Purchase a domain email address. You’ll look more professional, and your emails will stay out of spam folders. I noticed my MailChimp open rate was much higher after doing this.
2. Put your freebie front and center. And sideways. And up and down. Basically, make sure every visitor sees it, and most importantly: delete the “subscribe to my updates” jargon and tell them what they’re really getting (value): “Weekly fiction favorites delivered to your email” or “Advice from an author aficionado—plus a free short story” or “5 must-dos for an irresistible speaker proposal.”
3. Add Facebook Live as an event. I used this strategy for my Self-Publishing Q&A for the former Curiouser Author Society. Go to your author Facebook page, halfway down on the left-hand side is the option Upcoming Events. Create an event for your Facebook Live session so you can gauge interest. You can even promote this through Facebook ads! Facebook Live is a great option if you want to show fans your book signing table, you opening the box of your print books for the first time, or you interviewing another author.
4. Create a landing page for your email subscription. “Why? It’s already on my website.” When you add a link to your website and tell Facebookers, “Just scroll down and you’ll see the option to subscribe,” it’s inconvenient. And have you ever used a MailChimp direct link? Yikes. Make a clean landing page for your email subscription like so. The best part? When you post this link on Facebook, it uses the photo you have and makes it look super legit.
5. Pin this new fancy opt-in page to your Facebook and Twitter pages with a call to action.
6. Add the Goodreads app to your Facebook page. You want people to add your book to their Goodreads list, yes? (Ensure your book is listed on Goodreads too.)
7. Create Twitter lists. God bless Angela Ford for telling me what I should’ve already known. I’ve always said Twitter is like whispering into a crowded room (or perhaps I stole that from someone)—but with the lists, I get to see who I want to see when I want to. Many of us are following eleventy billion people on Twitter, so with lists, you can control whose posts you see. Click your logo on the right (if on laptop) to give you a drop-down menu. Click lists. Create new list. My lists consist of Writerly Tweeters, Publishing Professionals, Bookish Tweets, and Entrepreneurs/Influencers. And who knows—maybe someone will add you to their list. And they should if you’re providing value.
8. Add something uniquely you. No matter what, you should be yourself and ditch the corporate jargon in everything you write marketing-wise. So how nice would it be to have a page on your website dedicated to your all-time favorite books? Or a weekly Facebook thread in your Facebook group where you tell funny/interesting things that inspired you in your writing. Get creative, and remember to deliver value from you.
9. Start a group Pinterest board. Angela’s at it again. I love this tip she gave Curiouser Author Society members in The Lounge. She said, “When you create a Pinterest board, you can invite others to collaborate on it with you. Well, now a lot of people have group boards where several companies and brands collaborate. It's awesome because you don't have to work as hard to build up a following!” How can you use this tactic to promote your book?
10. Update your Amazon page. When was the last time you updated the bio on your Amazon Author Central page? Do you have new endorsements that would look great above the summary? Is your book trailer working correctly? Is it time to update that Amazon bio photo?
11. Create your own hashtag. Maybe this isn’t an upgrade because maybe most of you have got this down. But consider a hashtag for your book or author brand that can be used continuously for promoting efforts. This will work for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
12. Monitor hidden Facebook posts. It’s important to ignore the haters, but it’s also relevant to monitor negative activity on your Facebook page, because it can mess with engagement. I don’t love seeing that people have clicked the “hide post” option, but I need to know if it’s happening fairly often. That might be a cue that I need to update my links or wording.
13. Film an author appearance and upload to YouTube. From writers conferences to interviews to book signings to road trips to your book’s setting, sometimes visual is just better than reading about the event.
14. Have a repin-to-win competition on Pinterest. You’ll need a bright, beautiful image of your book. The phrase “repin to win.” A tempting description with keywords. Copy that shows the value of the prize. And finally, a call to action: “post this,” “repin this,” or “take a picture of your own copy.” Be sure to include how the winner will be chosen, along with the announcement date.
15. Throw a promo party via Facebook. If you have a book releasing soon, create an event in Facebook and have a party there so people can share your book, learn more about you, and potentially buy the book too. You’ll want to prepare giveaways that have something to do with your book. Here’s an example: if party-goers add your book to their Goodreads list, comment on the event thread that they did so, then they’re entered into a drawing for an ebook copy of your book.
16. Go bold with Medium. If you’re writing on Medium, be sure to pay attention to your audience and edit the post after you publish it. If you notice someone highlighting a specific section of your post, use the quote tool through Medium editor to make it more prevalent on the page.
17. Analyze your Instagram with Iconosquare. They offer a free trial so you can test it out. You can track your follower/unfollower stats, the time and day that you receive the most engagement, your like history, your most liked media, and so much more. If you’re serious about Instagram—and as an author, you should be—then I think it’s worth the money.
18. Join Goodreads and LinkedIn groups. While they both serve different purposes, the ultimate goal is still the same: connecting with readers. Join these groups, connect with your target audience, and post blog updates on there.
Authors: What are some of your favorite social media marketing tips?
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. Her blog posts have been featured on popular websites like The Book Designer and Positive Writer. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.