10 Steps to Marketing Your Book Using Social Media

By: Mary Anna Rodabaugh in Publishing and Book Launch
on September 28th, 2021

You are either writing a book, have published a book, or are somewhere in between the journey. As an author, you have been told about the value social media brings to your book marketing strategy. This is especially true if you are a non-fiction author as a solid platform is necessary for traditional publishing agents to take on your project. Whether you use social media to keep tabs on your kids and save witty cat memes or you abstain from the digital media arena, you have come to the right place. Here are ten steps to building a social media network from scratch to meet your professional goals.

1. Choose your social media platforms. The very first step is to determine which social media platforms you want to build your network on for your book marketing. Consider your target audience. If you want to reach Gen Z and younger, you may want to build your network on Instagram and TikTok. If your target audience is in the millennial to 60s and 70s age range, you can look to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Many authors have a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook author page, and one or two other social media channels.

2. Create an author account across platforms. Next, you want to create your brand by branding yourself as an author (because you are!) and expanding your book marketing reach. On Facebook, you can develop an author page that is different from your personal profile. This page should contain a professional photo and promotion for your book. Instagram and Twitter follow suit, but instead of an author page, you will create an author profile. TikTok isn’t the best place to promote or market books, but it is a good place to build an online audience in your target demographic. In other words, make them fall in love with you and then serve them your books on other platforms.

10 Steps to Marketing Your Book Using Social Media apps

3. Invite friends and family to like your page or follow you. Start building your audience by asking family and friends to like your page or follow your accounts. Then, ask them to share that page with their friends. When you start with your own network, you can lay the groundwork for building a following with an audience of people who do not know you personally. You will need this audience for successful book promotion.

A word of caution: be careful falling into the “like for like” or “follow for follow” trap. These can make your audience engagement numbers appear superficial. For example, if you follow #WritingCommunity on Twitter and there is a “follow train” post where users commit to following you if you follow them, you can play along. However, when the number of followers you have and those you follow start to match, it looks suspicious. That tells people you don’t have true engagement, just buddy engagement which isn’t a good start for book marketing.

4. Develop a content calendar. Once you’ve selected your social media platforms and asked some friends and family to follow or like your page, it is time to generate some content for your book marketing plan. Start with a simple Excel spreadsheet and map out the days of the week with the posts you will be adding to your pages and profiles. It may be a quote from your book or a countdown to your launch. It could be a short video of you thanking everyone who helped you work on your book. You may post inspirational content or reshare content from others. Be sure to create a variety of content for your week and commit to a posting schedule that works for you.

You can schedule posts ahead of time on Facebook or use programs such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule multiple posts across various platforms at once.

5. Spy on the competition for inspiration. Choose five of your favorite authors and shamelessly stalk them. Review their social media accounts to determine what they post and how often. Take note of what posts receive the most engagement (likes, shares, comments). You can learn a lot of new book marketing tricks this way. Getting a sense of what the competition is doing will provide you with inspiration for your own content.

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6. Maintain consistent content generation. One of the most important building blocks of a social media presence is to post consistently. When you go dark for a few days at a time, you lose traction, relevancy, and even visibility in the social media algorithms. It seems like a lot of work, but social media is an excellent way to connect with even more readers than you would in person. It is also a great opportunity for you to connect with your fellow writers. Just remember to be consistent and do not let your accounts lag behind.

A great tip to follow is to only manage the number of social media accounts you can handle for your book promotion. If you just want to deal with two accounts, choose the two you are most comfortable with and enjoy. Make sure those reach your target market. You do not have to be on every social media platform that exists.

7. Interact with others. Engagement is critical, especially when you are first starting out. When someone comments on your posts, be sure to reply back. If you gain a certain number of followers in a short window of time, feel free to give them a shout-out on your page. Remember, it is social media, so be social!

“Social media is a powerful tool that can be a real game-changer for authors.”

8. Grow your audience. Growing your audience is going to take time. There is no special pill or magic formula that will grant you 100,000 followers overnight unless you have a viral moment or pay to have bots follow your accounts (please do not do the latter). The best way to grow your audience for book marketing is to use relevant hashtags when appropriate, @mention other accounts, share curated content from others and tag them, and post consistently.

A great example of curated content is when someone you know or admire posts something you’d like to share on your own account. You can share their content and tag them. This will increase your visibility while supporting the person whose content you are sharing.

9. Explore targeted ads. As you grow, you may want to explore boosted posts, targeted ads, Instagram stories, and sponsored content. Each social media platform has a different pricing structure for ads, but they are a great way to grow your audience or promote your book. The beauty of most social media ads is that you can geotarget them to specific areas throughout the world and specific age groups. So your book about leadership development in college will not be advertised to the 60-year-old CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

10. Find new ways to promote your presence. Beyond these steps, you’re going to always want to find new ways to promote your social media presence. When you contribute to magazines or podcasts, be sure to supply your social media handles to your editor or host so they can offer readers or listeners that information to follow you. Writing a digital article? Promote your social media handles in your byline. Use your author website as a hub to promote your social media channels as well.

A book marketing plan has a lot of moving parts, but hopefully these ten steps will get you started on the social media section of your plan. There are many things you can do to optimize your audience and continue to expand your network, but this is a great start. Social media is a powerful tool that can be a real game-changer for authors. Don’t be afraid to use it!