Updated: Aug 1
Many authors I work with want to know how they can sell more copies of their books. To answer this question, I always highlight the importance of engaging with readers on social media. If you’re an author trying to build your audience and promote your book on social media, you can benefit from learning about ways you can utilize social media to sell your book. In this post, I’ll explain why using social media is important, highlight five social media post ideas that every author can try, and share which platforms successful authors use.
Why is it important for authors to use social media?
As an author, using social media is important because you can grow your audience, potentially leading to increased book sales. Social media provides an easy way for you to interact with potential readers and provide updates on your life and work. Typically, readers purchase books from authors they feel they know. So use social media primarily to connect with potential readers.
Claire Diza-Ortiz, author of Social Media Success for Every Brand : The Five Story Brand Pillars That Turn Posts Into Profits, discusses the 80/20 rule in her book. The 80/20 rule essentially states that 80% of the content you share on social media should offer value to users. For example, you might share advice or motivational book quotes. Conversely, the other 20% of your content can be promotional. For example, you might ask your followers to preorder your book or leave a review. Keep this rule in mind when posting regardless of the platform.
Learn more: 7 Marketing Tips for Nonfiction Authors
Five social media post ideas that every author can try
I’m excited to share five social media post ideas that every author can try. These ideas can help you use various platforms to connect with readers and ultimately sell more books. Although the specifics might look different depending on which genre you write, the core messages are the same. My five ideas are:
1. An introduction
I highly recommend including an introduction post on your social media pages. While some followers might know who you are, others might simply find your page because of your recent content. These social media browsers are unlikely to know who you are or what you do. So consider writing an introduction to inform them about you and your work. Your introduction might look different depending on the platform, but your goal is the same: let your readers get to know you.
While some platforms, like Facebook, allow you to include a lengthy introduction, others, such as Twitter, only permit you to introduce yourself using a few characters. Regardless of which platform you're using, you might write a get-to-know-you post every few months as your following grows. Here are some ideas of what you can include:
a fun fact about yourself
a project you’re currently working on
your favorite dessert
your favorite hobby
your personality type
2. Sharing reader photos
Another idea that can be fun for you and your readers is sharing photos of your book taken by readers. Your readers might tag you in their posts, so it’s nice to acknowledge them in return. Spend some time searching the hashtag of your book and perusing the tagged content. If there are quality posts, consider asking the users if you can share their posts on your page. This way, you’re engaging your readers and showing other social media users that there’s an interest in you and your work.
Another effective strategy to show #readerappreciation is to inform your readers that you’ll share some posts if they mention your work or book. For example, you might inform readers you’ll share their posts of them reading your book. Ensure that you always give credit to the original poster by tagging them in the comment. Not only does this idea keep your book fresh in your follower’s minds, but it can also inspire others to share content related to your book.
3. Price promotions
Everyone loves a good sale, so if your readers have the opportunity to purchase your book at a discounted price, tell them! A price drop might be the extra push someone needs to purchase your book, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote deals on your book. Some examples of price promotions you might post about include:
your publisher discounting the ebook
a specific retailer discounting your book
If you self-publish with Amazon, you can discount your book once every 90 days for a five-day period
When you notice that a retailer or publisher has your book on discount, you might share a post urging your readers to act fast to get this book while it’s on sale. Remind them that the price is likely to return to normal soon. A bonus to getting new orders from price promotions is that you’re likely to get some new reviews, as well.
Video is still king on social media, so try to post videos that your readers find informative or entertaining. You might post a weekly video where you share information about yourself or your expertise. Here are some ideas for video content:
Videos are truly effective because they help boost you in the platform’s algorithm, make you seem more relatable, and allow potential readers to get to know you better. You might feel anxious before posting your first one, but you’re likely to become used to the process after sharing a few videos.
5. Reader reviews or quotes
My last idea (in this post!) is to share reader reviews or quotes. Which one you share depends on the type of book you’re promoting. Here’s more information for both fiction and nonfiction authors:
If you’re a fiction author, share real reader reviews so that anyone who hasn’t bought your book yet knows that others are enjoying it. To find reader reviews, you can browse the Amazon or Goodreads page for your book and see what readers are saying about your book. If you’re having a difficult time finding reviews, consider asking readers what they think and if they can provide brief reviews for you. You might also provide readers with free copies in exchange for an honest review.
If you’re a nonfiction author, extract some strong quotes, or sticky statements, from your book. Sticky statements are quotes that really stick with your readers. They’re strong and stand on their own, but also showcase your strength as a thought-leader and expertise on a topic. When they believe you’re an expert, they’re more likely to trust that you can guide them effectively and purchase your book. Here’s an example of a sticky statement from author Elizabeth Gilbert for her book, Big Magic:
“It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner–continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you–is a fine art, in and of itself.” - Elizabeth Gilbert
Which platforms do successful authors use?
Here are some popular social media platforms that authors use to grow their audience and promote their books:
While it’s not essential to have a presence on all social media platforms, building an audience on one or two platforms where your readers spend their time can be an effective strategy for promoting your book. Please be on the lookout for an upcoming blog post where I highlight best practices for each of these platforms.
Whether you’re in the midst of the writing process or have already finished your book, now is the perfect time to consider a marketing strategy. To help you get started, I’m offering a FREE download of my guide, 10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch. This valuable resource is packed with expert tips and strategies to empower you to craft an effective book launch and connect with a larger audience of eager readers.