Social media accounts for authors

Social media accounts for authors

What social media accounts does an author need and what should they post on them?

Set up accounts at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, Youtube and if you are an author of non-fiction, LinkedIn
Here’s what to post on each:

Facebook

Set up an author page and a personal page. Facebook frowns on users having multiple personal pages and now asks for a phone number to verify accounts. In both pages you’ll need a suitable page header. Here’s the sizes you need:

On the author page post news about the books you have written and are writing, what you are researching, ask questions about reader preferences and what problems you’ve had as an author. Ask readers to review books. Tell them about any special offers and brag about any awards you’ve earned. Of course you should also respond to reader comments and questions. I suggest you turn off the ‘Shop’ link (That’s Settings > Edit Page > Scroll to ‘Shop’ and edit it to turn ‘Show Shop tab’ off.) Include a link to your mailing list. Here’s how to do that with MailChimp

  • Log in to your MailChimp account and in a separate tab to your Facebook page
  • On Facebook, search for MailChimp and ‘Like’ the page.
  • At the top right, select from the profile dropdown ‘Account’ then ‘Integrations’.
  • From the integrations directory select ‘Facebook Add a signup form to…’
  • In ‘Page to use’ select the author page you’ve created.
  • Select the appropriate ‘List to use’, select the ‘Yes’ of ‘Use signup form tab’ and save the choices
On the personal page join author groups—not to promote books to other authors but to interact. Facebook is a great place to get help and ask questions. It’s also possible to give advice and opinions to other authors. Your personal page is a place to socialize with others, play games to relax and talk to relatives. It’s a poor place to sell books but great for collecting contact email addresses but don’t do this too often. Infrequently make announcements. If you have a blog – link to it here.

Twitter

You can have several Twitter accounts but two are essential. One should be your author account and the other should NOT be associated with you as an author in any way. Don’t even follow each other.
On your author account – Twitter allows you to write 140 characters per tweet. In addition you can post a video or picture and a link. You can actually post four pictures and multiple links but each takes from your 140 characters.
Get the aspect ratio of any pictures you use right. Each should be twice as wide as it is tall or it may be cropped. You don’t see this cropping but other tweeps will! Here’s an example of a tweet image which created the wrong message because it was cropped.

What tweeps saw

What the original poster expected them to see

Video has proved more effective than static images but keep video short. Originally you were limited to 30 seconds. You can use longer video now but that 30 second limit is still worthwhile. Here’s one I did using MS Powerpoint

Always pin a tweet to your twitter account. This makes it easy for someone you have helped and who wishes to respond to re-tweet what you want people to see.

What else should you tweet?

When and how often should you tweet?

As an author your market is global. You won’t find a ‘best time to tweet’. Even if you were to find most of your followers were online at the same 2 hour slot then that would mean a busy time with there being little chance of your tweets being seen. Quiet times of the day can often  be just as productive.
An average Twitter user will check their Twitter stream for just a short time each day. If they have lots of followers then each tweet is shown for just a short time. Most of your tweets won’t be seen! Twitter is very much a numbers game and only becomes effective when you have thousands of followers. 10,000 seems to be the magic number here. You need to tweet often to be seen. The more often the better. You can’t do that by sitting at your computer 24/7 so you must automate.
Here’s what I do:

  1. I collect items to tweet—none dating news, comments, interest items, humor, quotes, images, facts, trivia, video, music. Currently I have about 5,000 in a spreadsheet.  I constantly add to this list and remove old items.
  2. To this list I add 9% promotional tweets.
  3. Periodically I randomize the list of tweets and produce a text file of them.
  4. I use a Java program on an old laptop to tweet from this list at random intervals of 2 to 17 minutes. It works 24/7 and takes about a month to get through the list before repeating. This means any follower is unlikely to see the same message tweeted too often.
  5. Every day I spend about 30 minutes responding to people who have re-tweeted me, replied to me or mentioned me. I’ll also spend some of that time scanning my Twitter feed for interesting items to re-tweet and interesting books other authors have tweeted about.

How do you collect items for your Twitter list?

I use a program called Buffer to collect things to tweet. It’s available as a browser plugin and each time I find something interesting when I’m browsing I can click a button and add it to a list of items to tweet. At various times in the day Buffer will post these items to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. You can re-order the posts, post at a specific time and edit posts. Buffer also keeps a record of what went out and how successful it was. The most successful posts get added to my Twitter list.

What about that non-author account?

Let’s face it, sooner or later you are going to see something on Twitter which you simply have to respond to angrily. Use use your non-author account for that and you can respond safely without trolls descending on your author pages and writing bad reviews because they don’t like you.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the visual equivalent of Twitter. You can post videos and images there and comment on these. Your Pinterest account is split up into boards which you can use for different purposes. Boards can be public or private. These are the boards I’ve created for my Pinterest account:

Author—Should you be Using Social Media?

Author—Should you be Using Social Media?

