Rochelle Melander and I connected on Instagram over my favorite recipe for gluten-free rolls, of all things. Rochelle is a speaker, certified professional coach, and the bestselling author of 12 books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. Through her writing and coaching, Rochelle helps writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs overcome distractions and procrastination, design a writing life, turn their ideas into books, navigate the publishing world, and connect with readers through social media. Learn more at writenowcoach.com.
Develop your author social media strategy
By Rochelle Melander
Are you a plotter or a “pantser?”
I am not talking about how you write books. I’m talking about your social media strategy.
Some people plot: laying out a careful social media plan, complete with post content and links, and follow it daily. Some people are pantsers, posting whatever comes to their mind when the mood strikes.
The truth: The best social media strategy includes both plotting and pantsing.
Plot your author social media strategy
Social media can help us with multiple tasks: researching our current novel or nonfiction book, connecting with colleagues, promoting our work to readers, and connecting with influencers and the media.
Our priorities will change depending on the season of our work. If we are writing a book, we’ll use our social media time to research and connect with colleagues. Once our book goes to the editor, we will shift our focus to connecting with potential readers and influencers.
Action step: Set a social media goal and make a list of your social media priorities.
Choose your platform
You don’t have to do all of the platforms. In fact, many social media advisors believe that it’s ineffective to spread your social media reach over multiple platforms.
Choose the one or two platforms that will help you the most. Where does your tribe hang out? Maybe you will connect with readers on Instagram, but use Facebook to connect with colleagues.
Play around with this and see what works. Where is it easiest to connect with other writers? Your readers? Where do you get the most engagement—post likes, comments, and shares?
Action step: Choose a social media platform to nurture and grow over the next month.
List your content categories
Many writers use social media as a sort of water cooler for their writing lives. We hop on to talk about our writing process, our professional challenges and successes, our book events, and our new books.
Some readers will be interested in hearing all about us some of the time. But over time, this self-focused approach may annoy followers.
The key to becoming a social media superstar is building relationships. Watch and listen to other people. Engage – like others’ posts, comment, or share.
As authors, our challenge is to get in the mind of our readers and think about what they might want to read. We can do this by paying attention to what people ask us at our book events and noticing how people engage with us on social media.
If you’re not published yet, take a look at what your favorite authors post and how it resonates with readers. Here are some topic ideas:
- Current and favorite reads
- Inside info about your book
- Photos of your setting, character inspiration, and more
- Fan art
- Q&A session with readers
- Book playlists
Action Step: List the types of content you will post.
Develop a social media schedule
Once you know your social media goal, favorite platform, and what you’ll post, it’s time to develop a social media schedule. Just like successful blogs follow a publication schedule, you can grow your following by posting regularly.
First, decide how much time you’d like to devote to social media. You’ll need to dedicate time to creating and curating content, scheduling it to be posted, and then interacting with your followers. Then, schedule time in your week for each task.
Here’s what you need to include in your schedule.
Planning time: Develop a social media plan. Research possibilities and make a list of the best kinds of posts for you.
Content creation (1 hour): Schedule time to find or create content to post over the next week or two. Pro Tip: Create a special folder to save bookmarked posts for social media sharing.
Content sharing (30 minutes): Use a tool like Buffer or HootSuite to load up most of your social media ahead of time. Schedule your posts for the times that most people are socializing on your social media platform. (You can easily find out the times by searching for “best times to post” and your favorite platform name.)
Interacting (15-30 minutes): Finally! We get to the pantsing part! Set aside time each day to be online and interact with followers.
Review and revise
Once a quarter, review your social media reach.
Many of the online publishing tools such as Buffer offer some analytics that will help you measure reader engagement.
Then revise your plan accordingly.
What’s your social media strategy for your book? Please tell us about it in a comment.
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