If you’ve been to any writers conference lately, you’ve no doubt heard lots of talk about building a platform. And, you’ve probably learned that one of the best ways to grow your platform is to increase your social media following.
But, just how can we grow our online following? Well, it would take more than one blog post to fully answer that question, but here are three tips to help you improve your online numbers and your engagement.
1. Be Authentic:
People can spot “a fake” almost immediately, so be genuine when you post updates. For example, if you aren’t a savvy cook and yet you’re coming out with a cookbook, don’t promote yourself like you’re the expert. Instead, be self-deprecating and play up your inabilities to cook. Have fun with it! People are tired of folks showcasing their “perfect social media lives”—be real. Your connections will love you for it, and they’ll be more apt to listen to you when you share about your latest books, future speaking gigs, etc.
One of the most liked and shared posts I ever made happened this past winter when I posted a picture of my feet wearing two different boots. I just happened to glance down at my mismatched feet while sitting under the dryer at my hairdresser’s, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I snapped a picture, posted it on Instagram & Facebook, and said something like, “You know you’re on way too many deadlines when you look down at your feet and discover that you’re wearing two very different boots. At least they are both black, so there’s that…”
My followers loved it! Many commented that they’d worn different shoes to work before, so not to feel too badly. Others said they were having that same kind of week. Still, some just messaged, “Thanks for the laugh.”
2. Be Overgenerous:
Always give more than you take. It’s totally fine to share the cover of your latest book and promote it on all social media platforms, but make sure you’re also giving back and not always in advertising mode.
For example, you could offer a coloring sheet related to your children’s book or some other kind of free downloadable (Perhaps, some of your backmatter or a sidebar you didn’t end up using could serve as a nice freebie.)
Entrepreneur and Author Gary Vaynerchuk has been giving away content from his books before they were ever released for years, and yet his books are always bestsellers!
So, why should we be overgenerous with our information? It builds authority, credibility, trust, and likability, and it increases our online presence because people will share you and your valuable content.
3. Be Consistent & Caring:
You can’t post once every two months and expect to gain much of a following online. Post often, even if it’s just a repost of a funny meme you found, or one that you created in Canva. (Hint: You can use a scheduler to post across several social media platforms all at once.)
Can’t think of a clever status update? Why not ask your followers a question, and see how many responses you receive? It can be something as simple as, “So, how’s your Monday going?” or something as specific as, “Anybody else watch the Thanksgiving Day parade? What was your favorite float?”
Don’t be afraid to engage with your followers. Get to know them and let them get to know you—the real you.
Lastly, when interacting with your followers, whether it’s on your personal Facebook page or within a LinkedIn group, always try to add value when sharing information. Be that “go-to guy” or “go-to girl.” When you answer questions, without asking for anything in return, you become more likable, and people will be more likely to share you and your books with their friends and family.
Ok, there you have it—three tips to get you started on that all-important platform building. Now, go forth and post!
We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas and a strong belief in The First Amendment. The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.
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