Once upon a time, Facebook was a powerful sales tool without having to buy ads, but that’s not the case anymore.
Social media is still a great tool in your book marketing arsenal, just not as it relates to direct sales. Instead, social media should be looked at as a way to get exposure and build relationships and engagement. But a word of caution before we drill further into this: be careful how much time you spend on your social media…not all exposure is created equally, and you can really make strong use of the time you do put into social media.
So what can you do?
First, you need to decide which social media sites are best for you. And while you want to take your own personality and style into consideration, you also want to take into consideration your buyers’ habits. Because it’s all about your target audience and being where they are. So if they hang out on Twitter, guess what? You need to be active and engaged on Twitter too.
If your target audience is on Instagram or Facebook, then you need to be there instead. And above all, wherever you choose to be, make sure to keep up on it. A social media account with no activity tells potential fans “Abandon all hope, Ye who enter here.” Well, perhaps not quite so dramatic, but it definitely sends the message that you don’t care. And if you don’t care, why should they?
But what about those algorithm changes?
Well, the big takeaway is that Facebook and other social media are most interested in quality content that builds community and engagement. So the key is not to post at your audience, but to start a conversation that they engage with. How? Well, put less emphasis on selling your book, no more than say, 10-20% of your posts should be about business, actually selling to them.
The rest of your posts should focus on really connecting with your fans. And here are a few of my top ideas for building engagement with them!
- You can post contests and giveaways.
- Share current topics and ask for feedback on what people think about the all-new Dancing with the Stars cast. (Twitter’s trending topics offers great ideas for what’s happening now!)
- Like with your newsletter, pay attention to wacky observances and post about them. Every loves fun holidays like National Lollipop Day and No Housework Day. So you can share what you’re doing to celebrate and then ask your fans to share how they are.
- Talk about things you’re doing, either personally, or in your writing. And invite your fans into your world.
- Be a sharer! Share things you love, great advice you’ve gotten, or even some great successes or milestones of fans and fellow authors. Plus if you’ve got some great insights on your topic or industry, share those too. But don’t just share posts willy nilly from other pages. Go into each link and share it freshly from your own page! Make sure you are the one getting “credit” for the engagement boost.
- Don’t be afraid to bring images into the mix either. Images are powerful, they can be funny or inspirational, and they can give your readers a great way to interact. And with Facebook’s new post backgrounds, you can turn almost any post into an image extremely easily.
Pro Tip: If you create custom images on sites like Canva, don’t forget to watermark them with your URL or social handle. Inevitably, your fun posts may get separated from your profile, and if they do, you want people who love them to know just how to reach you.
- One word: GIFs. Ever since Facebook introduced the GIF reaction, I’ve gotten great engagement on posts that ask people to share a GIF that describes their reaction. It’s a lot of fun to see what people find and what they come up with!
What about groups?
On Facebook, groups are a powerful way to really engage with your super fans, people who really love your work. By connecting with them in VIP groups, and offering some special swag, you can really get them to buy into what you’re selling. And more importantly, they’ll tell their friends about it too! Remember up above when I was talking about micro influencers? Your VIP fan group members are your micro influencers, so make sure to treat them well. It will pay off.
And you don’t have to spend a ton of time on this. You can preschedule posts once a week or so and then just go in to respond and connect as your schedule allows.
The bottom line with social media today is to use it to create personal connections. And no matter what you do with your social media, as you get engagement, make sure to return it. Reply to people’s comments when you can, and definitely like them. Just like with getting personal and using genre-specific blog tours, you’ll get a bigger return from getting personal, being personable, and treating your fans like the individuals they are. The better you do at this, the stronger your connections will be – even without buying ads.