Authors – Know Your Social Media Audience

If you are an author you are probably on at least one social media platform, trying to build your “author platform” and encourage people to buy your book.

In an increasingly crowded book market, how can you ensure that your book promo activity is heard above the noise?

People want to follow, engage with and listen to people – real people. You don’t walk up to someone on the street and say “hi, buy my book” on first meeting them. For one thing it would be plain weird but also rude. Yet, it’s an easy trap to fall into from the safety and distance of your keyboard. If you throw enough cr@p at something, surely some of it may stick?

There is some truth in this. In order for your marketing message to be effective your audience needs to hear it frequently and via a range of channels.

Take movie promoters for example. You will see a billboard, a cinema trailor, an advert on TV, Facebook posts and adverts, plus the stars being interviewed in magazines, radio and on TV, and more. They saturate your senses.

But it’s not just about throwing enough promo material out into the universe. Film promoters will have carefully selected the radio stations, TV channels and magazines they advertise in based on which they target audience is likely to tune into or buy. The billboard posters will have designed to be attractive to the target audience and present the film in a way that seems appealing and relatable.

As indie authors we need to be better at this. We need to be selecting our social media and advertising platforms based on our target audience and measure our success by sales conversions over time. We can’t measure success by number of followers who may not even be likely to buy our book. Book covers need to show that the book would appeal to them –it needs to be relatable. Endorsements and reviews should be in forums which are occupied or followed by your target demographic.

Some authors do this very well. Their covers reflect the genre, they pick one or two digital platforms and do them well, and share much of themselves. You may be intrigued by their book covers and content but you can relate to them and want to read more of their work. Their social media pages share a variety of content but it’s in keeping with their audience and style of books. When they support or RT other authors it is evident that they are on good terms and that their work is also relevant to their audience – even if only as the authors seem like minded. Sharing and retweeting streams of kid kit if you write adult romance or horror is only going to confuse your audience. If you are going to retweet content that’s not yours, ensure that it sits well with your own brand.

Make a start on getting your audience right by mapping out who they are.

  • What types of people are likely to read your books?
  • What other authors do they read?
  • What TV shows and films do they like?
  • What other interests do they have?
  • What social media platforms do they use?

The list of questions could go on and on. Drill down into the detail of age, gender and social groups. You might need to build up one or two (or more) personas – you can even give them names. Once you know your audience you can then start participating in the social media groups or hashtags that they are likely to use. You will use the right platform for them. You can hang out and they might check your profile and click on that link to your book. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

My “Sophie Morgan Vampire Series” audience, for example, is women between 18 – 35, college educated, slightly nerdy, who like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Being Human. They might read paranormal romance but their bookshelves are likely to include thrillers and horror too.

But this is a learning curve for all of us and I must admit that as my public relations and communications “day job” has developed in recent years, I am lucky to develop skills which I can use in book promotion – both mine and others.

If you have some book promo tips you’d like to share or have a question follow me at www.twitter.com/BookBaggers and tag me in you tip, or comment below.

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