Authors everywhere want the magic solution for building a strong social media profile and utilizing it for book marketing. They want a guide to successful campaigns, ads, and graphics. But the truth is, the magic is within each one of us, and the successful potion is different for everyone. I’m a big grassroots marketer (showing my age, I know). I believe in building a brand by building relationships, and since I’m a natural chattaholic, this approach works for me—especially on social media.
Readers fall in love with our voices, so naturally, that’s what they want to hear when they tune in on social media. But… This is a big but. We don’t all have the same comfort level, personality, or in truth, time to chat on social media. Building a brand takes time, and with the industry changing on a near-monthly basis, there’s more white noise than ever. How can you stand out in a crowd that big?
Here are six tips on navigating the magical world of social media and how building your brand can help boost your presence.
By Melissa Foster
(1) BUILD YOUR BRAND
How do you want readers to think of you when they hear or see your name? Are you edgy? Sweet? Soft spoken? Unfiltered? Romantic? Your brand should reflect your writing style, your personality, and the types of books you write. That goes for voice, colors, style, and images. Copying someone else’s brand won’t make you stand out, and often irritates loyal fans. Be unique. Use the power of your creativity to speak to your readers. After creating your brand, stick to it. Make it easy for readers to pick you out of a crowd. When using social media, keep within your branding whether it be graphics to promote your book, discussion questions used to strike up conversation on your page, fun graphics/meme’s that show off your personality, an online launch party, etc. Your voice, your look, all the time.
(2) EASY-TO-USE WEBSITE
Your brand covers more than just graphics and titling on your book covers. A brand is carried out in swag, on social media platforms, and most importantly, on your website. A clean, user-friendly website is imperative. Yes, you want it to be pretty, but your most important thought should be ease of use and draw of consumers. Make sure books, series, and buy links are effectively organized, clickable, and updated. This is where it all begins.
(3) PICKING PLATFORMS
There are so many social platforms, how do you know what’s right for you? Do you want to be tweeting every half hour or chatting 1:1 on Facebook? Are you more effective, and do you enjoy posting images more than chatting? Then Pinterest and Instagram might be your best bets. New content on each platform is the most effective way to stand out, and that can be time consuming. Be choosy and effective. The best thing you can do as a writer is to keep writing. Find where you are most comfortable and work hard to build your brand within that/those platform(s). You can always expand to others later.
(4) FOCUS ON READERS
Don’t be the “Avon Calling” author, posting only about selling your books. Yes, you want to sell books, but building connections with readers will not only be enjoyable, but might help you in the long run. If you’re like me, you want to know more about your readers. What do they enjoy? Did they love something in particular about certain books? What are they hoping to read in the future?
My readers are involved with each book from the get go. Months before writing a story, I’m chatting with them in my Facebook Fan Club about the characters and storylines. They help name locations, suggest careers, and much more. It’s fun for me and fun for them. I have been so inspired by readers that they end up in my books! Not every author loves to chat. You don’t have to. But you can start conversations and come back and read the responses later. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy that interaction. Readers who talk up your books to their friends and on their own social media go a long way when it comes to building your readership. So be cool, be kind, and let your personality make a difference!
(6) BE YOURSELF
Just because everyone else has a hot bare-chested man on their cover, doesn’t mean that you need one on your cover. Trends in the romance industry come and go faster than you can write your next manuscript. Trying to keep up with every new flash-in-the-pan trend will wear you out and confuse your readers. Stand out. Be your brand and be consistent, or you’ll always be playing catch up. That doesn’t mean all of your series need to look identical, but framing your name and titles similarly is important for instant recognition. Maybe that even means considering a redesign of your covers so they look more aligned with your brand. Lastly, don’t be afraid to make a statement or go against the grain. If you want a bolder-than-typical brand—go for it!
Building a brand is a personal journey that takes time, thought, and attention–and social media is just one avenue to get you started. Don’t jump in with two feet until you’ve thought it through. Rebranding can be even more difficult than getting noticed in the first place 🙂
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance and new adult romance lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex relatable issues.
Melissa also writes sweet romance under the pen name, Addison Cole.
Melissa’s Fan Club: www.facebook.com/groups/MelissaFosterFans
Melissa’s Website: www.MelissaFoster.com