Getting the word out about your book doesn’t have to be a chore and with today’s advanced technological communications platforms it can even be fun.
It’s okay if your children still have to reprogram your microwave clock for you when the power goes out, this is advice that you don’t have to be a tech geek to understand. Remember, social media is “social” so your regular participation is key to engaging readers.
Pick An Audience.
Take a piece of paper and jot down exactly who it is that will be reading your
book. Imagine them. Where do they work? What is their social life like? What kind of car do they drive? Do they pay for groceries with a credit card or with a check? What restaurants do they go to on a Friday night? The more you imagine your target reader, the easier it will be to attract potential readers to your book. Once you have completed this “Target Reader Profile” keep it in a place where you can look at it often, and add to it when inspiration strikes. This will be the person you are talking to when you use social media and social networking platforms.
Pick a Platform.
Now that you know who your target market is, start looking for social media platforms that your “target reader” will likely be on. Be sure to keep a list of these sites next to your Target Reader Profile, as it is easy to get caught up in the rabbit hole that is modern social media. If you are a professional writing a book about high-end services, you may want to contribute to prominent online blogs and forums that your target readers are members of. If you have written a book about gardening, you may want to set up a blog on a free social media platform and write seasonal tips for green thumbs.
Take a few days to get familiar with social media. Use the search bar on your browser and type in your book’s topic and the word “blog” after it. See what others are doing and take notes. When you are ready, join a social media platform and give it a try. If you don’t understand it, or if it turns out to be more complicated than you have time for, find a different social media platform and move on. Once you have found a platform that you understand and that has “potential target readers” start writing, uploading pictures, and up-selling your book. Remember, your social media platform is not your website. Keep it professional, but have fun with it.
Find Your Angle
Social media platforms aren’t as complicated as they appear and people who frequent them are usually trying to find information and connect with others. You have to give them something to connect to. Find your angle. Take a piece of paper and write down why people should read your book. Does it help them cope with interpersonal issues, does it teach them how to do their taxes? Be specific and direct: “my book is about __________. I wrote it to help people ____________ and understand why _________________.”
Social media “viewers” usually like to know who’s work they’re looking at so it is important to fill in the “about me” portion of your social media platform. Even YouTube has a place for you to tell the world who you are and upload a picture of yourself (also known as an avatar).
Take a piece of paper and write down a few things about yourself that you want the world to know. Remember, to keep it appropriate to the audience you are talking to. Start by letting people know that you are an author. Then tell them where you are from, what the inspiration for your book was, what you enjoy doing in your spare time, etc. Keep it professional and interesting. People appreciate honesty and a little transparency in the “about me” section of a social media account and while you don’t have to share everything, you should give them a “behind the scenes” look at you and your writing.
Many social media platforms encourage you to add “tags” to your articles, pictures, video, etc. A tag is simply a word you associate with your article to make it easier for people to find your article through a search engine. Imagine your target reader sitting down at the computer to look for an article on the subject your book covers. What would they type into the search box?
Get creative. If you wrote a book about raising dogs your Target Reader might type in “raising dogs” or they might try: puppies, dogs, dog behavior, bad dogs, dog training, family dog, dog rescue, puppy training, etc. Make a list of tags for your book and keep it handy. Whenever possible add tags to your blog, articles, pictures, and video. Depending on the site, you may be required to put a space, comma, or semicolon in between tags.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is the author of author of 42 Rules of Social Media for Business and the founder of Jacobson Communication, a Northern California consulting company that offers public relations, marketing, branding, and social media solutions to organizations working to impact positive social change. She has spent her working life helping organizations and individuals generate positive public awareness. She has done work for many companies including Impact Marketing Group, Furl.net, MerchantCircle, Linda Hannawalt Designs, and PNN.com. Jennifer holds a Masters Degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, was recently Vice President of Marketing at a social media company and has ghostwritten for several blogs and social networks.