Connecting with Readers: Putting the “Social” in Social Media

Why do we all dread social media? I know very few people—even Millennials—who truly enjoy social media. And when you are using social media to promote your books and yourself as an author, it can feel very, very awkward. The most important word to remember when using social media is “connecting.”

Social media is about connecting with other people—your friends, your family, your co-workers, and of course, your readers. I is about turning your friends and family into readers and your readers into fans who tell other people about your books.

Put Yourself in Your Posts
I’ve been working with a few authors recently on increasing their books sales and the number of book reviews they have on Amazon. All of them have done exactly what I told them: put a note on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account that includes a link to their book showing the cover, and a message saying, in their own words, “I’ve written a book, please buy it, review it, etc.”

The problem is, some of these authors (No, I won’t name you, if you are reading this you know who you are!) have put exactly that. “I recently wrote my first book, XXX. It is on Amazon. I hope you will buy it and write a review about it.
They have gotten some likes, some congratulatory comments, but very few of their social media friends have gone on to buy the book or write a review.

Except one.

What did he write? He wrote a long paragraph, from the heart, explaining why he had written the book, how much it meant to him, and how much he appreciated the support he had had over the years from friends who encouraged him to finish his book.

What happened?

Within minutes ten people purchased his book. Also, several of his friends shared his post with notes to their friends saying some version of, “I know this person and I’m so proud of him.” This resulted in more sales.
Okay, let me be clear, he did not become an Amazon bestseller with one unpromoted post on Facebook. He did make a great start at selling his book.

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me
If you have been writing very long, you have heard the phrase, “show me, don’t tell me.” It means that as writers we need to open up and allow the reader to have empathy for the characters by “showing” them the emotions of the characters through descriptive words. That’s exactly what we have to do when using social media to tell people about our books.

The people on who follow us on social media are our friends. They are interested in what we do. Some of them may be close friends or family, others business acquaintances or readers who are interested in our work. So why do we suddenly freeze and not share our pride and happiness in our books? Being embarrassed to tell people about your books will not get them sold.

What Should You Do?

  1. Create a connection. Don’t just say, “I did this.” Instead, talk about why you did this. How long has it taken you? What were your
  2. Try not to sound stilted. If you think of it as “promotion” you’ll feel and sound stilted and uncomfortable; not at all like yourself. If you allow you’re your honest feelings to show through, your friends will understand that this is important to you and will support you in it.
  3. Don’t just talk about your books. Social media is about sharing. Yes, about the great place you went for lunch, the beautiful flowers you saw, your afternoon with family and friends. The silly, everyday stuff of life.
  4. Respond and Share. If a friend posts something, respond to it, not just by hitting the “like” button, but with an appropriate comment. Share others’ posts, particularly posts that are meaningful to you, or that they are using to promote their own businesses.

There are many additional ways for you to use promoted posts and other social media techniques to reach greater numbers of people, but your friends, and your social media “friends” are your first circle. Reach out to them sincerely and honestly and you may be surprised at the response you receive.