Imagine being at a rock concert and the band hands you the microphone, the spotlight is beaming and all eyes are focused on you. What do you say? How do you act? Social media can often feel like this to a lot of shy authors.
Sadly, there are authors who have ruined their reputations simply by being inappropriate or crude online. There are even a few who’ve had to delete their accounts at the request of their publishers. Please don’t be that author!
Regurgitation and Deviation, Oh My!
I’m going to regurgitate some of what the other gurus have said (Sigh) but in order to build a following you may need to bug your family and friends.
But what happens if nobody responds to the call? Then you’ll have to go where all the other nerds go to find
dates, umm…I mean likes.
Now here’s where I deviate from the advice and tell you how people really get followers without spending money or humiliating themselves. On just about every social media site there are hacks for finding fans, likes and followers. Let’s start with the world’s largest social media site, Facebook…
The Secret World of Facebook:
On FB there are pages, groups and even like events where page owners help each other by liking one others page. It’s a reciprocation thing and if you’re not cool with it then, forget it. You’ll have to advertise or use a promoted a post.
I’ve found that the best way to get likes outside of advertising are events. I participated in one of these several months ago and managed to secure 60 new likes. It was an open event where you were allowed to invite others as well. Here are some tips on how to create a Facebook event. Make sure you invite people with pages or people interested in what you do otherwise, you won’t get much of a response.
*Tip* If you really want a big turnout, promote your event on writer’s groups to spread the word. However, make sure you have permission to post first!
Having said that, there are also groups and pages devoted to helping page owners get a few likes. Now before you ask, no, I haven’t altered the names of these groups to amuse you. It really is this easy to find these people just by searching, “Like My Page” on the Facebook search engine.
Another way to get followers is to participate in a trending topic. There are many writing related topics that are discussed on Twitter and here’s a list of the who, what and when.
Goodreads Likes, Votes, etc
The same rules apply to Goodreads but you must be careful here, this is a place where you don’t want to make a fool out of yourself. It’s where the readers and reviewers actually hang out.
- Authors Helping Authors
- You Like Me, I Like You
- Indie Book Club
- Independent Author Services and Promotions
- Tips for Self-Promotion, Sales and Advertising
Congratulations, You’ve Won Half the Battle
Now that you have a few likes/followers, you’re on to the hard part. You’re gonna need engagement and that means reaching out to other authors and cross promoting. That includes liking other pages and getting to know people. Don’t like someone’s page and message them with something stupid like, “Okay, I liked your page, now like mine.” I’ve actually received these kinds of messages on Facebook. And by the way, no, I don’t ever bother with these people!
Find authors in your genre with thriving communities and try to study them as well as participate in what they’re doing. Share posts and comment when you know something about the topic. It is key that someone is comfortable with you before they’ll even consider working with you. Remember, trust takes time.
Why Are We Doing This All Crap?
It’s a sad but God awful truth, that agents and editors want authors to have a large following on social media as this former editor explains here. It’s also a fact that some agents are now Googling prospective clients just to see what you’re up to online.
Personally, I wouldn’t drive myself crazy with social media, it’s just one pillar of an author’s platform. I don’t believe you should be paying for fans or ads on social media especially, when there are free alternatives to build your numbers.
Many authors have done well without social media, but if you want to get an agent or a decent contract with a trade pub then, you’ll need to impress them. Tragically, the only thing that seems impressive to them these days is not your ability to write, but your ability to pimp a book.
Okay, now it’s your turn, do you know any social media hacks? Dish in the comments section.