Though it’s occasionally the bane of our existence, social media is an unavoidable part of brand building. Whether you’re starting a business, job hunting, or trying to get your book published, having an online presence is an important — and frequently essential — part of putting yourself forward. A public profile can introduce you to potential readers, partnerships, publishers, or agents. The connections are limitless — but, you’ve got to make an impression.
In a world of influencers and #sponsored posts, it can be intimidating to get started — especially if you’re already doubting what valuable things little-old-you has to share. But you and your work are worth talking about, so here are our tips on how to kick off your social media presence with a bang and keep it growing to pub day and beyond:
The first step to creating a social media platform is admitting that you need a social media platform. As writers, your days can often be intensely private or lonely, so deciding to open that safe-haven up to the world can be scary. But, trust us, it’ll be worth it.
So when’s the right time to start? Certainly don’t wait until your book hits the shelves. Being a part of an online community will come in handing when you’re networking your way into finding an agent or publisher, and it’ll also serve as an audience to promote to once you do have something being published!
There are a few benefits to starting early. First, you can test out your voice without a big audience. It may take a little bit of time to get into your social media groove. How do you make a Twitter thread? What do you want to talk about? What voice do you want to have? Do you want to lean into oversharing or keep things more reserved? Starting early in your career, when no one is paying attention yet, will allow you to enact a little bit of trial and error without making an embarrassment of yourself in front of the masses. Second, once people do start seeking you out, you’ll already look like an established account. You’ll have some followers (hey, Mom!), and you’ll already have a good few months of content for snoopers to start mindlessly scrolling through.
Picking a platform
A common myth in today’s social media-obsessed world is that you’ve got to have a presence on EVERY platform. That you should be streaming to Facebook Live, while drafting a Twitter thread and editing professional pics for you Instagram feed. In reality, each platform works well for different things, so you can decide for yourself which ones are worth your time! Rather than dipping your hands into too many pots, pick one or two and do them really well.
Twitter is great for you writers because, well, it’s words based. Got a quick 140 characters to share in between writing your 70,000 word manuscript? Pop it on Twitter — no editing necessary!
Instagram is, naturally, perfect for those of you who are more visually focused. If you’ve got more photos in your camera roll than you know what to do with, you should have no problem getting into the groove of Insta.
Creating an author page on Facebook is great for legitimising. You can us it as a blend of the text of Twitter and the photos of Instagram, and, if you think you’ll be interested in doing any paid marketing, it can act as a business front for your author persona.
The perfect author’s social media (if it exists) is a healthy balance of work and play. Followers want to know what’s going on with your latest work in progress, or how you researched for a specific character or place in your most recent publication. But all of this content will only be more interesting if they also feel like they know the person behind it. You don’t have to get too personal, but showing your personality or giving them a glimpse of what happens in your life beyond typing on a laptop can go miles.
What you post on each platform (if you plan to juggle a few), should differ, though — and there are different things to glean from each one! For example, Twitter is a a great place to poll followers with research questions and opinions, vent a little about the stress of being an aspiring author, or share exciting news. It’s also a major hub of the #WritingCommunity, so use it to connect with other writers and authors who can share in your marvels and miseries. Instagram, while still pertinent to authors, doesn’t always have to be a constant promotion of you work. Use it to share what other books you’re reading. Post pictures that have absolutely no relation to your work but are just nice to look at. Facebook, on the other hand, is great for getting wordy — those stories or moments that exceed the character limit of Twitter and maybe don’t have enough of a visual hook for Instagram.
And, don’t forget to follow back! With all of these websites, they act as a great place to connect with people who want to read your work or whose work you may be interested in. But you can only reap the rewards of those connections by following and engaging with others.
Tailoring it to you
On top of creating an image of yourself for the public, it’s also important to remember that this is your presence. You’re in control. Don’t like something? Don’t do it. Not getting what you wanted out of it? Delete it. Don’t feel like you need to live up to any idealised version of author you. Be yourself, be honest and authentic, and, most importantly, have fun with it. At the end of the day, your stories are what matters, social media is just an auxiliary of them and a way to get your name in front of more people.
As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with your questions about starting your author presence on social media!