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Publishing 101 #3 – Social Media Fundamentals

One of the hardest things for authors and pretty much anyone trying to build a brand and a name for themselves is trying to build a social media following that can let you spread your products or even just your name. For this blog post, I decided to give some fundamental information about the core social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) and how to use them effectively.

Twitter

If you are in the book industry, Twitter is an absolute must. Tons of bloggers and industry professionals are on Twitter and, believe it or not, a lot of announcements are made on Twitter. It’s where most people post about their cover reveals, book deals, film options, and their cast announcements. A lot of people don’t really seem to know how to use Twitter and I’ve heard of a lot of authors that just feel like they shouldn’t have to be on Twitter or feel like it won’t be beneficial. I highly recommend you give it a shot. Here are some tips and tricks to be spotted on Twitter:

  • Keep it personal – if you’re active in politics, activism, or just like sharing your opinion, that is generally what people are looking for when they go onto Twitter.
  • Be concise – it might be tempting to make a thread of 10+ tweets to get your thoughts across, but most people won’t read past the first thought.
  • Be visual – images draw in the eye of a reader, but emojis work just as well for this. Likewise, if you keep your tweet short, you might attract attention.
  • Cool it with the hashtags – I try to keep my Twitter posts with a max of 5 hashtags and they are always at the bottom of my post. DO NOT put hashtags in what you’re trying to say.  Not only is it cluttered, hashtags are in different colors and are distracting, which ultimately takes away from your message. Example: The #book I’m #currentlyreading is a #fantasy novel that talks about #LGBT values and #friendship.
  • Interact – Ask questions, retweet your friends, and be a part of the dialogue.

Instagram

  • Images can make or break – the whole point of Instagram is to give your followers amazing photos that they can quickly scroll through and like, so having a really good eye for pictures is the only sure fire way to make your mark on IG.
  • Don’t give your life story in your caption – as stated above, people want to scroll through quickly, so they might take the time to read a sentence or two in your caption, but don’t write paragraphs. To write a meaningful caption, you have to get their attention with your images first.
  • Be consistent – try to keep your IG to a theme. Maybe you have all your photos in black and white, maybe they have a blue tint or an orange tint, maybe you have one item that is in each photo. This helps people recognize your posts as something unique to you in particular. You don’t necessarily have to stick to this forever, but don’t change your theme every month.
  • Hashtags are a must – whenever I post, I have a long list of hashtags that I automatically have at the ready so that I can simply copy and paste them into my post. You can put your relevant hashtags at the bottom of your caption or simply leave them in a comment. 
  • Utilize IG stories – this isn’t 100% necessary, but every once in a while it’s good to put things in your story. Events you go to, books you read, adventures you go on. Add those to your story and make them accessible to your followers so they can feel connected to you.

Facebook

  • Long captions – this is your chance to write those paragraphs! Tell your long stories or do a Q&A! Facebook is pretty much the only social media platform you should be writing a lot. 
  • Older audience – Facebook is predominantly a platform for an older audience (30-40+). That doesn’t mean there aren’t younger people as well. 
  • Links and images – share all the images and links you want! People want things to click on, so don’t be afraid to share your stuff. But if you aren’t much of an image person, at least try to use some emojis.
  • Pages versus profiles – keep your friends list to your closest friends and family members and make yourself an author page or a brand page to keep all those that like your work separate from your personal stuff. 
  • Hashtags are a no – don’t bother with hashtags. No one really uses them on Facebook and, in the end, they just end up making you look more out of the loop.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Scheduling apps and sites – these might be tempting to use, but make sure you’re still following the rules for each platform. Producing one post and spreading it to all your socials isn’t the best way to spread your content and makes you look like a lazy user.
  • Acknowledge that each platform matters – they each provide something different and while certain ones work better for different people, it’s important to at least know about the other ones.
  • There are many other platforms – these are just the main three, but there are several platforms I didn’t mention in this post. Some of them include: TikTok, Snapchat, Tumblr, and LinkedIn, but there are so many more!

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