By Kylee Wooten
The biggest “do” of all: You should need to be on social media. These days, having a Twitter account and a Facebook page are almost as essential to your success as an author actually having a book.
1. DO: cultivate a large, engaging network. Start with your friends and family, and then begin to follow some of your favorite authors, bloggers, and reviewers. Social media is a two-way street: you have to engage with your followers in order for them to engage with you. You want to extend your reach as far as possible. Love a particular author or blogger? Make sure to tag them in a relevant post. If they see it and retweet it, your post could attract hundreds or even thousands of new followers.
2. DON’T: worry about numbers. This might seem contradictory to having a large network, but if your primary focus is to having large numbers, you tend to lose sight of the purpose of your social media accounts. While it’s important to have a large network of followers, it’s more important to have followers that will engage with your work. At first glance, people might be impressed by the thousands of followers you have, but the plethora of “get more followers for free” accounts could actually hurt the credibility of your account. The old adage “quality over quantity” is tried and true. The numbers will come—focus on the quality of your followers.
3. DO: brag about your work! A lot of people hesitate posting about their work on social media. However, when you have accounts that are dedicated to your profession, your followers know exactly what they’re getting themselves into when they follow you. They want to know about your book and your thoughts as an author. Don’t be afraid to post updates about your book. Perhaps you love to blog—share your posts! This is a medium where it is not only acceptable, but encouraged to talk about yourself and your work.
4. DON’T: limit yourself to one platform. While Twitter and Facebook are the most prominent social media platforms, there are so many options these days. Not to overdo aphorisms and expressions, but you don’t have to do something just because all of your friends are doing it. While I highly encourage the use of Twitter and Facebook for their ability to reach a large audience, the point of using social media is to develop and communicate with your fan base. Perhaps you’re more comfortable with YouTube and vlogging (video blogging); maybe you prefer LinkedIn to connect with others; blogging or podcasting might be your cup of tea. Your heart needs to be in it—regardless of the platform you choose—in order for you to be genuine to your followers.
5. DO: use pictures. When you’re in line at the grocery store and pick up a magazine, you’ll probably look at the pictures and just scan over the stories. Think of social media in the same way. Most people are scrolling through their feeds as they sit in the waiting room of the dentist or mindlessly as they watch TV at night. By posting a picture along with your post, you are more likely to capture the attention of your followers. Marketer and entrepreneur Jeff Bullas cites that articles with images get 94% more total views. I’ll take those odds any day.
6. DON’T: Create—Curate. A do and a don’t all in one. You don’t have time to write a book and blog and social media posts all day. The beautiful thing about social media is the fact that you can express your thoughts simply by sharing works that inspire you. If you read something that inspires you or see a picture that speaks to you, retweet it or post it on your own page. Yes, you have to create sometimes, but don’t carry the entire load by yourself. Remember, social media is social… and that means sharing.
Kylee is the publicist for Light Messages Publishing. She is a graduate from the School of Media and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.