Hubspot’s research on social media usage patterns reveals that people generally use Instagram for bonding.
What does that mean in an author’s marketing environment?
Instagram users post images and videos that reflect how they see themselves, and who they want to be. It’s emotional content, warm and fuzzy, often humorous, designed to make them closer to their friends, family, and other followers.
They follow others not only to bond but to discover new trends.
What to Do
Create visual content that reflects your personality as an author
Ensure that your posts are emotion-based
Use appropriate humor
Respond to your followers’ posts with likes and the occasional comment
What NOT to Do
Don’t get deeply informational
Don’t be unnecessarily negative; keep it warm and fuzzy
The Instagram algorithm is like a Rubik’s cube. There are a near infinite number of possible combinations, and if you don’t have specific instructions you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to solve it.
Now, no one completely understands how it works other than Instagram, but from what Instagram and other experts in the field have told us, we put together a quick instruction manual you can use to get the best possible results out of the Instagram algorithm in 2019.
Here’s a no-nonsense breakdown of how the Instagram feed algorithm works in 2019:
When I talk to clients about social media I call it an ever-evolving monster. It’s always changing. For many authors, it feels like they are battling a dragon. They have a difficult time trying to figure out what to do on social media and how to do it. If they do get it figured out, then it changes. The rules change, a new platform comes out, different image sizes are required. What worked best last year doesn’t work this year. There’s a myriad of information on what to do and it can be overwhelming.
Is it possible to slay this ever-evolving monster? How? In my experience the monster constantly rears its ugly head. You can’t control each social media platform and the changes they make. Though you can’t slay the monster, you can tame it. It just takes understanding some basics.
Social media will change. Be prepared for it.
Once you accept that change will occur, it will be easier to accept it and do whatever needs to be done to change with it. Prepare by crafting messages with ongoing value – evergreen content. Know that you may have to create images of various sizes if you want them to appear their best on each platform.
Feel free to experiment. What another author does successfully may work for you – or it may not. Try various strategies and see what works best for you. You don’t have to be active everywhere. It’s much better to focus on one platform and get it down than to start by trying to do it all everywhere. Social media marketing is a case where being sharply pointed is far better than being well rounded.
To be effective at taming the ever-evolving monster of social media marketing, you might consider hiring someone to do it WITH you. Notice I did not say hire someone to do the marketing FOR you. No one can market your book for you as effectively as you can. You know your topic, your point of view, better than anyone else. However, you can work WITH someone to help you disseminate your message and to provide social media guidance and advice.
If you’d like assistance establishing and dialing in your social media, we can help you get it ready to manage it yourself. Check out our 4 Week Social Media Head Start program.
With all the social media platforms available, authors often ask which one is the best platform for them. My answer: it depends on where your audience is and which one you feel you’d be most comfortable spending time using. Here are four popular ones and my thoughts on each one. Then you decide which one is best for you. (I recommend you set up a profile at each one and then focus on one. More on that in a future post.)
Twitter is a Music Festival
It’s easy to set up a Twitter account and start following people you hope will follow you back. The trap to avoid is following everyone. Follow people who are relevant in some way. Perhaps they’ve tweeted about your topic or have a hashtag in their bio that indicates interest in your topic. Create lists so you can categorize those you follow – other authors, book marketers, publicists, and others.
Because you can tweet often, you drive more traffic to your website from Twitter than other social media platforms. That means your tweets need to have valuable information with a link that readers want to click to learn more.
Yes, it’s easy for your tweets to ‘get lost’ in the huge Twitterverse. However you can make good connections and start conversations that may result in taking the conversation into email. Over the years I’ve made really good connections with people in my industry in this manner, and have even gotten clients through Twitter.
Twitter is like a music festival with many different bands all playing at once on different stages of a huge venue. Thousands of people are attending. It will get noisy, even confusing at times. You might feel lost, that your message isn’t being heard. But those who want to hear what you have to say will find you and listen, just like at a huge music festival. Maybe you went to listen to one or two bands. You’ll seek them out and listen to them. Your audience will seek you out on Twitter and listen to you too – as long as you’ve set up your account and tweet in such a way that they can find you.
Facebook is a Tribe
On Facebook you want to be sure to set up an Author page. Read my previous post on 13 Ways to Utilize Your Facebook Author Page. Be sure to link to the page from your website and invite friends and readers to connect with you on this page. This is where your ‘tribe’ can come backstage with you. You won’t have as many followers on Facebook as you have connections elsewhere. That’s okay. This is where people who are already your readers will come to learn more about you and even connect with other readers.
Think of Facebook as a place where your tribe comes to hang out. They may have first connected with you on Twitter and now want more. Use Facebook to share more about who you are, what you write, links to other information your audience will find value. And of course have fun! Facebook followers tend to be people who like to have fun. :)
LinkedIn is a Professional Networking Connector
LinkedIn is a more professional setting, perfect for nonfiction authors. In addition to connecting with other professionals, you can join and participate in groups, and publish articles related to your topic. I use LinkedIn to deepen connections. I invite strategic connections to a free 15-minute phone call so we can learn more about each other.
Groups are a wonderful tool you can use to start or join in conversations and share your expertise. Writing articles also strengthens your position as an expert in your field.
Instagram is a Snapshot of Life
This social media platform is primarily about visuals – posting photos or images along with text and hashtags. You may want a separate business account for your book. Instagrammers want to know more about your life as an author. They want to see photos of your writing space, perhaps a book store you visited, your cat. Of course you can post about your book too. Just remember that the audience here is more interested in your life – not your book.
If you need some ideas for visuals to post on Instagram, check out this post.
So, which platform works best for you right now?
This may change at a later date so you want to revisit this annually.
Are you interested in a music festival and reaching a lot of people? Twitter’s your thing.
Do you want your tribe to connect more personally with you and other readers? Use Facebook
Is your goal to connect with other professionals and deepen those relationships? LinkedIn is the place.
Would you like to connect with readers interested in a more personal look into your life as an author? Dive into Instagram
I’d love to connect with you on any of those social media platforms and hear your comments on this topic. Share a comment below and links to your platforms so I can follow you.
Ready to send your book proposal to a publisher? They are more likely to take notice of your proposal if it includes a strong Book Marketing section. This section should be the biggest part of your proposal and detail your ongoing book marketing efforts. As an example of what to include in a book proposal, here’s one author’s book proposal contents.
Contents of a Book Proposal
About the Author
Marketing and Book Promotion
Competitive and Complementary Books
Contents of the Book
This author’s Marketing and Book Promotion section is 10 pages long with several specific sections.
Marketing and Book Promotion
Social Media Section
The social media section of this nonfiction author’s book proposal includes reference to his website and blog and the purpose of his website. He states, “It serves as a platform to support the author’s brand. It is updated regularly to keep it fresh and interesting.”
This section also includes a chart showing quarterly numbers for website page views, Twitter followers, Facebook Page fans, Facebook page reach, Facebook page engagement, Instagram followers, and LinkedIn Pulse followers. He provides percentages of increase for each social media platform for the past year. He also details the LinkedIn groups in which he is active.
A screenshot of the results of a Facebook promotion are included at the suggestion of a publicist. This particular promotion was done of a blog post that is a book excerpt to show a publisher that the book is already garnering interest.