Social media is an essential component of book marketing; using it effectively can get your book in front of the people who most want to see it, and posting in an authentic and engaging way can widen your audience and generate buzz around your title, but a smart social media strategy requires an understanding of who is using each platform and why, and what aspects of a book translate best across each network. I will outline four platforms, in descending order by the number of users, with demographic information from Sprout Social.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform in the world, with almost three billion users sharing images, documents, and other content. While it’s not the flashiest social media site, Facebook’s enormous presence makes it a foolish one to ignore. A slight majority of users identify as male, and though its largest user base is 25 to 34 years old, its popularity with older Americans continues to rise.
People use Facebook to connect with other people, so authors can create a page dedicated to their literary life in order to connect with their fans. Authors and book marketers can also create groups, which allow people to join and engage as a community around a particular topic or product. Both author pages and groups allow the author to view the demographics of their members, helping them better understand who their most enthusiastic readers are.
Like Facebook, Instagram’s largest user age group is 25- to 34-year-olds, though this platform is used by more females than males. Instagram users can connect with friends, family, celebrities, products, and companies through visual content.
Instagram is the best platform to highlight the aesthetic elements of your book. Show off your gorgeous book cover, type out a favorite blurb, snap a photo of an inspiring setting, or post a writing selfie. Instagram is also an excellent way to promote giveaways and contests, according to book marketer Dave Chesson; his website, Kindlepreneur, offers excellent advice on ways to use social media in book marketing. Finally, consider posting about what you are reading, not just what you are writing. People come to Instagram to be inspired, and offering reading recommendations is another great way to connect with your fans.
TikTok, a social media platform for creating and sharing short videos, was the most downloaded app of 2020. While its user base trends younger than other platforms, its popularity among older adults is growing.
If you aren’t camera shy, TikTok can be a fun and creative way to market your book and attract new fans. Marketing director Kelly Schuknecht suggests ways to promote your book on TikTok in her post, such as performing a brief reading of your book, filming yourself opening a box of your newly printed books, or offering a peek into your writing space.
Though less widely used, Twitter has a loyal and consistent user base that runs slightly older and more educated than its competitors. It’s a verbal app where users post short messages (140 characters or fewer). The largest user age group range is 30- to 49-year-olds, and two-thirds of users are male.
This short format is ideal for announcing timely news bits like author events, review quotes, pub dates, or other facts about you or your book. Make sure that you are watching for and retweeting any positive mentions about you or your book. Like Facebook, Twitter provides access to user analytics, giving authors the opportunity to better understand their followers.
Regardless of the platform, be sure to visit the pages of your favorite authors and books to see what they are doing well, and follow and link to your favorites. Social media is a two-way street, so don’t just post about your book and sign off—engage with your readers. Also, post about things other than your book to help fans better relate to you, the author. Finally, don’t limit yourself to just one platform, but also don’t use them all just because you can. Make sure that who you are and what you want to promote matches the audience and format of each platform you choose. Doing so will help you reach and keep in touch with your readers, create a community among your current fans, and attract more followers and fans.