I’ve had so many conversations about social media in the seven years that I’ve been writing as a career and over time I’ve learned a valuable lesson about it all.
Recently I got on TikTok. If you don’t know what TikTok is, good for you. I’m there for plants and food videos mostly, but a lot of authors I know are starting accounts to share book-ish things. I have a ton of people asking me if I use this or that platform for sharing my books and sharing their success or failures on each platform. They really, truly, make my point each time. Which is…
You don’t have to use every social media platform. at all.
The thing about social media is the SOCIAL part. You can’t just jump on, throw down some book covers and links and think you’ll get sales or results. You also can’t get on too many of these sites and spread yourself too thin, only posting and engaging once a week, or even less. We live in a world where people want instant gratification and a fan page owner who doesn’t respond within a day is going to be forgotten in less time.
Let’s discuss the Big Three: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Most people would tell you to just use these three, but I also know some authors who wouldn’t touch IG with a 10 foot pole. Same for Facebook. There are others who just can’t handle the pace of Twitter and hate the lack of grounding the site seems to have. These kinds of feelings should be acknowledged and taken into consideration when you’re picking which sites you’re on.
My personal feelings: I hate FB but I use it, Twitter is my happy place, and IG is beautiful! I do use the big three, but I also employee a Social Media Manager. Ask me how!
Outside of the Big Three we have TikTok, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Pinterest, and many more.
I didn’t mention YouTube because YouTube is not a social media site (in the sense that I am discussing this)! YouTube is a whole other discussion. I also didn’t mention Goodreads, because… you have to be on it, but it doesn’t require the same upkeep as the above mentioned sites. Again, another discussion…
For all of these other sites, there is a bigger divide in the discussion on whether or not we should use them as authors, and this takes me back to my original point.
don’t use ’em all. this ain’t pokémon.
Use what you’re GOOD AT. Use what you can tolerate. Don’t let a successful AuthorTok or Facebook Group make you think you can do the same. There are SO many elements that dictate your success on a social media site so please consider these things before you commit:
- Do you have time?
- Do you have energy?
- Do you like the platform?
- Could you spend hours there dealing with upkeep?
- What do you want to present and is this platform known for that?
- How will using this platform serve your readers?
- Can you SELL BOOKS here?
I think the true end game of the author is to get their books into people’s hands, even if they are free. Although it’s not as important as your willingness to ACTUALLY USE THE PLATFORM, I do think understanding how well books sell on each site is important.
I don’t wanna get too deep into this conversation yet, but just as a note, Instagram doesn’t allow any live links (clickable) from their posts where as Twitter and Facebook both allow clickable links in their posts which means readers can go straight from a tweet to your bookstore. Something they can’t do on IG.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use IG, however. If you content is right, you could sell books, even without a clickable link on each post.
I’m planning to follow this up with a more detailed post on how each platform lines up with sell-ability (linking, images, post quality, number of users, etc.) but until then I will leave you with this:
Before jumping onto a billion social media sites, do some research, consider your own limits and needs, and don’t feel pressured to join the band wagon just because others site their success. You have to do what works for you!