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7 Reasons Social Media is a Powerful Tool for Authors

Social MediaIf you aren’t already on a social media platform, chances are your editor, agent and publisher are probably hounding you to get with the times. There’s a lot of contradictory information out there on whether or not a social presence increases book sales, but most experts agree there are plenty of other reasons to keep an active profile.


If done properly, it’s an incredible tool that can help you connect directly with your audience, among other things. Unfortunately, not all social media sites are available in every country due to geo-restrictions, limiting your access if you’re travelling for your latest writing project. However, you can circumvent geo-restrictions and gain access to them by using a Virtual Private Network such as IPVanish. If you’re still on the fence about the using social media or not, the reasons below might change your mind.


Increase Your Reach


Unless you’re already a world-renowned author, chances are you can do with a larger audience. Social media provides you with the opportunity to reach billions of people. Literally. Facebook alone has 1.65 billion monthly active users. Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach every single user, you can definitely reach a good portion of your target audience on there. Facebook and other social media sites offer relatively affordable ads that allow you to pinpoint your exact demographic. But it isn’t just through ads that you reach new fans. Social sharing and tagging can deliver your content to the friends of your current followers.


Connect Directly with Readers and Fans


As you might expect, social media is about being social. The best authors frequently engage with their followers not just to promote their books, but to answer their questions, participate in conversations and even reveal new information about their books. It’s a great platform to keep your current or upcoming book on the forefront of their mind. It also makes you more approachable and shows your audience that you appreciate their support and enthusiasm for your projects.


Stay Up-to-date on Industry News


Social media isn’t just for chatting with other people; it’s also a great place to stay abreast of recent developments. Twitter tends to be one of the best places for breaking news due to its steady stream of live tweets, though you can find recent news on Facebook as well. Your feed can often get cluttered with too many updates, especially on Twitter, so the best way to keep everything organised is to create your own lists to focus on specific areas of your industry. They could be anything from tech news to your favourite authors. The main thing is to keep it organised and check in on your lists every day. You’ll often learn about major publishing developments that could affect you.


Meet Other Authors


Let’s face it. As an author, you likely spend more time in front of your computer than attending networking events. Social media is a perfect outlet to connect with other people in the industry without having to walk away from your book. It’s a great place to talk about the craft, get some feedback, encourage each other and even give and receive constructive criticism. There are many groups on LinkedIn and Facebook you can join to connect with others. Besides authors, you may even find editors, publishers and agents on these groups. Of course, the goal of joining isn’t to find people who will publish your book; it’s to chat with other like-minded people and maybe even forge friendships. If your writing gets noticed, that’s just icing on the cake.


Save Money on Marketing


Whilst it’s likely you’ll still want to attend in-person events to meet your fans face-to-face, social media can save you a lot of money. Not only are you reaching out to a group of people who are already interested in your work, but you also don’t need to spend too much money to connect with them. Most social networks allow you to set a limit to the amount of advertising dollars you spend per day or even as a one-time boost. Of course, the more you spend, the more people you reach, but even $25 can get you in front of thousands of new people.You can even leverage platforms such as Google Hangouts to have “in-person” chats with your fans and then post these videos to YouTube. Something like this costs you nothing, but it goes a long way to increasing loyalty. Eventually, these people will become your advocates and will market your book to their own circle of friends.


Refer Traffic to Your Site, Landing Page or Amazon Page


Whilst it’s a no-no to bombard your fans with promotional posts about your books, you can still make these posts on occasion. The general rule of the thumb is 80 percent engaging content and 20 percent promotional content. This means the majority of your posts should be something that interests your followers and also aligns with your author brand. This might be content from authors within your genre or industry news. You’ll want to focus your attention on posts that will earn shares as well as start a conversation. The more you engage your followers, the more likely they will be to click on your promotional links. Besides posts, make sure to include links to your Amazon page or site in your social media profile. This stays at the top of the page, and the better your rapport with followers, the more clicks and potential new readers you will have.


Spark Your Next Book Idea


Many authors find inspiration by observing the world and people around them. There’s no better place to people watch than social media. Billions of people post status updates every day some of the life events might catch your eye as an idea for a good story. Other times, it might be a piece of news that sparks your creativity. Or perhaps it’s social media itself that gets your gears turning. It’s also a great place to develop characters who have differing opinions from your own. You can find several real people who might be similar to this character and ask them questions about their beliefs for a more believable and fully formed personality. Before joining, make sure you know not only know social media etiquette but how to stay safe on it as well.


About the Author: Caroline is a freelance writer who enjoys reading as much as she loves technology. She wants to help authors get discovered by more people by using powerful tools already at their disposal, such as social media. You can find more of Caroline’s writing at www.culturecoverage.com


I’d like to thank gokopublishing.com for allowing me to write this post. They provide a lot of fantastic information for authors who are looking for better ways to promote their books. I highly suggest first-time or even veteran authors to check out their article How to Make Your Author Website the “In” Place To Be for some amazing tips.

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icon1June 28th, 2016