The answer is a simple—Yes—but which social media sites? Come to think of it, what exactly is meant by an author social media website?
Social media is defined as ‘websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.’ That means any site which authors will find useful in getting information, sharing information, displaying their books and marketing. That will include sites such as Facebook but also sites such as Goodreads and forums such as Kboards

Let’s take a look at various author social media sites and see what they have to offer.

Facebook

The largest social networking site in the world and widely used. Using it you can network with ‘friends’ and relatives, and also access various writer’s groups where you can ask questions. You can even market or promote your books by using paid Facebook ads. As of September 2016 Facebook had approximately 1.71 billion active users. It is estimated that more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses use the platform to advertise their business.
Get as many Facebook friends as possible – interact with them. People you don’t interact with are unlikely to see many of your posts. That’s the way Facebook works – it won’t show you what it thinks you won’t be interested in.
Facebook can be an author’s friend when it comes to making contacts. Create a page for your books and periodically write about your progress. Facebook is the place for announcing your successes.

  • Have you won an award? Use Facebook to tell everyone.
  • Got a new book coming out? Tell everyone about it on Facebook.
  • Got a problem? Ask for advice on Facebook
  • Need to make a decision such as which cover is best? Post the choices on Facebook and ask reader’s opinions
Facebook is NOT the place for posting repeated ‘Buy my book’ adverts. People will quickly de-friend/un-like you.
Facebook adverts work for collecting new readers and subscribers to your email lists. Make an attractive offer and exchange it for an email address. I’ve yet to meet any fiction author who has earned more than their advertising cost when direct selling fiction.

 

Tumblr

Tumblr was created in 2007 and has been owned by Yahoo since 2013, It’s a social media site on which you can post anything, including quote posts, chat posts, video and photo posts as well as audio posts and short blogs. Like Twitter you can re-post the items of others. The big difference is you are not limited to 140 characters. Unlimited text, images, animated gifs, photosets, audio files, videos, and more are possible. It gives you the flexibility to customize almost everything. Tumbler has about 555 million active users.

Pinterest

Pinterest is primarily for images and video. Of course as an author, you will be posting images of your book covers and possibly of images relevant to it. More than half of its visitors are women; could that mean it’s a good site to promote romance? I post the pictures which I use in advertising, especially those using humour. People seem to like those.

Twitter

A site which limits your text to 140 characters to which you can add a URL and image. It has more than 320 million active monthly users who make use of the 140 character limit to pass on information. Authors can use Twitter to interact with readers, answer questions, release latest news and advertise books.  The one thing you must NOT do is to post a constant stream of ‘Buy my book’ posts. You will quickly be unfollowed if you do. Post a mixture of  video, images, how to…, quotes, interest items, and mix in no more than 15% of promotions. Re-tweet interesting posts by others and comment. DON’T follow everyone who follows you—vet them first. Don’t expect miracles; Twitter will have little effect until you have at least 10,000 followers. NEVER buy followers—these are useless. Learn how to create the perfect Twitter profile.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for professional networking and has over 400 million registered users. LinkedIn is great for people looking to connect with other authors and people in the publishing industry. You’ll frequently be bugged with job offers though. This is a great place for support groups and works for non-fiction authors.
 

Google+

Great for articles and short posts. For authors Its SEO value alone makes it a must-use tool. It had 418 active million users as of December 2015. Blogs using Blogspot will be added to Google+ accounts and it’s a great place to announce Google Play books.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest and most popular video-based social media website. It is owned by Google and as such has great SEO value. YouTube has over 1 billion website visitors per month and is the second most popular search engine behind Google. Every author should produce a short video introducing their book and link from it to their website. Consider using MS Powerpoint to do this.
YouTube videos get a high priority at Facebook which likes video.

Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform. It has more than 400 million active users and is owned by Facebook. Many of its users use it to post information about travel, fashion, food, art and, of course, books. Almost 95 percent of Instagram users also use Facebook.

Users can submit content such as direct links and text posts. Users can vote submissions up or down. Submissions with the most positive votes appear in the top category or main page. Reddit had more than 36 million registered accounts and 231 million monthly visitors.

BuzzFeed

At first glance this seems an annoying clickbait site using compelling headlines to attract readers, but look at this post – ‘Students Were Forced to Write BuzzFeed Click-bait For Grades. What Happened Next Will Rock Your World!
Think author’s can’t make use of this?

Quora

A site reminding me of the old Yahoo Answers. It’s a place where you can ask questions and provide answers. It’s proving very popular and seems a place where you can get information and provide answers. NOT a place to promote but you can link to blogs and of course you have control of what appears at the side of blogs. If you fit Isaac Asimov’s statement “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do,” then you’ll do well at Quora. Find me there.

StumbleUpon

Stumble upon is a place where you can discover new pages to post on Twitter and other social media sites. You can vote pages up or down and you can discover pages and add them to StumbleUpon. Of course you can Stumble your own blog posts can’t you?