Why Authors Should Consider Social Media Marketing

I was going to call this post " Why Authors Should Use Social Meda." Then I thought about it. Social media doesn't work for everyone.  

I was editing and then designing a cover for a Christian inspirational story. I started thinking about how the author would market it. The book would be better for traditional marketing- getting it into libraries, churches, reading groups... Knowing the author, I couldn't see them spending time on social media.

As a blog tour host, I come across many fantasy/horror books. When I see ones with a lot of reviews, I check out the author's social media account to see if I can get any tips. Many times, the author would have maybe 100 followers on Twitter and the same amount of Facebooks likes. Social media had nothing to do with their reviews. I've studied authors who make a living as a writer by simply publishing 4-5 stories a year. They don't do much marketing. 

So if you don' think social media is for you, that's fine. 

This post came to mind because I'm coming across authors who think social media is a waste of time. Understandable. You have to be active for months without seeing any results. You're on Twitter and the only interactions you get are people spamming you to buy their books. You join Facebook groups and get more of the same. On Instagram, people follow you to raise their numbers only to unfollow after you follow them. There's always a new site you "should" use. Social media can be a time suck with little measurable results.

Social media is not just about selling books.

People fall in love with/follow a personality, a brand. You earn their trust and eventually, they'll check out what you're selling. Don't go on social media thinking only of getting people to buy your books. It's about making connections. It's about providing something your audience wants. It's about making people across the country, the world, aware of your exitance.

Side Note: Some authors found success using Facebook advertising. I don't have the time or the money to navigate the maze. I ran Facebook ads with little success. They've gotten people to like my page but with Facebook's new algorithm, more likes without increased engagement mean people probably won't see your posts.

I will admit, I'm a bit biased. I love social media. I'm interested in anything to do with digital publishing and social media/discoverability is a huge part of it. (Discoverability is finally recognized by my spell checker! For awhile it kept marking it as misspelled.) 

As an introvert, I love social media because I can "talk" to people through writing. I'm getting better at face to face conversations but my personality comes out more through my writing. Through social media, I get to connect with a lot awesome people. Campaigns like We Need Diverse Books showed if you make enough noise on social media, you can cause changes to happen in the "real world." I'm an amateur photographer with no connections. People see my photos mostly because of social media.  

There is some pressure for authors to be on social media. You've probably heard this before, "if you're writing for young adults you should be Instagram or SnapChat." On the one hand, Millennials and Gen Zers are all over Instagram and SnapChat. On the other hand, if you're on a network and you're not enjoying yourself, it'll show. You'll start to lose followers. Honestly, a fantasy author, for instance, could focus on Reddit and they'd probably see some good sales. Some authors focus on Goodreads or Pinterest.

Just because "they" say authors need to be on a social network, doesn't mean you need to be there. 

Social media is tricky and it can be a pain but don't dismiss it off-hand. You can connect with some great people online. Digital marketing is important, especially if you're an indie author. Take time to do research, come up with a marketing plan. Social media marketing is not something you just jump into and hope for the best.

5 Mistakes Authors Makes on Social Media
11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right!)
Five Keys to Developing a Solid Social Media Strategy