You might be tempted to buy lists of followers, or to befriend everyone and anyone, but the audience a writer needs is one who will, eventually, buy from you. Look for quality rather than quantity, and invest time in building long-term relationships with a truly targeted audience. Think awareness, engagement and – only then – potential sales.
To increase awareness, you need to be there, be visible, be you, and become part of the furniture. For relationship-building engagement, I recommend you to be generous, to be present, and to be responsive.
Your long-term goal is sales, and you are looking for a good return on your investment in time on social media, so you also need to be choosy, systematic and – last, but not least – careful.
Here are 10 Tips for Attracting a Social Media Audience.
1. Be There
Where? It’s up to you which social media platform you use.
Each one takes up valuable time when you could be writing. Start small. Keep it simple. Decide on one and establish yourself – and your brand – there, before venturing onto other platforms.
I have a personal Facebook page, and pages for ScrivenerVirgin and RedPen Editing. I am also on Twitter as @ARainbowThomas. I dipped a toe into Pinterest and Instagram – but was not convinced they’ll help to increase my audience, so I’ve not developed them further, yet!
2. Be Visible
Choose a photo to represent you and a logo to represent your brand. Be consistent on all social media platforms, so that your audience – your prospective audience – grows to recognise you and your products through images.
I invested in a professional photo shoot. I also had a logo designed to incorporate both Scrivener Virgin and RedPen.
For books, the cover design is important. The title must be clearly visible as a thumbnail, for example on an Amazon page, and your images/coloring must reinforce your brand.
#amwriting Tip to sell more books: Choose a photo to represent you and your brand.Click To Tweet
3. Be You
When starting out, think carefully about which parts of your personality, which products, and which services you want to promote. From this, determine the scope of your presence – and decide your brand.
As a one-woman-band offering one-on-one mentoring, it’s important my audience learns about me as a person – and grows to like and respect and trust me. To that end, I share via my personal Facebook posts that demonstrate who I am: I love cooking, Art, dance, writing (especially poetry). I have a sense of humour, and I am human!
On my ScrivenerVirgin page, I restrict posts to content that add value for writers who use Scrivener, or maybe are thinking about using Scrivener. Ditto for my RedPen Editing page.
4. Be Part of the Furniture
Decide who is in your prospective audience, and find them, wherever they are hiding. Join their social media world. Don’t try to sell to them! Instead, hang out with them, mingle, become a part of their world – part of the furniture. You are looking for awareness – awareness of your existence – and engagement with their world.
I offer a service to writers, and have published a book on self-editing. So on Facebook, I’ve joined many writers’ groups especially self-publishing groups.
On Twitter, I’ve followed authors that I admire. On my tweets, I include hashtags – such as #Scrivener, #writing, #amwriting, #amediting, #writingchat – as appropriate, so it’s easy for others to find my tweets.
5. Be Generous
Share your tips for success, your solutions to others’ problems, and your positive approach, wherever you can. Be the person everyone is keen to see arriving. Then, you’ll become the person whose Facebook posts are liked and shared, whose tweets are liked and retweeted.
I have a portfolio of free products and services. I blog as ScrivenerVirgin and offer guest blogs to writers who use Scrivener. I host free weekly Q&A webinars for users of Scrivener.
In the writers groups, I chip in with helpful comments where questions are raised that relate to my areas of expertise: Scrivener and self-editing.
#amwriting Tip for selling more books: Share your tips for success wherever you can.Click To Tweet
6. Be Present
Social media is a constant flow of messages. If you drop out for a while, you may be forgotten.
I blog regularly and aim for at least daily postings to Facebook and Twitter. I also share Facebook posts and retweet tweets.
7. Be Responsive
Communication is a two-way process. If someone comments on your post, respond to it – promptly. If someone retweets your tweet, like it.
I check my notifications and respond to every one. It only takes a few second to read what’s been posted and to click on Like.
8. Be Choosy
Choose your friends – on Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere – with the same care that you’d apply in a face-to-face situation. Look them up and down. Check out what they say. Decide whether they fit into your target audience: people who might buy from you once they know and trust you. You need quality rather than quantity!
With Facebook, I approach writers that I respect and ask to be their friend. If I get a Facebook friend request, I look at their page, especially the number of friends we have in common, before deciding whether to accept their request.
With Twitter, when I get a new follower, I check them out. If they share my values, I follow them back. If not, I thank them for following me and suggest they check out my blog, or my book, or whatever is current.
9. Be Systematic
An ad hoc approach is unlikely to produce results. Instead, be systematic. Have a routine. Stick to it.
If someone asks to be my friend on Facebook and I accept, or someone accepts my request to be a friend, I receive an email notification. I file these and, once a week, I communicate with these new ‘friends’ using a direct message. I follow up with something relevant, to establish engagement with them.
Ditto for Twitter: I receive an email if someone likes my tweet, retweets it, or starts to follow me. I batch process these notifications, looking at them, once a week, in ‘From’ order. That reveals who is making a special effort – liking my tweets, and retweeting them. I visit their page and like/retweet some of their tweets too.
I delete these notifications only when I’ve actioned them.
10. Be Careful
Each presence on social media takes up valuable time, when you could be writing, so ration yourself: little and often, short and sweet.
Social media can also become addictive – and serve as a displacement activity when you know you should be writing instead!
I set aside time: daily to respond quickly to social media messages, and weekly to batch process new friends/followers. Communicating on social media is not as high a priority as writing or blogging, but I make time for it, maybe at the end of a long day, or when I can’t sensibly be writing, eg while travelling. I also limit the time I spend on social media – no more than 20 minutes at any one time.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
About the Author
Anne Rainbow began writing almost 40 years ago. Her career as a teacher/examiner and freelance proofreader/copy editor led to the publication of scores of educational text books and and the setting up of her own publishing services company. A relatively recent convert to Scrivener, Anne created the ScrivenerVirgin blog to help writers make the best use of Scrivener software, and she published her EDITING The RedPen Way: 10 Steps to Successful Self-Editing to help writers with their self-editing.