How to Post Like a Pro: Social Media 101

Hopefully in last week’s post I sufficiently convinced you that in order to be a successful author you need to join the world of social media. But now what? You know that you need to use social media, but you just don’t know how to use it. Well, that’s why we’re here. It is not as scary as you think. And with time it will feel natural. First things first, you need to make profiles on each social media site that you intend to use. The three most commonly used social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There are others such as Google+ and Instagram, but we are just going to cover how to use the top three today.
Remember the point of using social media as a marketing tool is that it offers access to readers that you may not otherwise reach. However, they have to be able to find you, make sure to include links to your social media pages on every page of your website. And, try to drive traffic back to your website with every post.

Here is some important information on the top three social media sites:

 

Facebook:

  • Set up a profile page. This is your author page. It is “who” people will like in order to see posts. You will already need a personal profile to set up a profile page, so if you don’t have one you will need to set that up first. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to set up your profile page.
  • Once you have a profile page you can use it to promote your brand with posts about content that you have created on your website, or about your next speaking engagement, or even a sneak peak at your next project.
  • Use the “Like” button to give away freebies. You can create a separate page on your profile that will promote the free material. People will just have to “Like” that page and then they will get the freebie. Rob Eager goes into detail on how to set up this page in his [amazon text=book&asin=159963421X].
  • You can run targeted ads through Facebook. These ads do cost money, but can be a great resource for targeting your specific audience. In order to do this you will need to set up a campaign.
  • A lot of companies give away freebies with “fan of the week” contests. You would just tell your followers to take a creative picture of themselves and one of your books and post the picture on your page. The winner would receive a sneak peak of your new book, or a free resource.

Twitter

  • You don’t need an author specific profile on Twitter. You just need to set up a personal account. If you already have one, then just tweet from that account, as long as the handle contains your name. If not, then you will need to create a new account with your name.
  • Twitter is unique in that it forces you to be concise. You only have 140 characters per tweet. You can also use hashtags to tweet about a trending topic, or to create your own. Just put the symbol “#” and then string the words together. For example #BloggerTips.
  • You can get readers involved by having them submit questions in the form of tweets, and then answering those questions on your website. Then you can tweet out a link to the page.
  • There is a service called “Pay with a Tweet,” paywithatweet.com, that allows you to create a button for your website. You let readers know that you are offering free material and all they have to do is click the button, enter their Twitter information, and then tweet about the giveaway. Then they will be sent the link for the free download.
  • Just like Facebook, you can use Twitter to link back to original content that you have created on your website, or let fans know where and when you will be speaking.

YouTube

  • YouTube is a video site. Users create videos for the whole world to watch. You just have to set up an author channel.
  • Use YouTube to create book trailers, which are very useful and popular.
  • Make “behind the scenes” videos of your writing space, or a “day in the life of” video.
  • You can make a video of FAQ’s or answer the questions that people tweeted you.
  • Just make sure the video quality is good.

If you are still looking for inspiration on what kind of posts to make Michael Hyatt has some great ideas.

It is important to remember that social media activity, “Likes”, retweets, comments, etc., do not necessarily mean that you are selling books. One way to see if your social media presence is working in this way is to track the correlation between when you offer giveaways and your Amazon ranking. Other ways would be to use Google analytics, or an analytics software specific to the social media site. Jane Friedman has more on the latter two in her blog post on the subject.

You also shouldn’t be spending your entire day posting. Take some time each day to write posts and schedule them out for the rest of the day, or even the rest of the week. You should post in real time as well, but take advantage of scheduled posts. And remember, social media is a tool, not a chore. It is a great way for you to connect with your audience, and build a following that will promote your brand for free. Be yourself, and have fun.

 

In what ways have you found social media to be beneficial in growing your author brand? Share with us in the comments section below.